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:

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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

Meeting of Finnish atmospheric optics -enthusiasts

The Finnish atmospheric optics -enthusiasts gathered to the traditional annual meeting in the weekend between 5th and 7th of June 2015. The meeting was organized at The Tähtikallio observatory center of Ursa astronomical association in Artjärvi, Southern Finland.

The meeting was organized in very relaxed manner, and the programme was flexible. All the presentations were organized in saturday. During the meeting, following presentations were given:

  • An overview to the Halo April 2015 -observing campaign (Juha Ojanperä)
  • About observing and distinguishing different kinds of crepescular rays (Veikko Mäkelä)
  • About the new version of HaloStack -stacking program (Panu Lahtinen)
  • About the new kind of co-operation programme between Finnish meteorological institute and stormchasers of Finland and about the space weather monitoring in FMI (Matias Takala)
  • Taivaanvahti (observation database of Ursa a.a.) update (Emma Herranen)
  • About the 3rd and 4th order rainbow observations in Finland (Juha Ojanperä, Linda Laakso)

This year the programme of the meeting was including also storms and stormchasing and also spaceweather and aurorae and not just atmospheric optics.

The amount of participants was 14, 4 people cancelled their participation. The number of participants this year was 5 less than year ago.

During the meeting, we were also able to observe all kinds of atmospheric optical phenomena like pollen coronae and noctilucent clouds.

Photos from the meeting:

Photos: Juha Ojanperä

The 40th anniversary of Porin Karhunvartijat

Porin Karhunvartijat is a local astronomy club in city of Pori in western coast of Finland. Porin Karhunvartijat have an observatory and club house in the top of water tower of Ulvila, a small town 10 kilometres southwest of Pori. Porin Karhunvartijat was my local amateur astronomy club when I was a kid in late 90’s and early 00’s. Back then, I was living in Ulvila with my parents, and the activities of Porin Karhunvartijat were very well accessible for me. And that’s why I grew up with other amateur astronomers in Porin Karhunvartijat. Porin Karhunvartijat was my home amateur astronomy club, and I’m still member of the club, although I’m currently residing in the other extreme of Finland (Kuusamo, northeastern Finland). And although I’m living here in northeastern edge of Finland, far from Pori, I’m still trying to participate in the activities of Porin Karhunvartijat of Pori as much as I can.

Porin Karhunvartijat was established in 1974, and this year is the 40th anniversary of Porin Karhunvartijat. I have been member of Porin Karhunvartijat since 1998, and this year is my 16th year of membership in Porin Karhunvartijat.

We were celebrating the 40th anniversary of Porin Karhunvartijat with having a sauna party in Ulvila in 29th of November 2014. There was 8 members of our club participating that night. Besides having sauna, we were sharing memories and watching photos from the course of the 40 -year journey of our club.

A new year is beginning soon, and I hope that there will be still many more years of activity for Porin Karhunvartijat in the future!

Here are some photos from the event:

Photos: Juha Ojanperä

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:

Cygnus -summer meeting of Finnish amateur astronomers was organized in Mäntsälä 17.-20.7.2014

The traditional Cygnus -summer meeting of Finnish amateur astronomers was organized in Mäntsälä, Southern Finland. The event place was a camping site of the local Parish, called Leiriniemi. The place is located in the shores of a small lake called Keravanjärvi. The number of participants was about 120, which has been quite typical number during recent years.

The programme of the event consisted of lectures and workshops. Also a museum visit to home site museum of A.E. Nordenskiöld was included in programme. A.E. Nordenskiöld was an explorer, cartographer, mineralogist and geologist born and raised in Finland. Nordenskiöld was the first man to navigate through the Northeast passage. One of the most anticipated lectures was the 3rd part of the lecture series about the Moon race during the Cold war given by Hannu Määttänen. Other popular and interesting lectures were the lecture given by Arto Oksanen about the spectropolarimetry -observations of T Pyx in VLT, Chile and the lecture given by FMI researcher Harri Haukka about the Rosetta -comet exploration mission. Outside the formal programme, we were having sauna and having some good time with other fellow amateur astronomers and friends. The event ended in the excursion to Tähtikallio observatory in Artjärvi, only 60km from the event site.

Weather during the event was mostly warm and sunny, except few isolated showers. We also were able to observe some thunderstorms during the event. Noctilucent clouds were observed only during the first night of the event.

More photos here.

Atmospheric optics meeting 2014 was successful well beyond expectations

Finnish atmospheric optics -enhusiasts gathered to Tähtikallio observatory center in Artjärvi, Southern Finland between 6th and 8th of June. The numer of participants was 19, which is 4 more than last year and 6 more than two years ago! Some of the participants came from as far as Oulu, which is a city 500 km away from the Tähtikallio observatory center! Also surprisingly many new participants had arrived to the event, which is a fact I’m very delighted to state!

The programme of the meeting was very flexible. We started when all the participants had arrived to the site in saturday afternoon. The meeting started with my review of the Halo April 2014 -observing campaign. After that, Marko Mikkilä from Nivala talked about his recent halo discovery, 32° arc. Besides this, he also showed his amazing pictures of the mega-scale halo display of 14th of May 2014. After the presentations given by Marko Mikkilä, another Marko, Marko Pekkola talked about current issues of the Taivaanvahti -observation database of Ursa astronomical association. After this short session, Veikko Mäkelä held a workshop -like session about observing noctilucent clouds. The grand finale of the meeting was again the great photo show, where participants could show their best photos of atmospherical phenomena from recent year.

Besides the formal programme, we also had sauna and barbequed some sausages at the campfire in the evening. We also tried to observe noctilucent clouds, but we didn’t see any. Weather was fine during the event, there were though some random showers and we heard thunder rumbling once.

Here are some photos from the event:

All photos © Juha Ojanperä.