Observed phenomena: Lunar eclipse
Type of eclipse: Penumbral Lunar eclipse
Type of observation: Negative
Date and time: 28.11.2012, 16:35-18:10
Observing place: Parkano, Finland
Observing conditions: Overcast, windy, cold, light snowfall
Unfortunately the penumbral Lunar eclipse of 28th of November was obscured by clouds here in southern part of Finland. The eclipse was though observed in northern Finland!
Weather here was overcast, but there were some small holes in the cloud cover, and I was able to see glimpses of the Moon when I was observing, but I couldn’t see any signs of eclipse during those small instances. It was also very cold and windy, and there was also some light snowfall.
The next celestial event is going to happen in April of 2013, this time also a Lunar eclipse! This eclipse is also going to be a penumbral eclipse, although the Moon touches the umbra during the maximum eclipse. When observed here from the horizon of Finland, the Moon will be in southern sky at low altitude during the eclipse. Also the sky will be already relatively light because of approaching summer. This might cause some difficulties at least in the higher latitudes.
Observed phenomena: Aurora borealis
Observing place: Kuru, Ylöjärvi, Finland
Observing method: Photography
Technical information about photographing equipment: Camera: Canon EOS 1100D, lens: Samyang 8mm fish eye, Canon EF-S 18-55mm IS
Observing conditions: Clear sky at the beginnig, getting cloudy in the end, -3 °C, calm
This night I went to my observing site with my flatmate to show him some stars and celestial objects. At the beginning the sky was clear and relatively dark, and we could see many celestial wonders! But then the sky started to get hazy. Apparently there was some thin cloud veil in the sky, but also there was some diffuse aurora veil.
A little bit later the aurorae became more obvious, when an aurora belt appeared in the northern horizon. At the beginning this belt was pretty quiet, but then it suddenly got more active, brighter and rayed, and the rays were moving quickly along the belt. This didn’t last long, and actually the clouds also got thicker and thicker, and eventually they obscured the aurorae totally.
During this night came many observations from all over Finland about northern lights. Many observers reported, that they had observed red colour with the aurorae. There is a distinct red colour visible also in my aurora photos, but originally I had thought that it was caused by light pollution of near by Parkano town. But because also many others had seen the redness of the aurorae, it is clear that the redness of the aurorae in my photos was really the redness of the aurorae, and not just light pollution.
Darkness of the background sky: 2
Weather: Clear sky, -2 °C, light wind, no snow, no Moon, faint aurora arc at low altitude in northern sky
Objects observed: Messier 39 (visual, sketching), Messier 77 (visual, sketching)
During this session, the sky was relatively dark, although there was some aurora in the northern sky, and thus I decided to try to observe the comet Hergenrother once again. This time I had very accurate maps with me, and I was looking for the comet carefully in the right place, but still I couldn’t find it. I deduced from this, that the unvisibility of the comet is caused only by the low magnitude of the comet itself.
Because I couldn’t find the comet and the sky was dark, I changed my plan and decided to observe some deep sky objects instead. This time I observed Messier 77, a galaxy in constellation of Cetus and Messier 39, an open cluster in constellation of Cygnus.
Messier 77 was found easily, and it was well visible with my instrument. The galaxy appeared as a round, little bit oval fuzzy spot. A notable feature of this galaxy is it’s significantly bright core. It is much brighter than the outer parts of the galaxy. This is a good object also for small telescopes.
Messier 39 is a rather large, loose and poor open cluster in the constellation of Cygnus. A wide field and low magnification is required to observe this object. This cluster is clearly triangular in shape. There isn’t any observable concentration towards center in this cluster. There are some brightness differences between the stars of this cluster. This object is well suitable for small telescopes, and actually it is best observed with large binoculars or small telescope because of its large size.
Darkness of the background sky: 2
Weather: Mostly clear sky, -8 °C, calm, thin, discontinuous layer of snow on the ground, no Moon, no aurora
Objects observed: Neptune (visual, sketching), Messier 35 (visual, sketching), Messier 77 (visual, sketching)
During this session, I tried to find and observe comet Hergenrother, but I wasn’t succesfull in my attempts. Perhaps the comet was too faint for my instrument. Instead of observing comet, I then decided to observe some deep sky objects.
This time I observed open clusters Messier 35 in Gemini and Messier 37 in Auriga.
Messier 35 is really a pretty nice looking open cluster with my small refractor! @31x, the cluster is fairly large and rich and it is well detached from it’s background. The cluster isn’t very concentrated, and the center of the cluster even looks pretty empty! There is an arc consisted of stars on the NW edge of the cluster. This starry arc is one of the most prominent features of this cluster when observing visually. This is a really good target for visual observing, especially for telescopes with smaller aperture. Because of the relatively large size of the cluster, small magnification and large field are preferred for this object.
@67x, Messier 37 appears to be a compact, bright and rich open cluster, which is well detached from it’s background. The cluster is elongated in W-E direction, and it is a little bit wedge -like in shape, getting narrower eastwards. The brightness range of the cluster is pretty even, although there are some brighter stars in the cluster. Messier 37 is a really good target for visual observations and especially for smaller telescopes!
After observing two deep sky -objects, I decided to come back to the outskirts of our Solar system, and to try observe planet Neptune, which I actually haven’t observed ever before! So this was my first time to see the outermost planet of our solar system! The planet appeared totally star-like, and I actually even didn’t exactly know, which of the stars of the field was Neptune, but I knew that I was in the right field. Then I checked the location of the planet afterwards from Sky Map Pro.