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

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.

Tähtipäivät 2014 was organized in Inari, Finland

The traditional popular astronomy event, Tähtipäivät (literally: Star days), was organized in village of Inari, Northern Finland in 21.-22. of March 2014. The event was organized by Ursa astronomical association (the national astronomical association of Finland) together with a local astronomy club Ochejohka Ursa. The theme of this event was Nieida käreg in Sami language or Neitokäräjät in Finnish. Nieida käreg means The Pleiades, which is the famous star cluster in the constellation of Taurus.

The venue site was called Sajos, which is a recently build conference center in village of Inari. The building is also the parliament house of the Sami parliament, which is the parliament of the Sami people, the indigenous people of Northern Scandinavia.

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Sajos -building, the venue site

One of the main goals of Tähtipäivät events is to popularize astronomy and promote hobby of amateur astronomy. Thus, the programme of this event consisted of popularized lectures given by both professional- and amateur astronomers. Besides the scientific part of programme, also lots of artistic performances were included in the programme, especially in the evenings of the event. The participants were able to enjoy musical and theatrical performances! Also the nature itself organized it’s own performance: a nice display of Northern lights or aurora borealis was observed during the first night of the event!

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Astronomer Esko Valtaoja giving lecture

The traditional Stella Arcti -awards were also granted during the second evening the event. Stella Arcti is an award granted by Ursa astronomical association as a recognition of important discovery made by amateur astronomer(s) or as a recognition of significant achievements within the field of amateur astronomy.

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Panel discussion of saturday evening

This year the award was granted to Antti Henriksson for his discovery of a new halo form, sun pillar’s circumzenithal arc or Henriksson’s arc. Henriksson made his discovery in Kittilä, Finland 18th of October, 2013. Stella Arcti -recognition of honor -awards were granted for Marko Mikkilä for his discovery of another new halo form, 32° arc, in Nivala, Finland 8th of July 2013. Stella Arcti -recognition of honor -award was granted also to a group of observers (Esko Lyytinen, Markku Nissinen and Harry Lehto) for their discovery of a convergence phenomena of the debris tail of comet 17P/Holmes. Marko Mikkilä, Markku Nissinen and Esko Lyytinen had already got the proper Stella Arcti -award for their earlier important discoveries.

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Stella Arcti -award ceremony of saturday evening

In my opinion, the Tähtipäivät 2014 -event was a memorable and very succesfull! The event reached many people and visitors had came all over the Finland! At least more than hundred people visited the event during the weekend! It was fun to participate the event, and I’m sure that I will travel to Inari and other places in Northern Finland again in (hopefully not so far) future!