Lunar eclipse 27./28.9.2015 was (almost) totally obscured by clouds

Observed phenomena: Lunar eclipse
Type of eclipse: Total Lunar eclipse
Type of observation: (Almost 100%) Negative
Date and time: 27./28.9.2015, 03:00-06:30
Observing place: Turku, Finland
Observing conditions: 99% of time overcast

Unfortunately the total Lunar Eclipse in the morning of 28th of September wasn’t visible on my observing site in Turku, Finland. The sky was almost totally overcast during the course of the eclipse. Only in the time of first contact, there was gaps in the clouds and I was able to see that the eclipse has started. I was able to see some darkening in the upper left limb of the Moon. Soon after that, I was totally clouded out and I wasn’t able to see even a glimpse of the eclipse.

I have had extremely bad luck with observing total Lunar Eclipses during past few years. Last total eclipse that I have been able to observe was in 2007. The next opportunity for observing total Lunar Eclipse is in 2018. It is going to be a long waiting until then..

03:00 Stratocumulus 7/8, some gaps in clouds, Moon visible through the gaps, eclipse hasn’t yet started

03:15-04:00 Stratocumulus 8/8, Moon not visible at all

04:00-04:20 Stratocumulus 7/8, Moon visible through the gaps in clouds, the shadow of the Earth visible as slight darkening in the upper left limb of the Moon, first contact.

04:20-06:30 Stratocumulus 8/8, Moon not visible at all

The total Lunar Eclipse of 27/28.9.2015 was obsuced by clouds in Turku, Finland. Photo at 02:52UT during the total eclipse.
The total Lunar Eclipse of 27/28.9.2015 was obscured by clouds in Turku, Finland. Photo at 05:52 Finnish time during the total eclipse.
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Observing during The Finnish Deep Sky Meeting, part 2

Date: 12./13.9.2014
Time: 23:00-04:30
Observing site: Tähtikallio observatory, Finland
Instrument: N910/3680mm (35” Astrofox), N250/1200mm

NELM: 6.4
SQM: 21.20
Darkness of the background sky: 2
Seeing: 2
Transparency: 2
Weather: Clear sky, calm, warm

Objects observed: NGC 7092, NGC 637 and NGC 7160

During the second night of the Finnish Deep Sky Meeting 2015 observing conditions were even better than during the first night. The objects I observed were NGC 7092, NGC 637 and NGC 7160. Besides this, I also tried to observe planetary nebula Pease 1 within Messier 15 and a quasar in the constellation of Draco but without success. For next time, I will prepare better maps of these objects for myself.

NGC 7094

NGC 7094 is a faint planetary nebula in the constellation of Pegasus, very close to Messier 15.

Here are my notes of my observation:

@ 216x: very faint nebula, ring structure easy and obvious. Central star very bright. There is a brightening in the western edge of the nebula. Best seen with averted vision. The object was not seen without O III -filter.

NGC 7094 observed with 36'' Newton.
NGC 7094 observed with 36” Newton.

NGC 637

NGC 637 is a small open cluster in the constellation of Cassiopeia.

Here are my notes of my observation:

@ 160x: a small, compact and poor cluster. Pretty large brightness range, mostly faint stars though. Visual size roughly 4’x5′.

NGC 637 observed with 10'' Newton.
NGC 637 observed with 10” Newton.

NGC 7160

NGC 7160 is a small open cluster in the constellation of Cepheus.

Here are my notes of my observation:

@160x: a small open cluster. The brightest stars are concentrated in an elongated strip of stars in NE-SW orientation. Pretty concentrated, moderate brightness range.

NGC 7160 observed with 10'' Newton.
NGC 7160 observed with 10” Newton.

Observing during The Finnish Deep Sky Meeting, part 1

Date: 11./12.9.2014
Time: 23:00-03:30
Observing site: Tähtikallio observatory, Finland
Instrument: N910/3680mm (35” Astrofox)

NELM: 6.2
SQM: 21.10
Darkness of the background sky: 2
Seeing: 2
Transparency: 2
Weather: Clear sky, calm, warm

Objects observed: Abell 72, NGC 6742 (Abell 50)

Weather was favourable during the Finnish Deep Sky Meeting 2015 and I was able to do some visual observing with the 36” Astrofox of Tähtikallio Observatory Center. Observing conditions were good in terms of Tähtikallio. NELM was about 6.2 and SQM 21.07. There was some slight haze in the sky during the night. During the first night I observed Abell 72 and NGC 6742 (Abell 50).

