The traditional popular astronomy event, Tähtipäivät (literally: Star days), was organized in village of Inari, Northern Finland in 21.-22. of March 2014. The event was organized by Ursa astronomical association (the national astronomical association of Finland) together with a local astronomy club Ochejohka Ursa. The theme of this event was Nieida käreg in Sami language or Neitokäräjät in Finnish. Nieida käreg means The Pleiades, which is the famous star cluster in the constellation of Taurus.
The venue site was called Sajos, which is a recently build conference center in village of Inari. The building is also the parliament house of the Sami parliament, which is the parliament of the Sami people, the indigenous people of Northern Scandinavia.
One of the main goals of Tähtipäivät events is to popularize astronomy and promote hobby of amateur astronomy. Thus, the programme of this event consisted of popularized lectures given by both professional- and amateur astronomers. Besides the scientific part of programme, also lots of artistic performances were included in the programme, especially in the evenings of the event. The participants were able to enjoy musical and theatrical performances! Also the nature itself organized it’s own performance: a nice display of Northern lights or aurora borealis was observed during the first night of the event!
The traditional Stella Arcti -awards were also granted during the second evening the event. Stella Arcti is an award granted by Ursa astronomical association as a recognition of important discovery made by amateur astronomer(s) or as a recognition of significant achievements within the field of amateur astronomy.
This year the award was granted to Antti Henriksson for his discovery of a new halo form, sun pillar’s circumzenithal arc or Henriksson’s arc. Henriksson made his discovery in Kittilä, Finland 18th of October, 2013. Stella Arcti -recognition of honor -awards were granted for Marko Mikkilä for his discovery of another new halo form, 32° arc, in Nivala, Finland 8th of July 2013. Stella Arcti -recognition of honor -award was granted also to a group of observers (Esko Lyytinen, Markku Nissinen and Harry Lehto) for their discovery of a convergence phenomena of the debris tail of comet 17P/Holmes. Marko Mikkilä, Markku Nissinen and Esko Lyytinen had already got the proper Stella Arcti -award for their earlier important discoveries.
In my opinion, the Tähtipäivät 2014 -event was a memorable and very succesfull! The event reached many people and visitors had came all over the Finland! At least more than hundred people visited the event during the weekend! It was fun to participate the event, and I’m sure that I will travel to Inari and other places in Northern Finland again in (hopefully not so far) future!