Observing on Mt. Teide, 4./5.4.2016

Date: 4./5.4.2016
Time: 21:45-03:00 (local time)
Observing site: El Retamar (2100m), Teide N.P., Tenerife, Spain
Instrument: L80/400mm (3” refractor)

NELM: 6.6
SQM: 21.22-21.45
Darkness of the background sky: 1
Seeing: 2
Transparency: 1
Weather: Clear sky, calm/light wind, +8 – +4 C

Objects observed: Messier 68, 83, NGC 1851, 2477, 3132, 3201, 5128, 5139, 4945, 5286, 4755, 5694 and IC 2391

During my first observing night of my 2nd Tenerife observing trip, I was able to observe in really good conditions and calm weather on Mt. Teide! I also had very productive observing session that night, I made 13 observations in total!

So this time it was mostly calm, and temperature was comfortably 8 to 4 C -degrees above zero! This time I had decided that I won’t drive further to the caldera, because the conditions don’t seem to differ much when compared with the outer parts of the caldera. During this 2nd observing trip, I stayed every night at my El Retamar observing site just outside the actual caldera in the SW side of the caldera, just at the border of the national park. That place was closest good observing spot for me from my hotel. In this place I had a zero horizon to south and car headlights were disturbing as little as possible.

NGC 1851

I started my night by observing NGC 1851, which is a globular cluster in Columba. The cluster is located in SW corner of the constellation, 5 degrees SW from epsilon Columbae. When I was observing this globular cluster, it was already setting and it was at very low altitude in western horizon. Of this object, I wrote following notes:

A small, pretty bright globular cluster, the cluster gets clearly brighter towards the core, the cluster is not resolved into stars.

160404-05_NGC 1851
NGC 1851 observed with 3” refractor.

NGC 2477

My next stop was NGC 2477, an open cluster in Puppis. This cluster is located 2,5 degrees from zeta Puppis to NW. This is very rich and concentrated cluster, but with my modest instrument, it appeared quite modest. Of this object, I wrote following notes:

A rather small, compact and pretty faint open cluster, the cluster is well detached and concentrated towards the center. The cluster appears to be rich, the cluster is mostly visible as a starglow.

160404-05_NGC 2477
NGC 2477 observed with 3” refractor.

IC 2391

From Puppis I continued my journey to the neighbouring constellation known as Vela. In this constellation, my first object was IC 2391, also known as Omicron Velorum cluster. This is a large and scattered cluster concentrated around star omicron Velorum. It is located less than two degrees NW from delta Velorum. My notes from this observation are as follows:

Large, beautiful and bright-starred cluster, moderately rich, well detached, not very concentrated.

160404-05_IC 2391
IC 2391 observed with 3” refractor.

NGC 3132

My next object is also an object in Vela, this time not an open cluster but a planetary nebula. NGC 3132 is a large and bright planetary nebula in northernmost part of Vela, just at the Vela-Antlia border. This object is also known as Eight Burst Nebula or Southern Ring Nebula. Because I didn’t have powerful enough instrument, I wasn’t able to see any fine structure or details in this object. But anyway, my notes are as follows:

A planetary nebula, that appears to be a rather large one, because I was able to see it non-stellar with this small aperture instrument. The nebula was visible as a small, non-stellar bright disk.

160404-05_NGC 3132
NGC 3132 observed with 3” refractor.

NGC 3201

Before leaving Vela for now, I had one more object in this constellation to observe! This object was NGC 3201, a globular cluster in eastern part of the constellation. This object is located 6 degrees NW from mu Velorum. Of this object, I wrote following notes:

Large, bright globular cluster, not resolved, gets slightly brighter towards the core.

160404-05_NGC 3201
NGC 3201 observed with 3” refractor.

Messier 68

My next object is the 2nd las Messier object, that I still hadn’t observed before this trip. This object was Messier 68 in southern part of the constellation of Hydra. This globular cluster is located below the constellation of Corvus, 3,5 degrees SE fom beta Corvi. Of this object, I wrote following notes:

Large and bright globular cluster, not resolved, brightens towards the core.

160404-05_Messier 68
Messier 68 observed with 3” refractor.