Abell 72

Abell 72 is a very faint planetary nebula in the constellation of Delphinus. I was observing this object together with Riku Henriksson.

Here are my notes of the observation:

@87x: extremely faint and diffuse nebula. The northern edge of the nebula was the easiest and most obvious part of the nebula. Other parts of the nebula were visible occasionally with averted vision. It is difficult to see the actual shape or orientation of the nebula. OIII is a must with this nebula, it was not at all visible without the filter. Very challenging! Problems with collimation of the instruments, stars not sharp points.

Abell 72 observed with 36'' Newton.
Abell 72 observed with 36” Newton.

NGC 6742 (Abell 50)

NGC 6742, aka Abell 50 is a small planetary nebula in the constellation of Draco, just under the right “wing ” of Cygnus.

Here are my notes of the observation:

@216x: Slightly oval -shaped nebula with long axis in NE – SW orientation. Small and bright. Somekind of ring structure weakly visible with averted vision. Easily seen also without OIII filter, the filter didn’t improve the wiev much. Easy one! Problems with collimation of the instruments, stars not sharp points.

NGC 6742 (Abell 50) observed with 36'' Newton.
NGC 6742 (Abell 50) observed with 36” Newton.

Finnish Deep Sky -meeting 2015

The annual Finnish Deep Sky -meeting was organized this year between 11th and 13th of September at Tähtikallio Observatory Center in village of Artjärvi, Southern Finland. Amount of participants was about 30 persons including one-day visitors. This time only one woman was participating the event. Most of the observing participants were astrophotographers, only 3 sketching visual observers attended the event.

The formal program of the meeting was organized during Saturday 12th of September. The program was quite traditional: the program consisted of observation review from previous observing season, Ursa A.A. Deep Sky -section meeting and the traditional Deep Sky Quiz! Besides this, Toni Veikkolainen was talking about areas of ionized hydrogen within Milky Way and I was giving some observing tips and object suggestions for the 36” Astrofox of Tähtikallio. We were also remembering Juhani Salmi, a prestigeous amateur astronomer who recently passed away in age of 81.

Weather was very favourable for observing during the meeting and we were able to do observing during both nights of the event! This year the 36” Astrofox was in operation, and I with few other people were making visual observing with the telescope. Some of the objects observed were for example: Abell 72, Abell 50 and NGC 7094. The only problem was poor collimation with Astrofox. Because of this, stars were not exactly sharp, but it didn’t stop us observing!

Observing conditions were pretty good in terms of Artjärvi during the meeting. During first night NELM was 6,2 and SQM 21,07 according to my measurements. During the second night conditions were even better: NELM was 6,2 and SQM 21,20.

Group photo of the Finnish Deep Sky Meeting 2015. Photo: Juha Ojanperä.
Group photo of the Finnish Deep Sky Meeting 2015. Photo: Juha Ojanperä.

My observations during the meeting:

Observing 21./22.8.2015

Date: 21./22.8.2015
Time: 00:00-03:30
Observing site: Stormälö, Parainen, Finland
Instrument: N250/1200 mm (10” refractor)

NELM: 6.4
SQM: 21.08
Darkness of the background sky: 2
Seeing: 2
Transparency: 1
Weather: Clear sky, calm

Objects observed: IC 5146, NGC 278, NGC 381, NGC 7606, 7723 and 7727

The exceptionally clear weather was still prevailing after my last observing session. This time I drove again to my dark sky -observing site in Parainen, Finland. This session was darkest during this season so far! NELM was as good as 6.4 and SQM was better than 21!

The only small nuisance during the session was again the insect collector with his light trap, but luckily it wasn’t really interfering my observing attempts.

As I previously wrote, I have decided to focus my energy and time mostly into visual deep sky (and variable star) observing because visual observing has always been perhaps the most important aspect of amateur astronomy to me and partly because numbers of visual observations have been declining, and because I want to help to keep the tradition of visual astronomical observing alive!

Within the field of visual deep sky observing I have started a new project: Herschel 400! I haven’t yet completed my previous projects, but I’m sure there is room for a new project because the earlier projects (Messier, Caldwell and hidden treasures) are nearly completed – only objects not observable from Finland and couple of other objects are still to be observed. During this observing session I observed some objects contained in the Herschel 400 -catalogue.

