Deep sky -observing in Seitseminen National Park, Finland 17./18.9.2012

Date: 17./18.9.2012
Time: 00:30-02:30
Observing site: Visitor Centre, Seitseminen National Park, Finland
Instrument: L102/1000mm

NELM: 6,6
SQM: 21,35
Darkness of the background sky: 2
Seeing: 2
Transparency: 1
Weather: Clear sky, moderate wind, no Moon, humid air, +3 °C

Objects observed: Messier 36 (visual, sketching)

The sky got clear just in time and I was able to try some observing. The sky was relatively dark, and I tried to observe some a little bit more challenging objects. This time I tried to observe emission/reflection nebula IC 405 (Flaming star nebula) in Auriga and emission nebula NGC 1499 (California nebula) in Perseus, but even after trying O III and UHC filters, I couldn’t see the objects, not even with sweeping and with averted vision.

Because I had to go sleeping soon, I decided to observe at least something, and I ended up observing and sketching open cluster Messier 36 in Auriga, because my telescope was already aimed at that direction.

With my 4” refractor, Messier 36 appears to be bright and pretty well concentrated open cluster. Many stars of the cluster seems to be in pairs. The cluster is well detached from it’s background and it has mediocre brightness range. There is a glow of fainter stars visible in the background of the cluster. The cluster is easy to find and is a really good object to observe visually, and it is excellent target for small instruments.

Messier 36 observed 17./18.9.2012 in Seitseminen National Park with L102/1000mm @ 67x
Messier 36 observed with 4” refractor @ 67x
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Meeting of the Finnish Deep Sky Observers 14.-16.9.2012

The participants of the 20th Deep sky -meeting. Photo: © Juha Ojanperä.

The observers and deep sky -enthusiasts of the Finnish astronomical society Ursa had gathered to the Tähtikallio Observatory Center in Artjärvi, Southern Finland to their traditional meeting in 14.-16.9.2012. This time the meeting was also the 20th anniversary of the meetings! The first deep sky -meeting was organized in 1992 in Hartola, Finland. This time the amount of participants was about 25.

In the meeting, sky was cloudy during the first night, but during the second night, sky was absolutely brilliantly clear, and many observations were made and astrophotos taken! For example, I was making observations with the 16” Meade of Tähtikallio, and I was observing and sketching NGC 7331, Hickson 92 and 94. And while observing, I was also showing these magnificent celestial wonders for other interested people! The observing conditions were rather good, SQM was 21,28 and NELM 6,6!

During the meeting, we heard also many interesting lectures, that include for example the lecture given by Riku Henrikksson about the interesting and very challenging objects of our Local group and the lecture about Supernovas of type Ia given by Arto Oksanen. Also the traditional observation review and knowledge quiz were organized, this time by the new section leader, Toni Veikkolainen.

This 2oth deep sky -meeting was a really good and succesfull, the atmosphere was wonderful and lectures were interesting! Big thanks for everyone for this meeting! It is good to carry on from this point to the future!

Observing in Tähtikallio Observatory 15./16.9.2012

Date: 15./16.9.2012
Time: 22:00-03:30
Observing site: Tähtikallio observatory, Finland
Instrument: C406/4064mm (16” Catadioptric)

NELM: 6,6
SQM: 21,28
Darkness of the background sky: 2
Seeing: 2
Transparency: 1
Weather: Clear sky, calm, no Moon, +10 °C

Objects observed: Caldwell 30 (NGC 7331) (visual, sketching), Hickson 92 (visual, sketching), Hickson 94 (visual, sketching)

In this session I was able to make some observation and sketching with the 16” Catadioptric telescope of Tähtikallio Observatory in Artjärvi, Finland. This observing session happened during the annual meeting of Finnish deep sky observers.

During this session I observed Caldwell 30 (NGC 7331), which is a nearly edge-on spiral galaxy in Pegasus. Besides this, I observed Hickson 92 and 94, which are faint and challenging groups of galaxies from the Hickson catalogue of compact galaxy groups. Observing conditions were good during the whole session.

