Nacreous clouds observed on Christmas eve 2012

Observed phenomenae:

  • Nacreous clouds (type I)
  •  Crepescular rays

Date: 24.12.2012
Time: 16:25
Observing place: Ulvila, Finland
Observing method: Photography
Technical information about photographing equipment: Camera: Canon EOS 1100D, lens: Canon EF-S 18-55mm

Nacreous clouds of type I were observed during many days around mid-winter all over Finland. I was also once able to observe this phenomena! It happened in the evening of the Christmas eve in Ulvila, Finland. There was a gap in the otherwise continuous layer of low clouds, and the nacreus clouds were visible from this gap! The nacreous clouds were coloured orange by the setting Sun. I also observed some crepescular rays on the smooth veil of the nacreous clouds.

Nacreous clouds of type I coloured orange by the setting Sun and some crepescular rays.
Nacreous clouds of type I coloured orange by the setting Sun and some crepescular rays.

Deep sky observing in really freezing weather 4.-5.12.2012

Date: 4.-5.12.2012
Time: 20:15-21:15
Observing site: Kovero heritage farm, Seitseminen National Park, Finland
Instrument: L102/1000mm

NELM: 6,6
SQM: 21,12
Darkness of the background sky: 2
Seeing: 2
Transparency: 2
Weather: Clear sky, -21 °C, calm, 20cm snow on the ground, no Moon, no aurora

Objects observed: Messier 81 (visual, sketching), Messier 82 (visual, sketching)

This time I decided to try observing at Kovero traditional farm in Seitseminen National Park, Finland. From the yard of the farm the horizon is open enough to make observations. The place is accessible with a car also in winter. When I arrived at the site, the gates of the farm were open and I carried my observing equipment to the yard and started observing!

This time weather was rather chilly, temperature was -21 degrees below zero, and there was about 20 cm of snow on the ground! But the cold temperature isn’t a problem, when you have dressed up properly!

This time I observed galaxies Messier 81 and 82 in the constellation of Ursa major, The Great bear of northern sky!

Messier 81 (The Bode’s nebula) appeared as a relatively large, oval shaped nebula with a bright core. Brightness of the galaxy increases inwards. The outer parts of the galaxy are better visible with averted vision. This galaxy is elliptical in shape, and its long axis is oriented in NW-SE -direction. This is a really good object for small instruments!

Messier 81 observed with 4'' Refractor
Messier 81 observed with 4” Refractor

Messier 82 appeared as a bright, thin and elongated nebula, whose long axis is roughly SW-NE oriented. The brightness distribution of the galaxy is pretty even. There is a brighter spot visible with averted vision close to the core of the galaxy. Messier 82 is a really good target for small instruments too!

Messier 82 with 4'' Refractor
Messier 82 observed with 4” Refractor

Sketching the Moon 29./30.11.2012

Date: 29.-30.11.2012
Time: 19:35-20:20
Observing site: Kuru, Ylöjärvi, Finland
Instrument: L102/1000mm

NELM: 5,0
SQM: 16,76
Darkness of the background sky: 5
Seeing: 4
Transparency: 2
Weather: Clear sky, -3 °C, cold eastern breeze, thin and discontinuous layer of snow on the ground

Objects observed: Moon (visual, sketching)

During this session nearly full Moon was shining in the eastern sky. I had already long time been planning to sketch the Moon, and now I tought, that this is the night for Moon sketching, and so I went out and sketched the Moon! 🙂 And because the Moon was shining and the lights of the Visitor Center (of the National Park) were on, there wouldn’t have been much anything elso to observe. So the Moon was good choice for that night!

The Moon (nearly full moon, 99%), sketched 29.11.2012 with L102/1000mm @ 25x in Seitseminen National Park, Finland
The Moon (nearly full moon, 99%), sketched 29.11.2012 with L102/1000mm @ 25x in Seitseminen National Park, Finland

About the sketch: basically the sketch was made with soft pencil (6B) on a tough piece of white cardboard. Besides pencil, I also used a soft graphitone pencil and a soft graphite stick to render the darker mare -areas of the Moon. I used an eraser to render the lighter details of the Moon. I used a paper stump to make the rendering a little bit softer. After making the sketch itself outside, I finished the sketch at my desk. Then I just scanned the sketch on my computer and enhanced the contrast of the scanned sketch and softened it a little bit more with a graphics editor.