Noctilucent clouds 23./24.7.2015

Observed phenomena: Noctilucent clouds
Observed NLC forms:

  • I (Veil)
  • IIa (Bands with diffuse, blurred edges)
  • IIIa (Short, straight and narrow streaks)
  • IIIb (Wave-like structure with undulations)
  • IVb ( Simple curve(s) with angular radius of 3 – 5 degrees)
  • IVc (Large-scale whirls)
  • 0 (A form which does not fit into types I – IV)
  • V (A net-like structure)

Brightness of the NLCs: 4 (NLC very bright and attracting the attention of casual observers)

Elevation: ~60°

Date: 23./24.7.2015
Time: 21:05-21:40 UT
Observing place: Ulvila, Finland
Observing method: Photography, visual
Technical information about photographing equipment: Sony Xperia Z1 Compact -smartphone camera

During the night between 23rd and 24th of July very bright noctilucent clouds appeared in the sky of Finland! The NLC’s were visible already before midnight! During the night, I was observing in near town of Ulvila, Western Finland, but clouds interfered severy my observing session. I was taking photos just with my smartphone camera, because the clouds were slowly but surely coming, and I wanted to get at least some photos! The NLC’s were very bright, and they were consisted of all kinds of forms, mainly waves. Despite the clouds, I could observe, that the NLC’s were extending from western sky to east, and their maximum altitude was about 60 degrees.

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Cygnus -meeting 17.-19.7.2015

The traditional Cygnus -summer convention of Finnish amateur astronomers was this year organized in Ylöjärvi, near Tampere, Finland by local amateur astronomy association Tampereen Ursa (astronomical association Ursa of Tampere). The event site was located by Lake Näsijärvi, which is one of the largest lakes in Finland!

The programme of the meeting was quite traditional: it consisted of lectures, smaller group meetings and some freetime socializing by campfire and of course bathing in Sauna! This year the excursion organized during the meeting was to the Amusement park/planetarium of Särkänniemi in Tampere. There we were watching a show about all kinds of violent events in the Universe! Another excursion after the meeting was organized to the observatory of Ursa of Tampere in Kauppi district, Tampere. The observatory is located on the top of the water tower of Tampere. The horizon is pretty much open in there, but the lights of Tampere city are causing quite nasty light pollution problem.

Weather during the meeting was quite variable: it was raining during every day of the meeting, but still we were able to do all kinds of observations, mostly of atmospheric phenomenae like halos, rainbows and noctilucent clouds.

During this meeting also a photography contest was organized! I also participated in the contest with two photos, but they weren’t very succesfull this time. The quality of the contest was really exceptional!

There was also one a bit sad thing in the programme: one of our colleagues, Marja Wallin has passed away after long struggle with cancer in June this year. At the moment of her death, she was only 38! Absolutely too young to pass away! During the meeting we having some time remembering her and her activities and contributions to the community of Finnish amateur astronomers. Marja was so happy and strong person also in the middle of the struggles, and she participated to the hobby activities until the very end! Rest in peace Marja, we will be missing you!

The amount of participants was about 130, which has been quite typical number during past years! I think the event was mostly very succesfull, and I had really good time there with my astronomy friends and colleagues!

Photos from the event:


Photos: Juha Ojanperä

New Horizons meets Pluto!

Usually I post here only about my own personal observations and only share my own photos and sketches, but this time I’ll make an exception. And the reason for exception is of course the New Horizons close encounter with Pluto! One reason for me posting this image is, that because Pluto is now in Saggitarius, it is practically not observable for me here in Finland. It is too faint, at too low altitude and it’s never above horizon when it’s properly dark. So there won’t be many chances for me to actually see Pluto with my own eyes.

I, just like most of the ones who have been interested in astronomy since their childhood (when Pluto was still known as the ninth planet), have always been wondering, what does Pluto actually look like?

And now we finally have the answer to that question!

And here it is, the largest object in the Kuiper Belt, Outer Solar System, Dwarf Planet Pluto!

Dwarf planet Pluto imaged by New Horizons probe. Credit: NASA.
Dwarf planet Pluto imaged by New Horizons probe. Credit: NASA.