Messier 83

After having observed Messier 68, I still had one more Messier object to be observed, and then I would have finished observing Messier catalogue! That very last missing Messier object for me was Messier 83 in southernmost part of Hydra. This spiral galaxy is located just at the Hydra-Centaurus border, 7 degrees SW from pi Hydrae, a star that is marking the tip of the tail of Hydra. Of this object, I wrote following notes:

Large and bright, almost face-on galaxy, the galaxy has a bright, almost stellar core, otherwise no structure visible

160404-05_Messier 83
Messier 83 observed with 3” refractor.

NGC 5128

Yey, and there it is, I had dinally completed observing Messier catalogue! After having completed Messier catalogue, I went on further south into the starry realms of the constellation of Centaurus. In Centaurus, my first object was NGC 5128. NGC 5128 is also known as Kentaurus A, which is a large, elliptic galaxy, that has a dark dust lane cutting the object in half. This is one of the most famous deep sky objects in the whole sky, and it is also known as a radio object. Of this object, I wrote following notes:

Large, pretty faint galaxy, a little bit oval shaped (long axis in SW-NE direction), the dark dust lane was quite weakly visible with averted vision.

160404-05_NGC 5128
NGC 5128 observed with 3” refractor.

NGC 5139

After observing Kentaurus A, I went on to observe an object, that is known as the largest globular cluster in Milky way! This object is NGC 5139, also known as Omega Centauri! It is very large globular cluster, and it’s apparent diameter is about 30′, which roughly equals the diameter of full Moon! Of this object, I wrote following notes:

Very large and very bright globular cluster! The cluster is not resolved, but it appears weakly granular. The cluster brightens slightly towards the core. The object was an easy naked eye -sight, and it was stunning already through the finderscope! Really magnificent object!

160404-05_NGC 5139
NGC 5139 observed with 3” refractor.

NGC 4945

Also my next object is located in Centaurus. NGC 4945 is a thin, edge on -galaxy located 4 degrees east from gamma Centauri. This object is pretty faint for my modest instrument (9,3 magnitudes, surface brightness 13,6 magnitudes), and it was a little bit challenging to observe, but nevertheless, I was able to observe it:

Very faint and thin edge on galaxy (long axis in W-E direction), the galaxy is visible weakly with averted vision and sweeping.

160404-05_NGC 4945
NGC 4945 observed with 3” refractor.

NGC 5286

After that thin galaxy, I stayed in Centaurus. My next objec was NGC 5286, a globular cluster roughly two degrees NE from epsilon Centauri. Of this object, I wrote following notes:

A small and pretty faint globular cluster, brightens towards the core, not resolved.

160404-05_NGC 5286
NGC 5286 observed with 3” refractor

NGC 4755

After having observed that globular cluster, I was about to leave Centaurus for tonight. At this time, I noticed that the constellation of Southern cross was already visible at the southern horizon! Teide is actually little bit too north after all, because for example the southernmost parts of Centaurus are below horizon and also the southernmost star of Southern cross is below horizon. But nevertheless, the three northernmost stars of the Cross were now above horizon! When seeing the stars of this legendary and famous constellation, I couldn’t resist temptation of trying to actually observe something from the Cross! I noticed that the famous Jewelbox -cluster was just barely above horizon (it’s elevation was only about 1 degree!), so I tried to observe it! It was visible poorly because of very low altitude, but nevertheless, I was able to observe it! My notes of this observation are as follows:

The Jewelbox cluster! The cluster was very weakly visible because of very low altitude, but to my surprise, I was at least able to see the cluster from horizon of Teide! Only the brightest stars of the cluster were visible.

160404-05_NGC 4755
NGC 4755 observed with 3” refractor.

NGC 5694

After having a peek on the famous Southern Cross, I went on to have yet another stop in the constellation of Hydra.In the easternmost part of Hydra, there is a small globular cluster, NGC 5694. It is located 5,5 degrees WE from sigma Librae and 7,5 degrees E from pi Hydrae. Of this object I wrote following notes:

A small and faint globular cluster, gets brighter towards the core, not resolved

160404-05_NGC 5694
NGC 5694 observed with 3” refractor.

So, that was my first night of observing during my 2nd Teide observing trip! After having finished observing, I still was admiring the beauty of the southern skies before heading down to my hotel for a sleep.

