Stargazing: Corona Borealis: Fairbanks, AK, USA: 2024-02-26 (publ. 2024-02-27)

Yesterday morning the sky cleared up, so I went to the boat launch, starting about 4:30am AKST. I got in about one hour of naked-eye stargazing. I was intending to use the binoculars for a few minutes toward the end, but just before I got my chance, a big sheet of clouds rolled in.

I knew I didn't have much time, so I just focused on a darker spot of the sky to the SE, in-between the city lights and the full-moon. Some Stellarium screenshots:

SW sky

SW sky (with labels)

And I decided to focus more particularly on Corona Borealis (CrB) the small crown-shaped constellation. I had never studied it before in the sky, though I'd noticed it on star charts a few times.

Corona Borealis close-up

Corona Borealis close-up (with labels)

The sky was bright from the full moon, but I remember I could easily see α CrB. Stars β, δ, ɣ, and θ were a little harder, but not very difficult. Stars ɛ and ɩ were challenging and usually required a few seconds of intense staring with averted vision. I seem to remember seeing also that dim star above δ CrB. Comparing with star charts, it seemed like my naked-eye limit was about mag 5.

Nothing else to report from this brief session, but I'm thankful to the Creator for another stargazing opportunity. There is not too much deep sky material to look for around Corana Borealis — not counting one very dim galaxy cluster — but it is a beautiful little constellation to enjoy on its own.

This work © 2024 by Christopher Howard is licensed under Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International.

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