Northern lights time lapse, September 2014

This is my most successfull attempt in making a northern lights time lapse video so far! This video is from September (22./23.9.2014) last year, when pretty nice northern lights were dancing over the sky of Kuusamo, Finland!

Please watch the video and see for yourself! Please leave me a comment about whether you liked the video or not.



Light pillars in fantasy world

In the night between 23rd and 24th of January 2015, the scenary in Kuusamo, Finland was just like in a fantasy world! There was lots of snow and trees wee covered in thick layer of frost! The sky was cloudy, and some ice crystals were raining from the stratus -clouds hanging at low level.

The snow crystals were of dendritic hexagonic type, which means that those crystals were not very good halo making crystals. Only halo form that they can produce, is a sun pillar, or in this case, a street light pillar. And there were pillars! Lots of pillars in every direction! And the pillars were very tall, tallest of them were reaching zenith, and it seemed as if they were converging near the zenith because of the perspective -phenomena!The pillars are formed, when light from the street lights (or Sun) is reflecting from the upper- and lower surfaces of the ice crystals to form  a pillar of light above and sometimes also below the source of light.

Temperature was about -17 °C. It was absolutely stunning! And I was the only witness of this wonderful natural display, I couldn’t see any other people in the town that night!

The ice crystals on that night came in all possible froms and shapes, and many of them were resembling much the snowflakes made familiar by the classic work of Wilson Bentley in 1902.

Collection of all kinds of ice crystals or snowflakes from the classic work of Wilson Bentley in 1902.
Collection of all kinds of ice crystals or snowflakes from the classic work of Wilson Bentley in 1902.

Photos showing the magnificent display of street light pillars in quite exotic circumstances in the night 23./24.1.2015 in Kuusamo, Finland:

Comet Lovejoy observed in harsh winter conditions

Date: 11./12.1.2015
Time: 18:00-18:30
Observing site: Kurkijärvi, Kuusamo, Finland
Instrument: L102/1200mm (4” refractor)

NELM: 5.7
SQM: 20.50
Darkness of the background sky: 3
Seeing: 2
Transparency: 3
Weather: Mostly clear but somewhat hazy sky, cold breeze, -20 C

Objects observed: C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy)

Comet C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy) is now well visible in the night sky of Northern hemisphere. The comet is now dwelling in the constellation of Taurus, where it can be seen as a fuzzy 4th magnitude star with naked eye! Yesterday evening I went to observe this icy nomad by myself.

I was observing the comet with my 4” refractor. With my instrument, the comet appeared as a round, fuzzy ball of light. In the coma of the comet, there is a clear central brightening. The coma is getting gradually brighter towards the center. There is no visual tail visble with the comet. The apparent diameter of the coma of the comet is about 21′. The degree of condensation of the comet is about 6 in the scale from 0 to 9.

Degree of condensation is just a way to describe how the light of the comet is distrubuted in the object. If degree of condensation is very low, then the brightness distribution is very even, but if degree of condensation is high, then the coma of the comet is almost stellar in appearance.

I was also able to observe the comet with naked eye. With naked eye it appeared as a fuzzy, 4th magnitude star in the constellation of Taurus.

Comet Lovejoy observed with 4'' refractor.
Comet Lovejoy observed with 4” refractor.