Observing 23./24.8.2017 in Ulvila Observatory

Date: 23./24.8.2017
Time: 23:00-01:30
Observing site: Ulvila Observatory, Finland
Instrument: C280/2750 mm (11” Catadioptric)

NELM: –
SQM: 20.66
Darkness of the background sky: 3
Seeing: –
Transparency: –
Weather: Clear sky, calm, no Moon, dry air, +12C

During the night between 23rd and 24th of August 2017, I went observing to Ulvila Observatory. During this night, I was able to observe two objects, both planetary nebulas: NGC 6772 and 6804. During the Night I was at the observatory with Jarkko Suominen. He was photographing The Veil Nebula in Cygnus, and during the night I was able to do couple of visual observations during the breaks of his exposures. Besides my visual observations, I was also participating astrophotography activities with Jarkko that night. A report of the Veil nebula photography session can be found in Taivaanvahti observation database by Ursa Astronomical Association (in Finnish).

NGC 6772

My first target for the night was NGC 6772, a planetary nebula in Aquila, located in SW part of the constellation, about 14 degrees SW from Altair. About this object I wrote following notes:

@165x: This planetary nebula appeared as a roundish, and faint nebulous glow with even brightness distribution. No central star or structure visible. OIII enhanced the view, this nebula doesn’t tolerate magnification very well.

170823-24_NGC 6772
NGC 6772 observed with 11” Catadioptric

 

NGC 6804

My second and last object for this short session was NGC 6804, another planetary nebula in Aquila. This nebula is located ~4 degrees W from Altair. About this stellar remnant I wrote as follows:

@280x: This planetary nebula appeared as a rather small, and pretty bright nebulous patch of light. The shape of the nebula is perhaps slightly elongated. Central star became visible with higher magnification. OIII didn’t do much with this object.

170823-24_NGC 6804
NGC 6804 observed with 11” Catadioptric

So, that was my second, this time very short observing session. I was happy anyway, because I was able to see two new planetary nebulas for me, and both of them were really pretty objects!

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Season opening in Saarijärvi, Lavia 21./22.8.2018

Date: 21./22.08.2017
Time: 22:30-02:00
Observing site: Saarijärvi, Lavia, Finland
Instrument: N250/1200 mm (10” Newton)

NELM: 6.6
SQM: 21.03 – 21.24
Darkness of the background sky: 2-3
Seeing: –
Transparency: –
Weather: Clear sky, calm, no Moon, very humid air, +10 – +9C, clouds coming in the end of the session.

Objects observed: NGC 206, 513 and 214.

During the night between 21st and 22nd of August 2017, I was able to start the new observing season! During summer of 2017, I had been looking for a decent dark sky -site in Satakunta- and Varsinais-Suomi regions. I observed, that only decent and dark site in Satakunta is Lavia, in eastern part of the region, in easternmost extreme of Pori municipality. In Lavia, there is a gravel quarry near locality of Saarijärvi. The gravel quarry is decent site for observing, and the skies are relatively dark.

During my first session in season 2017-2018, I was able to observe three objects: NGC 206, 513 and 214. All of these are listed in Herschel catalogue, and more precisely, in Herscehl 400 part II.

During the session, the sky was relatively dark, although proper darkness comes only very late and lasts only for a couple of hours. Nevertheless, I was able to do some observing! Shortness of the night actually was the least of the problems during the night, because the real enemy was humidity of air! The air humidity was so bad, that all moisture condensed onto all optical surfaces, and even my sketching cardboard forms were soaked! This made sketching extremely difficult!

NGC 206

My first target of the night was NGC 206, a star cloud within M31, the famous Andromeda Galaxy. The star cloud is located at the southwestern edge of Andromeda Galaxy, and about 25′ SW from M32. About this object, I wrote following notes:

@ 71x: this star cloud appeared as a clearly visible, hazy, nebulous patch of light. It was best visible with averted vision and sweeping. Extreme humidity was making my cardboard forms very damp, and sketching was very difficult because of this. Because of the conditions, I gave up the idea of sketching the whole galaxy and NGC 206 as a part of it, and only sketched NGC 206 and M32.