 

 

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Observing on Mt.Teide, Tenerife, 3rd night

Date: 8./9.10.2015
Time: 21:30-23:00 (local time)
Observing site: El Retamar (2100m), Teide N.P., Tenerife, Spain
Instrument: L80/400mm (3” refractor)

NELM: 5.7
SQM: 20.93-21.15
Darkness of the background sky: 1
Seeing: 2
Transparency: 2 to 3
Weather: Some high clouds, otherwise clear sky, calm, +12 C

Objects observed: NGC 55, 253, 288, 6624

The third night of my observing trip to Tenerife was the only night when the observing conditios weren’t ideal. During the early night, there were some high clouds in the sky diminishing transparency. But during the night, the clouds drifted away, and the conditions got better. During this night I was observing exactly in the same spot than during the first night. This night it was totally calm and observing was very pleasent. This time I was quite tired though, and I observed only four objects.

NGC 6624

During this night my first object was NGC 6624 (Hidden treasure 91), one of the globular clusters in Sagittarius. This object is located within the Teapot, just 50′ SE from delta Sagittarii. Of this object I wrote as follows:

Small and faint globular cluster, not resolved.

151008-09_NGC 6624
NGC 6624 observed with 3” refractor

NGC 288

NGC 288 (Hidden treasure 4) is a lonely globular cluster in the faint-starred constellation of Sculptor. It could barely be visible from Finland, but it’s easier to observe it from a southern location. This globular cluster is located in the northern part of Sculptor, near the famous galaxy NGC 253, just less than 2 degrees SE from the galaxy. Of this object I wrote as follows:

Small globular cluster, not resolved, pretty even brightness distribution.

151008-09_NGC 288
NGC 288 observed with 3” refractor

NGC 253

My next object was previously mentioned galaxy NGC 253 (Caldwell 65), also known as the Silver Dollar -galaxy in northern part of Sculptor. I have actually observed this already from Finland, but I decided to observe it again because it was near the other targets that were on my list. In Southernmost Finland this object rises just 4 degrees above horizon and it is barely visible. But when I observed it from Mt. Teide, I wrote following notes of it:

Large and bright edge on -galaxy. The long axis of the galaxy is in SW-NE orientation. The galaxy seems to have a little bit mottled appearance.

151008-09_NGC 253
NGC 253 observed with 3” refractor

NGC 55

The last object of the third observing night was NGC 55 (Caldwell 72), yet another galaxy in Sculptor. This galaxy is located in the southernmost part of the constellation, on the Sculptor-Phoenix boundary. Of this object I wrote as follows:

Large and faint edge on -galaxy. Long axis in SW-NE orientation. Visible only with averted vision.

151008-09_NGC 55
NGC 55 observed with 3” refractor

Observing on Mt. Teide, Tenerife, 2nd night

Date: 7./8.10.2015
Time: 20:15-23:00 (local time)
Observing site: El Retamar (2100m), Teide N.P., Tenerife, Spain
Instrument: L80/400mm (3” refractor)

NELM: 6.3
SQM: 21.1-21.40
Darkness of the background sky: 1
Seeing: 2
Transparency: 1
Weather: Clear sky, light wind, +13 – +12 C

Objects observed: Messier 19, 54, 55 62, 69, 70, NGC 6822

During the second night of my week on Tenerife, I drove to the same place on the Teide mountain to do observing, actually this time the place was about 100 m forward along the road from my previous place last night.

Last night weather and observing conditions were ideal, and so were they also know, only thing that was causing some challenges was fresh breeze, that was prevailing during the second night.

Messier 62

Tonight I continued observing the southern Messier objects that are not visible from Finland. Tonight my first target was globular cluster Messier 62 in the southernmost part of Ophiuchus on the Ophiuchus-Scorpius borded. My notes of this object are as follows:

A small, rather faint globular cluster, gets brighter towards core, not resolved.

151007-08_Messier 62
Messier 62 observed with 3” refractor

Messier 19

From Messier 62 I went on to observe Messier 19, which is another globular cluster in southern Ophiuchus. I wrote following notes of this object:

A small, quite well concentrated globular cluster. The cluster gets brighter towards the core, the cluster is not resolved.

151007-08_Messier 19
Messier 19 observed with 3” refractor

Messier 69

The area near the center of the Milky Way which is located in Sagittarius is the promised land for friend of globular clusters. After two globular clusters, there was also third one similar looking globular cluster, this time Messier 69 located within the teapot asterism of Sagittarius, 2,5 degrees NE from epsilon Sagittarii. I wrote following notes of this object:

A small, rather faint globular cluster, gets brighter towards the core, not resolved.