Caldwel 30 (NGC 7331): @200x, large and bright, almost edge -on galaxy. The galaxy is very elongated in shape, and it’s length axis is oriented in N-S -direction. The galaxy has an almost stellar core with relatively bright halo that is surrounding it. The brightness of the galaxy decreases rapidly outwards from the core of the galaxy. With instrument like this and this magnification, the galaxy extends almost from the edge of the field to another. It is possible to see hints of EDL west from the core of the galaxy when gazing with averted vision. Of the satellite galaxies of NGC 7331, I was able to see at least NGC 7335. It is visible as a small, fuzzy spot about 3′ to NE from the core of NGC 7331.

Caldwell 30 (NGC 7331) observed with 40'' Catadioptric
Caldwell 30 (NGC 7331) observed with 16” Catadioptric

Hickson 92: @200x, I was able to see four galaxies of this group: NGC 7320 (13,2 mag), NGC 7317 (14,6 mag), NGC 7318B (14,0 mag) and NGC 7318A (14,4 mag). For some reason, I apparently missed NGC 7319 (14,1 mag), which I think, should have been visible with this instrument. All these galaxies were visible as faint, fuzzy nebulas, best visible with averted vision.

Reasons, why I didn’t spot NGC 7319 might be caused by following factors:

-When I was doing this observation, I didn’t have any detailed map of this object. Neither did I have any clear mental map or image of this object in my mind (which on the other hand, is just a good thing).
-I wasn’t alone all the time, and I wasn’t able to focus on the observing as much as I had wanted to
-I hadn’t been obsering with this instrument much before this session
-There might have been some dew on the oculars, and the optical surfaces could have been a little bit dirty

Hickson 92 observed with 40''' Catadioptric
Hickson 92 observed with 16”’ Catadioptric

Hickson 94: @200x, only two galaxies, NGC 7578A (14,9 mag) and 7678B (14,9 mag) of this cluster were clearly visible. Both galaxies appeared as a small, faint, fuzzy nebulas, that were only barely visible with direct gaze, but became better visible with averted vision. Also when comparing my sketch with the SIMBAD photo, it seems that the star-like cores of HCG 94C (16,3 B mag) and D (16,2 B mag) were also visible.

A galaxy cluster Hickson 94 observed and sketched with the 16'' Meade of Tähtikallio in 15./16.9.2012. Only two galaxies (NGC 7578-1, NGC 7578-2) of the cluster were visible.
Hickson 94 observed with 16” Catadioptric

Deep sky observing in Friitala, Ulvila, Finland 13./14.9.2012

Date: 13./14.9.2012
Time: 19:30-21:15
Observing site: Friitala, Ulvila, Finland
Instrument: L102/1000mm

NELM: 6,2
SQM: 20,85
Darkness of the background sky: 2
Seeing: 2
Transparency: 3
Weather: Mostly clear sky, light wind, no Moon, humid air, +6 °C

Objects observed: Messier 76 (visual, sketching), Messier 92 (visual, sketching)

During this session, I was doing some deep sky- observing in Friitala, Ulvila. This site is located close to towns of Pori and Ulvila, and it means that the light pollution domes of these urban areas are destroying northern and eastern sky. The background sky is not really dark, but dark enough for doing some deep sky observing. This time I observed and sketched Messier 76, a planetary nebula in constellation of Perseus and globular cluster Messier 92 in constellation of Hercules. Although the sky was clear and conditions were ok, I had to go sleeping early because I had been awake for long time already.

Messier 76: @133x, this planetary nebula was visible as a small, SW-NE oriented, fuzzy and greatly elongated nebula. The nebula is also known as the little dumpell nebula, and the characteristic wings of the nebula were also visible. The southwesternmost one of them was brighter than the opposite one. The wings are best visible with averted vision. The nebula is pretty small and dim, but it is in easy place and thus it is easy to find. This object is nice and interesting object to observe visually, also for smaller instruments.

