So this is it for now! Last night was the grande finale of the wilderness guide course that I have been taking in Kuusamo, Finland. The course that I have participated in is giving me a so-called competence based qualification for the work as a guide. The course is a vocational course, and there is no written final examination like for example in universities. Instead of written examination, there is a practical examination. You are showing your skills in real work situation. The person responsible for evaluating your performance in the examination will be present in the examination situation. The person responsible for the evaluation has also the authority to grant the qualification when the student has passed the examination.
The course that I have participated in, has two months of training in real work places. First month of training was in September and another was now in January-February. I was doing the both training periods in a place called Basecamp Oulanka, which is a hotel-, restaurant- and activity center in Kuusamo. During my winter training perios, I have been able to plan and execute my own product at Basecamp. My product is an night time snowshoeing trip in forest and on the lake ice. During the trip, the participants get a chance to experience the natural darkness and silence, and if weather permits, also the starry night sky and northern lights!
In my examination, I was participating in the night time snowshoeing trip as an assistant guide last night. There was the pricipal guide, me and the evaluator and also 13 clients with us! We were very lucky last night, the sky was clear enought that we could see quite a lot of stars and also some northern lights! And after the trip, there was the evaluation session. I was quite satisfied of the feedback, and I was mostly getting the best grades in evaluation! So I think I have been performing very well! Of course there is always something where you can improve your performance, but so far I’m quite happy with the results! But the course is not over yet, we are still going to be making a cross-country skiing trip with the students and then the last day of the course will be 13th of March, when we are going to get the certificates for passing the course and the examination!
From now on, I’m going to be building up my own northern lights guiding business. At the beginning, it is most likely going to be a part-time thing, which I’m going to do working in my day job. What I’m going to do as my day job is still a little bit unclear, but I’ sure that I will know more about that later in the spring.
Here is a photo from last nights trip:
The clients, starry sky and northern lights in Kuusamo, Finland 13./14.2.2015
This is my most successfull attempt in making a northern lights time lapse video so far! This video is from September (22./23.9.2014) last year, when pretty nice northern lights were dancing over the sky of Kuusamo, Finland!
Please watch the video and see for yourself! Please leave me a comment about whether you liked the video or not.
In the night between 23rd and 24th of January 2015, the scenary in Kuusamo, Finland was just like in a fantasy world! There was lots of snow and trees wee covered in thick layer of frost! The sky was cloudy, and some ice crystals were raining from the stratus -clouds hanging at low level.
The snow crystals were of dendritic hexagonic type, which means that those crystals were not very good halo making crystals. Only halo form that they can produce, is a sun pillar, or in this case, a street light pillar. And there were pillars! Lots of pillars in every direction! And the pillars were very tall, tallest of them were reaching zenith, and it seemed as if they were converging near the zenith because of the perspective -phenomena!The pillars are formed, when light from the street lights (or Sun) is reflecting from the upper- and lower surfaces of the ice crystals to form a pillar of light above and sometimes also below the source of light.
Temperature was about -17 °C. It was absolutely stunning! And I was the only witness of this wonderful natural display, I couldn’t see any other people in the town that night!
The ice crystals on that night came in all possible froms and shapes, and many of them were resembling much the snowflakes made familiar by the classic work of Wilson Bentley in 1902.
Collection of all kinds of ice crystals or snowflakes from the classic work of Wilson Bentley in 1902.
Photos showing the magnificent display of street light pillars in quite exotic circumstances in the night 23./24.1.2015 in Kuusamo, Finland:
Observing site: Kurkijärvi, Kuusamo, Finland
Instrument: L102/1200mm (4” refractor)
Darkness of the background sky: 3
Weather: Mostly clear but somewhat hazy sky, cold breeze, -20 C
Objects observed: C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy)
Comet C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy) is now well visible in the night sky of Northern hemisphere. The comet is now dwelling in the constellation of Taurus, where it can be seen as a fuzzy 4th magnitude star with naked eye! Yesterday evening I went to observe this icy nomad by myself.
I was observing the comet with my 4” refractor. With my instrument, the comet appeared as a round, fuzzy ball of light. In the coma of the comet, there is a clear central brightening. The coma is getting gradually brighter towards the center. There is no visual tail visble with the comet. The apparent diameter of the coma of the comet is about 21′. The degree of condensation of the comet is about 6 in the scale from 0 to 9.
Degree of condensation is just a way to describe how the light of the comet is distrubuted in the object. If degree of condensation is very low, then the brightness distribution is very even, but if degree of condensation is high, then the coma of the comet is almost stellar in appearance.
I was also able to observe the comet with naked eye. With naked eye it appeared as a fuzzy, 4th magnitude star in the constellation of Taurus.
Comet Lovejoy observed with 4” refractor.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,600 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 43 trips to carry that many people.
Click here to see the complete report.
This year we have a very thin layer of snow on the ground on the day of winter solstice, whereas last year we didn’t have any snow!
Winter solstice 21.12.2014 in Turku, Finland.