151007-08_Messier 69
Messier 69 observed with 3” refractor

Messier 70

Messier 69 was not the end of my tour of southern globular clusters in the area of Sagittarius, also the next target of the night was a globular cluster in Sagittarius! This object was Messier 70, located 2,5 degrees east from Messier 69. Of Messier 70, I wrote as follows:

A small, faint globular cluster, not resolved.

151007-08_Messier 70
Messier 70 observed with 3” refractor

Messier 54

There are many globular clusters in Sagittarius, and with instrument of this size, they all look pretty much similar, unresolved nebulous patches of dim light. Also the next target, Messier 54 is like that. It is located in the teapot of Sagittarius, less than 2 degrees west from zeta Sagittarii. I wrote as follows of this object:

A small, faint globular cluster, gets brighter towards the core, not resolved.

151007-08_Messier 54
Messier 54 observed with 3” refractor

Messier 55

Then there was one more Messier globular cluster in Sagittarius to be observed! That object was Messier 55 located 8 degrees ESE from zeta Sagittarii. In this location, this object is quite isolated from the other globulars in the constellation. This was also the last Messier object that I observed during this trip. Now I had observed all Messier objects excluding Messier 68 and 83 that I still have to observe during another trip! Of Messier 55 I wrote as follows:

Pretty large and bright globular cluster, gets slowly brighter towards the core. Not resolved.

151007-08_Messier 55
Messier 55 observed with 3” refractor

After having observed all Messier objects (except two mentioned above), it was time for me to go on to observe southern Caldwell and Hidden treasures (by Stephen O’Meara) that are always below horizon in Finland.

My first such object was NGC 6822 (Caldwell 57) also known as Barnard’s galaxy in the northern part of Sagittarius constellation. Barnard’s galaxy is a barred irregular galaxy and it is member of the Local Group. In it’s location, it rises above horizon also in Finland, but it’s always at low altitude. Because of it’s low altitude in Finland, it is next to impossible target in Finland. And it wasn’t a piece of cake in Tenerife either! Of this object, I wrote as follows:

Extremely faint galaxy, barely visible at times with averted vision and sweeping. Long axis is propably SW-NE oriented. A very challenging object!

151007-08_ NGC 6822
NGC 6822 observed with 3” refractor

Observing on Mt. Teide, Tenerife 1st night

Date: 6./7.10.2015
Time: 19:45-22:00 (local time)
Observing site: El Retamar (2100m), Teide N.P., Tenerife, Spain
Instrument: L80/400mm (3” refractor)

NELM: 6.3
SQM: 21.1-21.17
Darkness of the background sky: 1
Seeing: 2
Transparency: 1
Weather: Clear sky, light wind, +15 – 13 C

Objects observed: Messier 4, 6, 7, 8, 20, 22 and 28

In October of 2015 I was finally able to fulfill my lifelong dream about observing the southern deep sky objects that are not visible from Finland. Especially I had dreamed about observing the objects of Sagittarius and Scorpius and seeing the southern Milky Way!

Finally on 6th of November I travelled with my girlfriend to Tenerife, Canary islands to make this dream come true! During the days we were involved with other activities, but in the evenings I drove every night to the top of Mt. Teide with a rented car. We spent totally a week in Tenerife (6.-12.10.2015 and I was observing during 5 nights).

In the first evening (6th of October 2015) I drove to the mountain to do observing, although I had a terrible headache because of the heat and dehydration. I had been looking for suitable observing spots with Google Maps, so I know something about where to go. We were living in a hotel in the Costa Adeje area in the SW part of the Tenerife island. I started driving from there to the Mountain. Weather patterns were quite similar each evening: in the morning it’s mostly clear, but during the day some cumulus clouds are growing, and they remain in the sky until the night. Nevertheless the mountaintop is above the cloud layer, so they don’t disturb observing. I drove upwards the narrow and curvy roads, and soon I reached the clouds that were hanging at the mountain slopes. Very soon I was above the clouds, and the sky was clear and pristine!

I found a suitable spot for observing that I had been looking already before with Google Maps. I parked my car, and immediately I saw Antares and Scorpius glowing in the twilight sky, and soon I spotted Sagittarius Teapot asterism too! And Milky Way became also visible. Finally, me dream had come true! I was gazing the sky and admiring it’s beauty, but soon I started obsering.