NGC 206 observed with 10” Newton

NGC 513

My second object for the night was NGC 513, a very small (in terms of apparent diameter) and distant (distance about 260 million light years) spiral galaxy in southernmost part of Andromeda, very close to Pisces border. The galaxy is very small, it’s apparent dimensions are about 42” x 16”. About this mini-sized galaxy I wrote as follows:

@120x: this galaxy appeared only as a very small and faint, almost stellar smudge of light.

NGC 513 observed with 10” Newton

NGC 214

My third and last object for the night was NGC 214. NGC 214 is another spiral galaxy located in Andromeda. About this galaxy I wrote following notes:

@120x: this galaxy appeared as a clearly visible but small and featureless, nebulous patch of light.

NGC 214 observed with 10” Newton

So that was it, my first observing session in season 2017-2018! I had some difficulties with air humidity, but I was nevertheless able to do some observations despite this problem!

Total Lunar eclipse of 31st of January 2018 was totally obscured by clouds

Observed phenomena: Lunar eclipse
Type of eclipse: Total Lunar eclipse
Type of observation: Negative
Date and time: 31.01.2018, 14:50 UT
Observing place: Ulvila, Finland
Observing conditions: Totally cloudy sky during my whole observing session, 8/8
Observing instruments: Camera: Olympus µ 1030 SW

Total lunar eclipse of 31st of January 2018 was totally obscured by clouds, at least in Ulvila, Western Finland. In the morning of this day, there was still small hope of seeing at least a glimpse of the eclipse, but during the day a weather front approached from the west and the sky was totally clouded out well before the Moon had even risen above horizon. This eclipse was a total eclipse, but only the very last phases of the eclipse would have been visible here in Ulvila, if the sky had been clear enough. So this time no luck. Next lunar eclipse is happening in late July this year, and it’s also going to be a total eclipse. So my thoughts, hopes and expectations are already in the July eclipse!

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Lunar eclipse of 31st of January 2018 was totally obscured by clouds.

Partial Lunar Eclipse 7.8.2017

Observed phenomena: Lunar eclipse
Type of eclipse: Partial Lunar eclipse
Type of observation: Positive
Date and time: 07.08.2017, 18:44-20:22 UT
Observing place: Turku, Finland
Observing conditions: Clear sky (1/8)
Observing instruments: Camera: Canon EOS 1100D, Telescope L80/400mm (3” refractor)

Finally I was lucky with observing a Lunar eclipse! The eclipse of 7th of August 2017 was well visible in Turku, Finland.

Only the last phases of the eclipse were visible. The Moon was below horizon during the early eclipse and during maximum eclipse. Soon after maximum eclipse the Moon rose above horizon also in Turku. The Moon rose as it was partially in the umbra, and it was quite an exotic sight to witness! As the Moon rose higher, it was leaving the umbra. The 4th contact of the eclipse happened around 19.18 UT. The penumbra was still visible until about 19.45 UT.

This was a very enjoyable and memorable event to observe! I’m very glad and thankful that I was able to observe this eclipse!

Here are some photos from the eclipse:

Penumbral Lunar eclipse 10/.11.2.2017 was not visible because of clouds

Observed phenomena: Lunar eclipse
Type of eclipse: Penumbral Lunar eclipse
Type of observation: Negative
Date and time: 10./11.02.207, 22:30-01:00 UT
Observing place: Turku, Finland
Observing conditions: Totally cloudy sky during my whole observing session, 8/8
Observing instruments: Camera: Canon EOS 1100D

I was not able to observe this penumbral Lunar eclipse because of thick and persistent cloudcover that prevented me to see the eclipse. The cloudcover was a bit thinner before the beginning of the eclipse, and I was able to see the Moon through the clouds, but the clouds got thicker before the onset of the eclipse, and it was totally cloudy from the beginning of the eclipse until maximum eclipse, when I gave up observing. And I have a very good reason to assume, that it was cloudy also from the maximum eclipse to the end of the eclipse.

