EuroVS -meeting 2013 was organized in Helsinki, Finland

The participants of EuroVS 2013 -meeting. Juha Ojanperä behind the camera. Photo:  © Juha Ojanperä
The participants of EuroVS 2013 -meeting. Juha Ojanperä behind the camera. Photo: © Juha Ojanperä

The EuroVS 2013 -meeting was organized in Helsinki, Finland 26.-28.4.2013. The number of participants was much lower than expected, but the atmosphere of the meeting was warm and excited! In total 9 participants were on site and 2 persons attended via internet.

In the meeting, we heard many interesting lectures, for example about the history of Variable star observing in Finland and about the new online database of the BAA.VSS. Besides the on-site -presentations, we heard also two lectures via internet from USA. The venue -site was the old Helsinki observatory, which is now home to Ursa Astronomical Association and the Helsinki Observatory Museum.

On saturday, we visited The Suomenlinna -fortress island, just 15 minutes from the City via ferry. On the island, we also had a dinner in the Suomenlinna Brewery Restaurant.

More photos here!


April lunar eclipse 2013 was seen in Finland

Observed phenomena: Lunar eclipse
Type of eclipse: Partial Lunar eclipse
Type of observation: Positive
Date and time: 25.4.2013, 22:35-00:10
Observing place: Turku, Finland
Observing conditions: Clear sky
Observing instruments: Camera: Canon EOS 1100D, Telescope: L80/400mm (3” refractor)

Before this partial lunar eclipse, there had been four lunar eclipses that I couldn’t observe because of cloudy sky or otherwise poor observing conditions, but this time I was finally lucky, and I managed to observe the partial lunar eclipse of April 2013!

This eclipse was only a shallow one, the Moon didn’t dive very deep in the shadow of Earth. Only a slight segment of the upper edge of the Moon was in the umbra during the maximum eclipse. But before and after the umbral -phase of the eclipse, the penumbra was visible on the upper edge of the Moon. The penumbra wasn’t very dark, but it was still visible.

Observing in Ulvila observatory 31.3.-1.4.2013

Date: 31.3./1.4.2013
Time: 19:00-21:00
Observing site: Ulvila observatory, Finland
Instrument: C280/2750mm (11” Catadioptric)

NELM: 5,7
SQM: 20,28
Darkness of the background sky: 4
Seeing: 2
Transparency: 2
Weather: Clear sky, -2 °C, calm, snow still on the ground, faint aurora arc in the northern sky at low altitude

Objects observed: Comet C/2011 L4 (PanSTARRS) (visual, sketching), NGC 5053 (visual, sketching), NGC 5466 (visual, sketching), SS Cyg (visual), R Cyg (visual)

When March was turning to April, I was doing some observing in Ulvila observatory, Finland. This time I observed comet C/2011 L4 (PanSTARRS), NGC 5466, NGC 5053, SS Cyg and R Cyg. Observing conditions were OK, it’s not very cold anymore, the temperature was only 2 °C below zero. The nights are though getting shorter already, and the beginnig of the summer time means that the observing sessions are now starting even later.

The comet C/2011 L4 (PanSTARRS) was still visible, and it was now approaching the Andromeda galaxy. During this night, the apparent distance between the comet and the galaxy was less than 3º. I observed the comet with the large binoculars of Ulvila observatory (25×100), the binoculars have a FOV of 2º. The comet itself fitted in nicely in the field, but I wasn’t able to see both the comet and the galaxy in the same field. The comet wasn’t anymore visible with naked eye, but it was easy to see with the binos. The length of the tail seems to be about 45′ and it is pointing to position angle 340º. The coma is still very condensated, the DC is 8, the diameter of the coma is about 3′.

Comet C/2011 L4 (PanSTARRS) 31.3./1.4.2013
Comet C/2011 L4 (PanSTARRS) 31.3./1.4.2013

Besides observing and sketching the comet, I did also some deep sky -sketching. This time I observed and scketched globular clusters NGC 5466 and 5053. NGC 5466 appeared as a round, faint and fuzzy nebula. The cluster has pretty even brightness distribution. The cluster appeared to be granulated, some individual stars were also resolved.

NGC 5466 observed with 11'' Catadioptric
NGC 5466 observed with 11” Catadioptric

NGC 5053 appeared as a very faint and vague nebula, which was visible only with sweeping and averted vision. No hope of resolving any stars. I think this should have been visible better with my instrument, but the poor background sky darkness could explain the fact that it was visible only barely.

NGC 5053 observed with 11'' Catadioptric
NGC 5053 observed with 11” Catadioptric

After having done some deep sky -sketching, I observed also variable stars SS Cyg and R Cyg. Both stars are in their minimum brightness now, SS Cyg about 12.0, and actually I couldn’t even see R Cyg, so I made a negative observation of it, the magnitude of the star was <14.0.

Variable star observations:

Date Time Star Mag. Comp.
31.3./1.4.2013 02.53 SS Cyg 12.0 10.9/11.9
31.3./1.4.2013 03.12 R Cyg <14.0 14.0