Messier 76 observed with 4'' Refractor
Messier 76 observed with 4” Refractor, @133x

Messier 92: @67x, bright globular cluster, which was easily resolved almost into the core! The brightness, and hence the density of stars of the cluster increases clearly towards the core. The core is dense and much brighter than the outer parts of the cluster. This is visually very impressive object, also for small instruments.

Messier 92 observed 13.-14.9.2012 in Friitala, Ulvila, Finland @ L102/1000mm, 67x.
Messier 92 observed with 4” refractor, @ 67x.

Observing in exceptionally warm weather 11./12.9.2012

Date: 11./12.9.2012
Time: 23:00-00:40
Observing site: Länsi-Aure, Kuru, Finland
Instrument: L102/1000mm (4” refractor)

NELM: 6,5
SQM: 21,21
Darkness of the background sky: 2
Seeing: 2
Transparency: 1
Weather: Partly cloudy sky, light wind, no Moon, 12°C

Objects observed: Messier 71 (visual, sketching), U Umi (visual)

During this session, I had opportunity to observe in exceptionally warm weather, this time temperature was +12C, which is pretty good for a night time temperature in this time of the year!This time clouds were interfering, but still I was able to do some observations. This time the sky was truly dark, but humidity was high. This time I observed star U Umi and sketched globular cluster Messier 71 in constellation of Sagitta.

Messier 71: @62x, fairly bright globular cluster, which was visible as a fuzzy sphere. It seems that there is a W-E -oriented bar in the cluster that is brighter than the rest of the cluster. When gazing the cluster with averted vision, the cluster looks granulated and it is possible to see glimpse of some individual stars of the cluster.

Messier 71 observed with 4'' Refractor
Messier 71 observed with 4” Refractor

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Variable star observations:

Date Time Star Mag. Comp.
11./12.9.2012 23.35 U Umi 10.6 10.6

First observing session in September! 8./9.9.2012

Date: 8./9.9.2012
Time: 00:00-01:25
Observing site: Visitor Centre, Seitseminen National Park, Finland
Instrument: L102/1000mm (4” refractor)

NELM: 6,5
SQM: 20,96
Darkness of the background sky: 3
Seeing: 2
Transparency: 2
Weather: Clear sky, moderate wind, last quarter of Moon low in the eastern sky, humid air, 4°C

Objects observed: SS Cyg (visual), R Cyg (visual), R Tri (visual)

During the first session in September, the sky was relatively dark and transparent, although the last quarter of the Moon was in the sky. It was at quite low altitude, which helped situation. SQM was almost 21 and NELM was about 6,5! This time I observed variable stars. I observed SS Cyg, R Tri and R Cyg. SS Cyg has now returned to it’s faint state (normal brightness). R Tri and R Cyg are both getting fainter.It would have been fun to observe for even longer time, but because I had to be working next day, I had to go to bed early, so that i could sleep even a little before waking up in the morning.
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Variable star observations:

Date Time Star Mag. Comp.
8./9.9.2012 00.31 SS Cyg 12.3 11.9/12.3
8./9.9.2012 00.50 R Tri 8.7 8.7/9.7
8./9.9.2012 01.15 R Cyg 10.1 9.9/10.7

Halo display with pyramide crystals 4.9.2012

Observed phenomena: Halo phenomena
Light source: Sun
Origin: High clouds (cirrostratus)
Observed halo forms:

  • 22° halo
  • 9° halo [Van Buijsen]

Date: 4.9.2012
Time: 12.33-12.43
Observing place: Kuru, Ylöjärvi, Finland
Observing method: Photography
Technical information about photographing equipment: Camera: Canon EOS 1100D, lens: Canon EF-S 18-55mm IS

Description: I noticed a diffuse 22° halo in the sky, which usually is a sign of odd-radius halos caused by pyramide. And when observing closely, I noticed that there was a small, odd-radius halo ring close to the Sun! This halo ring was the 9° halo [Van Buijsen], and this was the first observation of this halo form in my life so far! It is possible, that there was also other halos caused by pyramide crystals, but taking series of photos and stacking them would have been required for confirming this. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to take more photos, so this time the observed halo forms were 22° halo and 9° halo [Van Buijsen].