Gigantic sunspot AR 2192

Observed object: Sun and sunspot group AR 2192
Date: 27.10.2014
Time: 12:00 UT
Observing site: Kuusamo, Finland
Instrument: Canon EOS 1100D, 4” refractor

During couple of last weeks, a magnificent sunspot group, named AR 2192 was growing in the surface of the Sun. This sunspot group was largest in more than 20 years, and it was largest sunspot group during this sunspot cycle! This sunspot group was so large, that Earth could have been fitted ten times in the sunspot! I was also able to observe this sunspot, and I was also able to see it with naked eye (of course with proper solar filter)! When I was doing my observation, Sun was already at low altitude, and thus it was a little bit flattened and seeing was quite poor. I took this photo with Canon EOS 1100D DSRL and with 4” refractor.

Sunspot group AR 2192
Sunspot group AR 2192

Northern lights 14./15.10.2014

Last night there was a wonderful display of northern lights that was observed all over Finland! I was observing this natural display in Kuusamo, Northeastern Finland. It’s already winter here in Kuusamo, we have about 5 cm of snow on the ground and temperature was 10 degrees below zero! So the weathe was a bit freezing, but the display was totally amazing!

Observing during the Deep sky -meeting 2014, part 2

Date: 20./21.9.2014
Time: 22:00-02:00
Observing site: Tähtikallio observatory, Finland
Instrument: C416/4064mm (16” Meade)

NELM: 6.0
SQM: 21.10-21.00
Darkness of the background sky: 2-3
Seeing: 2
Transparency: 3
Weather: A little bit hazy sky, calm, warm, humid air

Objects observed: NGC 6781, IC 342, Messier 33 & NGC 604

During the second night of the event, observing conditions weren’t optimal, but I was able to make more observations. During the night, I observed NGC 6781, IC 342 and Messier 33 & NGC 604.

NGC 6781

NGC 6781 observed with 16'' Catadioptric.
NGC 6781 observed with 16” Catadioptric.

NGC 6781 is a relatively large planetary nebula in the constellation of Aquila, The Eagle. Here are my notes of my observation:

@97x: The object appears as a oval -shaped, faint nebula with a hint of a ring -structure with averted vision.

@ 97x+OIII: The ring -structure is obvious, best visible with averted vision though. There seems to be a faint star in the western edge of the nebula.

@ 239x: The object is an oval -shaped, pretty faint nebula with a clear ring -structure. The long axis of the nebula is oriented in N -S direction. No central star was visible, reminds me of the famous Ring nebula of Lyra, Messier 57.

IC 342

IC 342 is a really faint, face-on galaxy in the constellation of Camelopardalis, The Giraffe. The galaxy is a spiral galaxy of type Sc, which means, it has very loose and open spiral structure, and thus it also has very low surface brightness. This object requires absolutely ideal observing conditions to be visible properly. During my observing session, the observing conditions were far from being optimal, and thus the object wasn’t visible as well as it could have been.

IC 342 observed with 16'' Catadioptric.
IC 342 observed with 16” Catadioptric.

But anyway, here are my notes about the object:

@ 97x: Only the core of the galaxy and an area surrounding the core is barely visible with averted vision. The galaxy appears as a very faint, fuzzy, nebulous spot without any clear shape. No hope of seeing the spiral arms in these conditions. I ought to try to observe this one again when the transparency is better.

Messier 33 & NGC 604

NGC 604 is an extremely large HII area in the Triangulum galaxy, located in the constellation of Triangulum. This HII area is much larger than The Tarantula nebula located in the Large Magellanic Cloud, the largest HII area close to us. And thus it is also much larger than for example the famous Orion nebula, which is well visible in the winter sky.

NGC 604 observed with 16'' Catadioptric.
NGC 604 observed with 16” Catadioptric.

Here are my notes of my observation:

@97x: An extragalactic HII -area in The Triangulum galaxy. This object was visible as a bright, nebulous patch elongated in NW-SE -direction. The object is easy to see, it’s even easier than the core of it’s host galaxy! The object is located in the tip of one spiral arm about 13′ NE from the center of the galaxy.

Observing during the Deep sky -meeting 2014, part 1

Date: 19./20.9.2014
Time: 22:00-02:00
Observing site: Tähtikallio observatory, Finland
Instrument: C416/4064mm (16” Meade)

NELM: 6.0
SQM: 21.20
Darkness of the background sky: 2
Seeing: 2
Transparency: 2
Weather: Clear sky, calm, warm, humid air

Objects observed: IC 10

During the first night of Deep sky meeting 2014 I was observing with 16” Meade, but I was able to make only one proper observation. Most of the time was spent in watchint eye-candy stuff, like Messier 57. Observing conditions were OK, although there was occasionally some clouds in the sky. IC 10 is a dwarf galaxy in the edge of our Local Group. The galaxy could be more closely attached to the nearby Maffei -group.

IC 10 observed with 10'' Catadioptric.
IC 10 observed with 10” Catadioptric.

Here are my notes about IC 10:

@ 97x: IC 10 is visible as a very faint, fuzzy, nebulous spot. The object seems to be slightly elongated in W-E -direction. The object is best visible with averted vision. A difficult target even for a telescope of this size.

@ 239x: The nebulosity vanishes, but the faint stars superimposed the target become visible and the target looks granulated, just like any faint open cluster.

Deep sky -meeting 2014

The traditional deep sky -meeting was organized this year between 19th and 21st of September in Tähtikallio observatory center, Finland. The event has been organized in this place since 2006. Before that, the location of the event was quite variable. This year the event was quite popular, as about 35 people attended the event during the weekend. The programme of the event consisted of lectures, but also of relaxed socializing and observing. This year we were lucky, and we could be observing during the both nights of the event! The only negative thing was that our 36” Astrofox -telescope was out of order, because there was some problems with the clock drive. But the 16” Meade and the 24” Obsession were in active use along with many other portable telescopes.

The formal programme of the event was organized on Saturday. On Saturday, Toni Veikkolainen opened the day with his review about the observations made by the section members during the last observing season. After Toni, Riku Henriksson gave as an informative lecture about his observing conditions- and weather monitoring project in Kylmäkoski. The next program number was section meeting, where current issues of the deep sky -section were discussed about. After the meeting followed my presentation about the large scale structure of the Universe. After this, Samuli Vuorinen gave a presentation about his astrophotography plans. The formal programme was finished with quite informal, but traditional deep sky quiz! This time the winner was an experienced veteran member, Veikko Mäkelä.

Group photo of Deep sky -meeting 2014. Photo: Juha Ojanperä.
Group photo of Deep sky -meeting 2014. Photo: Juha Ojanperä.

Besides the formal programme, we were able to make some observations during both nights of the event. I wrote two separate articles about the observations that I made during the event: