Couple of days ago The Northern lights re-appeared over Kuusamo! This thime I was observing this magnificent natural display by the shores of Lake Juumajärvi, Kuusamo. First the aurorae were quite faint, but soon they activated and started their magical dance over the wilderness -landscape! It was totally super-awesome!
I have changed my geographical location for the next six months. I’ll be dwelling in Kuusamo, Northeastern Finland. This place is a really remote wilderness area, from here it’s 50 km to the Kuusamo town center, but only ~30 km to the Northern Arctic Circle and only 14 km to the Russian border! And thanks to the remote location, there’s no light pollution, and there are good opportunities for astronomical observing and for photographing northern lights! I came here studying to become a wilderness guide! It means a new phase in my life, and quite a big career shift, but this feels right thing to do now! I arrived here three days ago, and already during the first night (31.8.-1.9.) of my time here I was greeted with this magnificent display of northern lights:
Observing site: Tähtikallio observatory, Finland
Instrument: C416/4064mm (16” Meade)
Darkness of the background sky: 3
Weather: Some haze in the sky, occasional clouds, calm, no Moon, pretty warm
Objects observed: C/2014 E2 (Jaqcues), NGC 6905
During the night between 23rd and 24th of August 2014 I had an opportunity to do some observing with the large telescopes of Tähtikallio Observatory, Finland. This time I was observing with the 16” Meade of Tähtikallio observatory. The targets that I observed were comet Jaqcues and planetary nebula NGC 6905.
Comet Jaqcues was visible as a round and fuzzy object. In the middle of the coma, there was a rather starlike central brightening. The brightness of the coma decreased gradually outwards. The visual diameter of the coma was about 5′. No tail was visible visually.
NGC 6905 is a planetary nebula in constellation of Delphinus, the Dolphin. The nebula is know as the Blue Flash -Nebula. I made following notes of my observation:
@101x: small, round fuzzy spot, no details. @270x: oval-shaped nebula, long axis SW-NE -oriented. Central star visible with averted vision. Visual size roughly 1,6’x1,3′. The eastern part of the nebula seems to be brighter than other parts of the nebula.
Weather during the night wasn’t optimal, there was some haze in the sky, and the sky wasn’t completely dark yet. Besides this, there were some occasional clouds moving across the sky. Eventually these clouds forced me to stop observing after I had barely finished observing NGC 6905.
During last night (16.-17.8.2014) I was doing some satellite spotting in Turku, Finland. Below you can see a collection of the most interesting observations from last night. Nights are getting darker and darker also her up north. Last night last quarter of Moon was above horizon all night, but still NELM was about 5 and Milky way was visible weakly.
A bright Iridium -flare in the constellation of Hercules @ 21:42 UT. The flaring Iridium was iridium 21, and the brightness of the flare was about -8 magnitudes (picture 1).
After the bright Iridium -flare, I observed some other fainter, but still very interesting satellite targets. @ 22:25 there was quite intense traffic in the orbit (pictures 2-3), and I was able to catch three different satellites in one photo! I observed SL-16 R/B and FIA Radar 2 (USA 234) crossing their ways in the sky and also NOSS 2-3 (E) left it’s trail in the same photo.! Although there seems to be quite heavy traffic in the space, no collision happened this time because of the elevation difference of the orbits of the satellties :)
FIA Radar 2, aka USA 234 is an American radar imaging reconnaisance satellite of the new generation. The new generation of reconnaisance satellites is called Future Imagery Architechture, FIA. FIA Radar 2 was launched in April 2012 with launch code NROL-25. NOSS 2-3 (E) is a component of NOSS 2-3 (C-D-E) satellite triplet that has started drift apart since 2007. Now NOSS 2-3 (E) seems to be totally separated from it’s companion satellites. SL-16 R/B is a rocket body from a Soviet Zenit -rocket family.
If you look carefully the picture above (picture 4), you can see a faint satellite trail. This trail was caused by Lacrosse 5. Lacrosse 5, aka USA 182 is an American radar reconnaisance satellite launched in 2005. This satellite has a unique brightness behaviour. Observers have reported, that sometimes it has totally faded away from visibility. This has been called the “disappearance trick” of the satellite. These fadings seem to be unique for Lacrosse 5, it hasn’t been observed with other Lacrosse -satellites. Sometimes it has also been flaring brightly according to some reports. This time Lacrosse 5 was an object of about fifth magnitude, and it’s brightness was even during my observation.
Couple of days ago I wrote a post about mysterious satellite triplet, that I observed while trying to cathc a perseid meteors with my camera.
I posted a mail about this satellite to the Seesat -e-mail list, and with the help of Leo Barhorst, Cees Bassa and Björn Gimle I was able to identify this! This satellite was Yaogan 16, a Chinese spy satellite triplet, similar than American NOSS -triplets were. Apparently the use of these satellites is also similar.
Thanks for Leo Barhorst, Cees Bassa and Björn Gimle for identification help!
I observed this mysterious satellite triplet in the night between 12th and 13th of August 2014 @ 21:26 UT in Turku, Finland, while trying to observe Perseid meteor shower. These satellites were moving upwards in the constellation of Aquila. First two of them were flaring and then fading, then the third one flared and faded away in similar way. When flaring, they were easily rivaling Vega!
So far my attempts to find out the identity of these satellites have not been successfull. I first suspected some NOSS satellite, but I couldn’t find any good match with Heavensat program. So this one remains as a mystery so far! If someone of you would have any idea about this satellite, I would be happy to hear!