Stargazing: Cetus, Cygnus: Fairbanks, AK, USA, 2023-12-01 (publ. 2023-12-04)

I wrote earlier about the moon observing I did on Friday Nov 1st, in the morning. That evening, the skies were still clear, so I headed out to the boat launch for some stargazing. The quarter moon was brightening the sky a little, but I didn't want to miss an opportunity for stargazing, rare as they are. I just brought the Skymaster 12x60 binoculars.

I wanted to do a sketch, and I ended up focusing on dim star below Jupiter, which I later learned was Menkar, or ɑ Cet, the mouth star of the Cetus constellation. Cetus is a constellation I had never studied or noticed before.

southern sky reproduced in Stellarium

southern sky reproduced in Stellarium, with constellation art

Here is my sketch:

logbook scan

logbook scan (low resolution GIF)

Here is the same view reproduced in Stellarium:

α Cet binocular view reproduced in Stellarium

α Cet binocular view reproduced in Stellarium (with labels)

Afterwards, I spent a minute or two looking at Pleiades.

binocular view of the Pleiades reproduced in Stellarium

Then I had a good time just scanning around the lower part of Cygnus. The seeing was decent, and I was awe-struck by how many stars and patterns there are to look at, even with my little binoculars. Here are a few Stellarium screenshots, adjusted to my actual seeing conditions:

binocular view of Cygnus reproduced in Stellarium (I)

binocular view of Cygnus reproduced in Stellarium (II)

binocular view of Cygnus reproduced in Stellarium (III)

Something is so fascinating about the starry heavens is the seemingly inexhaustible beauty and variety that can be seen, as I explore more of the sky in greater depth and detail. I believe this gives us something of a hint of the inexhaustible beauty and riches that are "hidden" in Christ, and which we will get to enjoy when we are in his presence.

Now I saw no temple in the city, because the Lord God – the All-Powerful – and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, because the glory of God lights it up, and its lamp is the Lamb. — Revelation 21:22-23 (NET)

My goal is that their hearts, having been knit together in love, may be encouraged, and that they may have all the riches that assurance brings in their understanding of the knowledge of the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. — Colossions 2:2 (NET)

You will make known to me the way of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever. — Psalm 16:11 (NASB)
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