Thought about Winter 2016

I’m going to be observing in these landscapes of Teide National Park, Tenerife again in April 2016.

This winter has been excessively busy and hectic time. I have been working in my current job since April 2015, actually I have been working with my father in his steel trading company – the idea is that as my father is retiring during 2016, I’ll be continue running the business. It’s a great challenge, as I don’t have any education or experience from steel industry or anykind of commercial work. But I see many opportunities ahead of me too, and that’s why I’m now on this road!

And there has been also other things going on in the context of my new dayjob. Because I don’t yet have necessary economical and commercial skills to run a business succesfully, I’m attending to a enterprenourship -course in one of the vocotional schools in Satakunta -region. This course is luckily not very time consuming, but there are teaching days onece in a month and besides this, also some homework.

Besides working with my father and studying, I have also been teaching elementary astronomy in Harjavalta community college. It has been a very laborous and time-consuming project to do as a side-project with my dayjob – but it has been very rewarding too! There has been nearly 20 participants on that course, and so far I have been getting good response from the participants! The course itself is pretty much over, there is only one more meeting in the context of the course, and it will be thursday next week, then we are going to Ulvila observatory, and I’ll be presenting the observatory for the students, and also showing some astronomical objects if weather permits.

In astronomy there are also some things going on besides the course. I have been an active member of my local astronomy club Porin Karhunvartijat since ~1998, and I have also been in the council of the association almost continuously since 2002. During all this (and longer, Kari has been president about ~25 years) time the president of our association has been Kari Laihia, who is now retiring from the “office” of the president. We have made agreement that I will be continuing as the president of the association starting from the beginning of 2016. Also the members of the club supported this arrangement in the autumn meeting of the association in november 2015. So now I’m the president of the association, and I’m actually the 4th president of the history of the association. This means some responsibilities ans work to do.

Besides being now also the president of our local astronomy club, I’m also the chief editor of Zeniitti -amateur astronomy magazine of Ursa astronomical association. It is a new publication started in early 2014. I’m doing it with assistant editor, but because it is a new publication, and it has not yet stabilized it’s position among the publications in it’s field, there is lots of work to do and many challenges. The work is also quite time-consuming, and laborous..

And that wasn’t yet all of it. Beause of all this hustle, I’m now forced to narrow down my astronomical pursuits even more. This means, that I have to focus even more, and I have made the hard and difficult decision to focus only and solely in visual deep sky observing, which means that I have to quit (visual) variable star observing altogether – at least for now. The only exceptions will be rare and exceptional atmospheric phenomena, eclipses and transits which I will be observing and reporting. I’m don’t like to do this decision, but because of my limited time I have to do this now. But on the other hand, I can now use all of my time available efficiently in the most important thing in astronomy for me – visual deep sky observing. And regarding visual deepsky observing, I’m going to do one more trip to Canary islands to do some visual observing of the southern objects! I’m travelling to Tenerife, Canary islands in april 2016, less than a month from this moment! I’m already looking forward to it!

And then one more thing: as I have decided to narrow down my focus in astronomy almost solely to visual deep sky observing, I also decided to upgrade my observing instruments little bit: I have now purchased some Baader Hyperion oculars – the oculars I purchased are 24 mm, 17 mm and 10 mm. The 24 mm ocular has already arrived, I bought it second hand from another Finnish amateur. The 17 mm and 10 mm oculars are on their way from Germany to Finland, I bought them from German telescope equipment seller Telescope Service.

And finally I have arrived to the end of writing this blog post! This observing season is soon over, there will be still the rest of the March and the full April left before the next mandatory summer break from observing. Now I have observed 63 deep sky objects visually during this season, and I anticipate that I can achieve 100 observations during this season! My goal is to achieve 1000 visual deep sky observations within five years from now (I currently have 450 observations in the Finnish Deep Sky Archive), and in terms of this season it looks very good now! It is possible for me to achieve 100 observations in this season in the Canary trip only, if conditions are good enough and everything goes as planned (or even better than that).

I’ll be post reports from my Canary islands -trip as soon as I have time to write, so keep on watching the blog for more posts,

clear skies to you all,







Grande finale

So this is it for now! Last night was the grande finale of the wilderness guide course that I have been taking in Kuusamo, Finland. The course that I have participated in is giving me a so-called competence based qualification for the work as a guide. The course is a vocational course, and there is no written final examination like for example in universities. Instead of written examination, there is a practical examination. You are showing your skills in real work situation. The person responsible for evaluating your performance in the examination will be present in the examination situation. The person responsible for the evaluation has also the authority to grant the qualification when the student has passed the examination.

The course that I have participated in, has two months of training in real work places. First month of training was in September and another was now in January-February. I was doing the both training periods in a place called Basecamp Oulanka, which is a hotel-, restaurant- and activity center in Kuusamo. During my winter training perios, I have been able to plan and execute my own product at Basecamp. My product is an night time snowshoeing trip in forest and on the lake ice. During the trip, the participants get a chance to experience the natural darkness and silence, and if weather permits, also the starry night sky and northern lights!

In my examination, I was participating in the night time snowshoeing trip as an assistant guide last night. There was the pricipal guide, me and the evaluator and also 13 clients with us! We were very lucky last night, the sky was clear enought that we could see quite a lot of stars and also some northern lights! And after the trip, there was the evaluation session. I was quite satisfied of the feedback, and I was mostly getting the best grades in evaluation! So I think I have been performing very well! Of course there is always something where you can improve your performance, but so far I’m quite happy with the results! But the course is not over yet, we are still going to be making a cross-country skiing trip with the students and then the last day of the course will be 13th of March, when we are going to get the certificates for passing the course and the examination!

From now on, I’m going to be building up my own northern lights guiding business. At the beginning, it is most likely going to be a part-time thing, which I’m going to do working in my day job. What I’m going to do as my day job is still a little bit unclear, but I’ sure that I will know more about that later in the spring.

Here is a photo from last nights trip:

The clients, starry sky and northern lights in Kuusamo, Finland 13./14.2.2015
The clients, starry sky and northern lights in Kuusamo, Finland 13./14.2.2015