Here is a photo that I took for documenting purposes:

_mg_0311
It was totally cloudy during the maximum eclipse @ ~00:45 UT.

Penumbral Lunar eclipse 16.9.2016

Observed phenomena: Lunar eclipse
Type of eclipse: Penumbral Lunar eclipse
Type of observation: Positive
Date and time: 16.09.2016, 17:24-20:55 UT
Observing place: Turku, Finland
Observing conditions: Clear sky (1/8, only some clouds in southern horizon, but the clouds didn’t cause problems)
Observing instruments: Camera: Canon EOS 1100D, Telescope L80/400mm (3” refractor)

Penumbral Lunar eclipse of 16th of September 2016 was well visible from beginning to end in Turku, Finland. I was observing the event with Linda Laakso in Uittamo district of Turku.

This penumbral eclipse was deeper than the one in October of 2013. During this eclipse, the penumbral magnitude was 0,93 whereas in the eclipse of October 2013 it was only 0,79. The penumbra was obvious in photographs, and it was also weakly visible visually. Visually it became visible around 18 UT, about hour before maximum eclipse.

The penumbra was visible also through the finder of my camera (that was attached to my telescope), and through the finderscoope of the telescope and small binoculars. I also noted, that the penumbra was easier to observe through window glass, when the lights were on in the room. By doing this, window glass acted as a lunar filter and it helped to reduce the bright glare of the full Moon and to enhance contrast. In the photographs, the penumbra become also visible around 18 UT.

When photographing this event, I took the photos with exposure time of 1/160s (with ISO 100). I noticed, that most of the photos were overexposed, at least for the lower limb of the Moon. Nevertheless, I was able to enhance the contrast of the photos with Paint Shop Pro, and by doing so, to make the photos better. From this I got a reminder of the importance of using different exposure times when photographing the Moon or Lunar eclipses. It is possible then choose the best photos later.

But anyway, I’m happy and thankful for being able to witness this celestial event! The next event in the sky of Finland is in 11th of February 2017, and it’s going to be similar penumbral eclipse like this one.

Below you can see my photos from this penumbral eclipse:

_mg_0283
Maximum eclipse @ 18:54 UT
160916_kuunpimennys
A serie of photos demonstrating the progress of the eclipse. In the last photo, there were some Sc clouds in the sky partially obsuring the Moon, the clouds are visible as a darkening in the lower limb of the Moon.

Transit of Mercury 9.5.2016

  • Observed phenomena: Transit of Mercury
  • Type of observation: Positive
  • Date and time: 9.5.2016; 11:12-18:41 UT
  • Observing place: Turku, Finland
  • Observing method: Photography
  • Technical information about photographing equipment: Camera: Canon EOS 1100D, telescope: refractor 4”/f9.8 (L102/1000mm), AstroSolar-filter
  • Observing conditions: Clear sky (0/8) 100% of time

I was observing transit of Mercury in Turku, Finland where I had established a pop-up transit of Mercury observing station! This time weather was favourable and I was able to observe this celestial event from the beginning (almost) to the end, and the sky was totally clear during the whole event! The sky of Turku has let me down many times, but not this time! At least I got some compensation after the unlucky observing attempt of transit of Venus in 2012 when clouds ruined the whole event.

The transit started at 11:12 UT when a small hole appeared in the side of the Sun. Soon whole Mercury drifted to the front of the disk of the Sun. During the transit, Mercury passed a group of sunspots. I observed the whole transit as long as I could. I wasn’t though able to observe the 3rd and 4th contacts because Sun was setting behind the trees and because Mercury has disappeared within the layers of mirage -distorted Sun in the very end.

During the day, many people passed by me, and I showed the transit for all that were interested in taking a look at it. During the day, abour 20 to 30 people were able to see the transit!

This was fantastic experience, and I’m so glad and grateful that I was able to witness this rare celestial event!

Below you can have a look at some of my photos of the transit: