Black and white Noctilucent clouds 18./19.7.2018

Noctilucent clouds
Observed NLC forms:

  • Bands
  • Waves
  • Veil
  • Whirls

Brightness of the NLCs: 3 (NLC clearly visible, standing out sharply against the twilight sky)
Elevation: ~30°

Date: 18./19.7.2018
Time: 21:20-22:40 UT
Observing place: Ulvila, Finland
Observing method: Photography, visual
Technical information about photographing equipment: Canon FTb + 28 mm lens, Ilford HP5+ 400 black and white film
Observing conditions: Clear sky, no Moon

Some time ago I wrote about my new approach to this hobby, (black and white) film photography! As part of my film photography ambitions, I of course tried to take black and white photos of noctilucent clouds, a phenomena that I find especially interesting and fascinating!

I observed a display of noctilucent clouds between 18th and 19th of July 2018 in Ulvila, Finland. This was a beautiful and bright display, and I was able to take good b&w -photos of this display. I developed the film by myself and scanned it for publishing in the blog.

My scanner converts the negatives to positives automatically, but after scanning I tried to convert one of the photos back to negative to see, how NLCs are visible in negative photo.

When looking the negative photo, it is easy to see, that the structure of the NLC’s becomes very well visible in the negative!

So that was one of my first attempts on film photography. Besides this, I have shot more than 10 films since I started film photography in late June 2018. I will be posting about my other film photography results later!

Image 1. Northwest,  28 mm, 1/15s, f/2.8
Image 2. Northwest, 50 mm, 1/30s, f/1.8
Image 3. Northwest, 28 mm, 1/30s, f/2.8
Image 4. Same as image 3. but converted to negative

Partial Solar Eclipse 11.8.2018

  • Observed phenomena: Solar eclipse
  • Type of eclipse: Partial, 8%
  • Type of observation: Positive
  • Date and time: 11.8.2018; 08:47-09:41 UT
  • Observing place: Turku, Finland
  • Observing method: Photography
  • Technical information about photographing equipment: Camera: Canon EOS 1100D, telescope: refractor 4”/f9.8 (L102/1000mm), Canon FTb with 200 mm lens + 2x teleconverter = 400 mm, AstroSolar-filter
  • Observing conditions: Clear sky most of the time

A small partial eclipse occurred in the sky of Turku, Finland on 11th of August 2018. Because I have decided to observe every possible eclipse and planetary transit observable near my location, I of course tried to observe also this small eclipse.

This time weather was favourable in Turku, Finland (where it is usually always cloudy when something interesting happens in the sky), and I was able to observe the eclipse from beginning to the end. There was no sunspots in the sky during the eclipse.

It was a small eclipse, but nevertheless it was fun to observe it, and I’m happy that I was able to observe it! And even better, it was second eclipse in 2018 that I was able to observe! This is very good in the climate of Finland, where it is usuallu always cloudy!

Here you can see my photos from the eclipse:

@09:16 UT, maximum eclipse (8%).
180811_Osittainen Auringonpimennys
A series of photos showing the progress of the eclipse from the beginning to the end.
A GIF -animation showing the progress of the eclipse.

Total Lunar Eclipse 27./28.7.2018

Observed phenomena: Lunar eclipse
Type of eclipse: Total Lunar eclipse
Type of observation: Positive
Date and time: 27./28.07.2018, 21:09-22:30 UT
Observing place: Säkylä, Finland
Observing conditions: Clear sky (1/8)
Observing instruments: Camera: Canon EOS 1100D, Telescope L80/400mm (3” refractor) + Canon FTb

Finally I was lucky with observing a total lunar eclipse! I had seen my previous total lunar eclipse in 2007, but I did’t have any proper camera back then and I was just visually enjoying the eclipse. After this eclipse, I had tried several times to observe and photograph a total lunar eclipse, but without luck. So until July 2018, I hadn’t seen any total lunar eclipse in 11 years and I hadn’t been able to photograph any total lunar eclipse!

But that was about to change in the night between 27th and 28th of July 2018! But even then, clouds tried to ruin my observations! My original plan was to observe the eclipse near Turku, Finland, but for some reason clouds appeared in the southern horizon, where the Moon should have been visible! After gazing the sky I made my conclusions, and I decided that I won’t let clouds ruin also this eclipse, and I started driving north from Turku, where the cloud situation was better. I drove about 100 km north from Turku to Säkylä, where I finally spotted the eclipsed Moon!

I parked my car in a bus stop and started to take photos! I was in a rush because I arrived in my observing place in the last minutes of totality. But I was barely able to see totally eclipsed Moon and take some photos during last moments of totality! After a while, Moon started to exit umbra. I was able to take a series of photos showing the eclipse from 3rd contact to 4th contact, which means, from the moment, when the Moon started exiting the umbra to the moment when the Moon was touching the umbra for last time before completely exiting the umbra.

