Observing site: Saarijärvi, Lavia, Finland
Instrument: N250/1200 mm (10” Newton)
SQM: 21.03 – 21.24
Darkness of the background sky: 2-3
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!