Here are my notes from this observing session:

IC 5146

First object for me tonight was IC 5146, a very faint and challenging open cluster+emission/reflection nebula combination. The object is also known as Cocoon nebula. there is also dark nebula Barnard 168 associated with this object. I had tried to observe this also earlier (17./18.8.2015) but without success. This time I tried observing this object again!

Here are my notes about this object:

@ 38x: Extremely faint nebulosity is weakly visible around the stars BD +46 3475 and BD +46 3474. The nebula is homogenous and diffuse, apparent size of the nebula is a bit less than 10′. Best with averted vision and sweeping. LPR (light pollution reducer) filter seems to work best with this object. Dark nebula Barnard 168 is visible as a dark, empty lane extending westwards from IC 5146. The darkest area of the dark nebula is outside of the field. This is very challenging object, needs really dark skies, the dark nebula instead is pretty easy.

IC 5146 observed with 10'' Newton.
IC 5146 observed with 10” Newton.

NGC 381

NGC 381 is a small open cluster in Cassiopeia, just ~1,5 degrees NE from Gamma Cas.

Here are my notes about this object:

@80x: a small, faint-starred, compact and well concentrated, pretty rich open cluster.

NGC 381 observed with 10'' refractor.
NGC 381 observed with 10” Newton.

NGC 278

NGC 278 is a small galaxy of type SBb located in southern part of Cassiopeia, near Andromeda border. Also two dwarf elliptic companions of Messier 31, NGC 147 and 185 are located near by.

Here are my notes of this object:

@160x: the object appears as a small, faint, round nebulous patch with a weak brightening in the center of the object.

NGC 278 observed with 10'' Newton.
NGC 278 observed with 10” Newton.

NGC 7606

NGC 7606 is a small galaxy of type Sb-c in constellation of Aquarius.

Here are my notes of this object:

@80x: a small, faint, oval-shaped nebulous patch, long axis in NW-SE orientation. A very weak brightening seems to be observable in the center of the object.

NGC 7606 observed with 10'' Newton.
NGC 7606 observed with 10” Newton.

NGC 7727

NGC 7727 is a small galaxy of type SB/aP in constellation of Aquarius.

Here are my notes of this object:

@80x: a small, faint, round, nebulous patch, the brightness of the object gradually increases towards the center.

NGC 7727 observed with 10'' Newton.
NGC 7727 observed with 10” Newton.

NGC 7723

NGC 7723 is a small galaxy of type SBb in constellation of Aquarius.

Here are my notes of the object:

@80x: a small, faint, homogenous nebulous patch, weakly elongated, long axis approximately in SW-NE orientation.

NGC 7723 observed with 10'' Newton.
NGC 7723 observed with 10” Newton.

Focus, focus, focus

During past four or five years my interest in within astronomy and related fields have spread out enormously! I have been observing deep sky, variable stars, atmospheric phenomea, satellites, Sun, Moon, Planets, comets, meteors etc. This has been fun, but also quite energy and time consuming. I am now in a new situation in my life, and I have started in a new job. This job won’t let me stay up as much as I would want to, and it means that I have less time available. And besides this, I also have many other projects going on and all kinds of things in life which are demanding my time and energy.

Because of this situation, I have decided to narrow down my observing program and to focus mainly to visual observing of variable stars and deep sky. Especially visual deep sky observing has always been a very important aspect of my amateur astronomy hobby, and perhaps I could say, that it is the core interest and activity for me within amateur astronomy! Variable star observing is also very interesting and also scientifically useful! It is also very fascinating and motivating to observe these objects because I know, that it has some real use for science!

Also one thing that helped me to do this difficult decision was the fact, that numbers of visual observation in variable stars and deep sky are declining. I have always been a visual observer, and I decided that mayby I should try everything I can to continue the long tradition of visual astronomical observing! I decided, that even if everyone else jumps into the pretty pictures -wagon or just quits visual observing for whatever reason, I will still carry on visual observing as long as I can!

It means that from now on I won’t observe atmospheric phenomena or solar system etc as much as until now. I will be focusing my energy and effort into variable star and deep sky observing!

So let there be some graphite on paper!

Open cluster NGC 457 in the constellation of Cassiopeia - one of my favourite deep sky objects!
Open cluster NGC 457 in the constellation of Cassiopeia – one of my favourite deep sky objects!