Observing in Torinkylä, Sotkamo

Now I have temporarily moved to work in new area in municipality of Sotkamo, Finland. Yesterday evening I got a chance to do some stargazing here. Yesterday I was looking for a suitable observing place, and after all, I could easily find one. That place is situated close to village of Torinkylä in municipality of Sotkamo. The place is really dark, there’s no light pollution around. Only negative thing with this site is the fact, that trees are blocking the horizon almost in all directions up to 20°-30°. But this is forgettable, because the place is virtually free from any light pollution.

I had long planned to observe the comet C/2009 P1 (Garrad) and finally that became reality last night. The comet was quite small and compact. It’s nucleus was bright and star-like. The coma of th comet faded smoothly outwards from the nucleus. The comet was clearly elongated in E-W direction, and with averted vision I could see, that it had a very faint, eastwards-pointing tail.

Besides the comet, I also observd Uranus with my 102/1000mm refractor, 7×8 binoculars and with naked eye. I have seen Uranus before with telescope, but not with naked eye. So that was a new experience to me! With y refractor, Uranus was visible as a ~6 mag star with slight bluish tint. I can’t really say, that I could see the planet as disk -shaped, rather it was star-like than anything else. It was relatively easy to find Uranus with naked eye, you just have to know where to look. It wasn’t visible so well with direct vision though, but easily with averted vision.

During last night, I also observed R Tri (whose magnitude was 6.6, getting brighter), R CrB which I couldn’t see this time (the faintest comp star was 12.8, so it’s brightness was <12.8) and the supernova of Messier 101 (SN2011fe), whose brightness was around 10.9. This time I estimated it to be slightly brighter than last time (11.0 mag), but I think that last time I underestimated it’s brighness because of clouds, that were partly obscuring the view.

And in the deep space, I observed the familiar and famous neighbour galaxy to us, Messier 31 with it’s bright companions.

Observing conditions were relatively good, it was clear sky during the whole obs session, and it was pretty warm (~+6°C) but windy. The sky was also relatively dark, SQM was around 21.30.

Here is the summary of the observing session:

Observing session: #14/11-12
Date: 30/1.10.2011
Time: 21.00-23.30
Place: Torinkylä, Sotkamo, Finland
Instruments used: L102/1000mm
Objects observed: SN2011fe, R CrB, R Tri, Messier 31, 32 and 110, C/2009 P1 (Garrad), Uranus
Conditions: NELM: 6.4, SQM: 21.30, + 11 °C – +5 °C, clear sky, windy

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