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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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:

Deep sky -meeting 6.-8.9.2013

DS-meeting_2013
Group photo of the Deep sky -meeting 2013 (not all participants present). Photo: Juha Ojanperä

The deep sky -observers of Finland gathered again to the annual Deep sky -meeting to the Tähtikallio Observatory, Artjärvi. The meeting was organized in early September, in the weekend 6.-8.9.2013. The total number of participants was about 30. During the meeting, we heard many interesting lectures about different topics, for example Veikko Mäkelä gave a presentation about the revision project of the Messier objects -observing guide book.

We were blessed with clear skies during both nights of the event, and all of the telescopes of Tähtikallio Observatory were in active use during the whole event! Besides the fixed telescopes of the observatory, also a transportable 25” (63 cm) Obsession telescope was there on the event site, and at least Iiro Sairanen was making some observing with it. Both visual- and photographic observations were made. For example, I observed following objects with the gigantic 36” Astrofox telescope of Tähtikallio observatory: IC 1296, Parsamian 21, Abell 4 and NGC 4319 & Markarian 205.

Observations:

First night: 6.-7.9.2013

During the first night of the event, we were observing visually together with Riku Henriksson and Marko Tuhkunen with the 36” Astrofox -telescope.

IC 1296

juoja_ic_1296

IC 1296 is a small and faint spiral galaxy only 4′ NW of Messier 57, and it is overlooked by many. This galaxy appears as an elongated, fuzzy nebula with almost stellar core. The long axis of this galaxy is oriented in SW-NE -direction, so this galaxy is oriented in similar way than Messier 57. With averted vision, it is possible to see hints of spiral structure in the NW and SE sides of the galaxy.

Parsamian 21

juoja_parsamian_21-4

Parsamian 21 is a small reflection nebula in the constellation of Aquila. There aren’t many visual observations of this object in the whole world yet, and with Riku Henriksson, we propably made the first visual observations of this object in Europe, or even the whole world!

This small reflection nebula was relatively easy to see visually with this instrument. The object has a really comet-like appearance! The nebula has a tail pointing northwards roughly to position angle 360°. The star lighting-up this nebula is embedded within the ‘head’ of the nebula. The star itself wasn’t visible visually.

Abell 4

juoja_abell_4

Abell 4 is a small planetary nebula in Perseus, only about 40′ east of Messier 34. With OIII -filter, this planetary nebula was visible as a round, featureless disk. With the filter, the nebula was easy to see. The central star wasn’t visible.

Second night: 7.-8.9.2013

During the second night, I was observing visually with Marko Tuhkunen with the Astrofox -telescope. During the first couple of hours of the night, we were giving a star show for a group of visitors, who haven’t ever been observing with a telescope like this! During this star show, we observed for example Messier 57, Messier 51, NGC 7009 and planet Uranus. All the objects we watched were absolutely stunning and awesome when seen through a telescope of this size! The visitors were also happy to see the celestial objects with this unusually large instrument! After the visitors had left, we were doing some group observing with the participants. For example, we viewed galaxy NGC NGC 4319 & quasar Markarian 205 and also many other ‘eye-candy’ objects. NGC 4319 & Markarian 205 was the only object that I could properly observe and sketch.

NGC 4319 & Markarian 205

juoja_ngc_4319 & markarian 205

NGC 4319 is a spiral galaxy in the constellation of Draco, Markarian 205 is a quasar just 1′ south of the galaxy. The distance of the galaxy is about 70 million light years, whereas the quasar is much more further away, the distance of it is about 1 billion light years! NGC 4319 was visible as an oval-shaped nebula with bright, stellar core. The long axis of the galaxy is oriented in NW-SW -direction. The visual size of the galaxy is roughly 2´x1´. In the NW and SE edges of the galaxy, hints of the spiral structure can be seen. The quasar Markarian 205 was visible as a star-like object 1′ south of the core of NGC 4319. The brightness of the quasar is roughly 15 magnitudes.