I’m so happy that I was finally able to observe and photograph a total lunar eclipse!

Here you can see my photos from the eclipse:

Totally eclipsed Moon @ 21.15 UT. Third contact, the Moon had just started to exit the umbra. Left side edge of the Moon had already started to exit the umbra, not the light fringe at the left side edge of the Moon.
180727-28_Osittainen Kuunpimennys
A series of photos showing the progress of the eclipse from third to fourth contact.

A new mountain to climb: film photography

My new film photography equipment

I had been thinking for a long time that I need a new hobby or at least a new perspective to my hobby!

Then during this summer I got an inspiration: I want to do film photography! I have been of course shooting film when I was young in early 00’s, but then I was using only compact camera with lots of automatic functions. So I have some idea about film photography and film as a photographic media is not totally new to me.

The camera I purchased is without any automatic mode, so it is totally manually controleld! This project will give me new perspective for my hobby and makes me to learn basics of photography in totally new way for me!

The camera I purchased is Canon FTb from early -70’s, and it is fully manually operated and fully mechanical. The only thing that needs some electricity is the CdS light metering circuit. Of course it is possible to use the camera without light metering, but I find it useful at least now when I am a beginner in film photography.

Besides the camera, I of course bought some lenses too, I now have following lenses: 28 mm, 50 mm, 135 mm and 200 mm. Besides these I also haev teleconverter (2 x) and T2 -adapter for Canon FD mount (this camera body is with Canon FD mount, and so are of course the lenses).

I’m planning to shoot mainly black and white film, but now in the beginning I have been shooting also colour negatives. I’m also planning to develop my black and white films by myself, and for this purpose I have also purchased a used developing kit and enlarger for printing the photos and also of course all necessary developing chemicals.

By starting film photography, I wish to learn new skills and to become a better photographer. By shooting film with fully mechanical camera forces you to learn better the basics of taking good photos like controlling aperture, exposure time, focusing, etc. My plan is to develop and pring my all photos by myself, so there is also lots of new things to learn in developing and printing, that are almost completely new things for me!

I’m planning to photograph atmospherical phenomena, night sky, eclipses, deep sky, and all such objects and phenomena that I find interesting!

So this was a brief introduction for my new project! I will be updating here as I am able to make progess, so keep yourselves ready for new posts soon! 🙂


Happy Birthday Celestial Sphere!

Exactly 10 years ago, on 29th of June 2008 I started my first incarnation of this blog! So it’s already 10th birthday of Celestial Sphere! It’s amazing, I can’t believe, I’m still active and running this blog, wow!

Since the beginning of this blog, many things have changed. In the beginning I wrote in Finnish on Blogspot, but then I moved my blog to WordPress and started blogging in english. Also the appearance and style of this blog has changed many times over the years. But what remains, is my passion for amateur astronomy, atmospherical phenomena and blogging!

Many thanks for all of you who have stayed with me during these years! I’m sure, there will be many more ahead!


Observing 23./24.8.2017 in Ulvila Observatory

Date: 23./24.8.2017
Time: 23:00-01:30
Observing site: Ulvila Observatory, Finland
Instrument: C280/2750 mm (11” Catadioptric)

SQM: 20.66
Darkness of the background sky: 3
Seeing: –
Transparency: –
Weather: Clear sky, calm, no Moon, dry air, +12C

During the night between 23rd and 24th of August 2017, I went observing to Ulvila Observatory. During this night, I was able to observe two objects, both planetary nebulas: NGC 6772 and 6804. During the Night I was at the observatory with Jarkko Suominen. He was photographing The Veil Nebula in Cygnus, and during the night I was able to do couple of visual observations during the breaks of his exposures. Besides my visual observations, I was also participating astrophotography activities with Jarkko that night. A report of the Veil nebula photography session can be found in Taivaanvahti observation database by Ursa Astronomical Association (in Finnish).

NGC 6772

My first target for the night was NGC 6772, a planetary nebula in Aquila, located in SW part of the constellation, about 14 degrees SW from Altair. About this object I wrote following notes:

@165x: This planetary nebula appeared as a roundish, and faint nebulous glow with even brightness distribution. No central star or structure visible. OIII enhanced the view, this nebula doesn’t tolerate magnification very well.

170823-24_NGC 6772
NGC 6772 observed with 11” Catadioptric


NGC 6804

My second and last object for this short session was NGC 6804, another planetary nebula in Aquila. This nebula is located ~4 degrees W from Altair. About this stellar remnant I wrote as follows:

@280x: This planetary nebula appeared as a rather small, and pretty bright nebulous patch of light. The shape of the nebula is perhaps slightly elongated. Central star became visible with higher magnification. OIII didn’t do much with this object.

170823-24_NGC 6804
NGC 6804 observed with 11” Catadioptric

So, that was my second, this time very short observing session. I was happy anyway, because I was able to see two new planetary nebulas for me, and both of them were really pretty objects!