I had my small 3” refractor with me as my travel telescope. It’s quite light and small, and I had no trouble carrying it with me in the plane. I had the telescope itself in hand luggage, whereas the tripod was in the large bag in the aircraft hold.

Messier 4

My first target was globular cluster Messier 4 in Scorpius, very close to Antares. Of this globular cluster, I wrote following notes:

Bright and well concentrated large globular cluster. The cluster is not resolved, only some single stars can be glimpsed in the threshold of being resolved with averted vision. The cluster gets brighter towards the core.

Messier 4 (3'' Refractor)
Messier 4 observed with 3” refractor

Messier 7

My next target was open cluster located in the tail of the Scorpius known as Messier 7, which is also the southernmost of the Messier objects. I wrote following notes of this observation:

A bright-starred, rich and well concentrated cluster, very beautiful!

151006-07_Messier 7
Messier 7 observed with 3” refractor

Messier 6

Messier 6 is a small open cluster also located in Scorpius, about 3 degrees NW from M7. It is also know as “Butterfly cluster”. Of the Butterfly cluster, I made following notes:

Small, bright starred and well concentrated rich cluster. Brightest stars of the cluster are in rectangular pattern.

151006-07_Messier 6
Messier 6 observed with 3” refractor

Messier 8

From Scorpius I went on to the mightly and famous constellation of Sagittarius, which is a home to many famous deep sky objects, including for example Messier 8, which is one of the most famous and beautiful emission nebulas in the sky! From Messier 8, also known as Lagoon nebula, I made following notes:

Large and bright nebula that was already visible without filters. With OIII filter the nebula is very well visible. There seems to be a dark lane in the middle of the nebula dividing the nebula in two parts (eastern and western). There is also a small but obvious open cluster in the eastern half of the nebula. There are also many single stars embedded in or superimposed on the nebula. The orientation of the visual long axis of the nebula with this instrument is SW-NE.

151006-07_Messier 8
Messier 8 observed with 3” refractor

Messier 20

Messier 20 is another emission nebula in Sagittarius. It is located just 1,5 degrees from Messier 8 to NW. It is known as Trifid nebula because of lanes of dark nebula that are dividing the emission nebula in three parts. I wrote following notes of the Trifid nebula:

This nebula is located just a degree away from M8 to NW. This nebula appears with this instrument as small, round and bright nebulous patch. The nebula seems to be centered on a single 8th magnitude star. The nebula is weakly visible without filter, but it is obvious and easy with OIII filter.With my instrument, the dark lanes of this nebula were not visible.

151006-07_Messier 20
Messier 20 observed with 3” refractor

Messier 22

The constellation of Sagittarius is also home to many globular clusters, just like Messier 22. Messier 22 is a great globular cluster located 2 negrees NE from the tip of the teapot asterism. Of Messier 22, I wrote following notes:

A large and bright globular cluster. The cluster is not resolved, bit it appears to be a bit granular on the edges. The cluster gets brighter towards the core.

151006-07_Messier 22
Messier 22 observed with 3” refractor

Messier 28

The last but not least of the objects of my first observing night on Mt. Teide was another globular cluster in Sagittarius, Messier 28. It is located near Messier 22, less than a degree from the tip of the teapot to NW. Of Messier 28 I wrote following notes:

A small but bright globular cluster, not resolved.

151006-07_Messier 28
Messier 28 observed with 3” refractor

 

Deep sky observing in Parainen 10./11.3.2013

Date: 10./11.3.2013
Time: 21:00-23:20
Observing site: Stormälö, Parainen, Finland
Instrument: L102/1000mm (4” Refractor)

NELM: 6,0
SQM: 20,91
Darkness of the background sky: 3
Seeing: 2
Transparency: 2
Weather: Clear sky, -19 °C, calm, snow on the ground, no Moon, no aurora, zodiacal light visible in NW sky

Objects observed: Messier 3 (visual, sketching)

This was my second trip to my observing place in Parainen now in March 2013! Also this time the zodiacal light was visible, and this time I was also able to photograph this phenomena! Also now the zodiacal light was visible in the NW sky as a faint, southwards tilted, diffuse glow of light that was following the line of the ecliptic. And just like last time, it was best visible with averted vision and sweeping. Winter Milky way was somewhat visible, and the conditions were pretty much the same than last time two nights ago.


Besides photographing this light scattered by interplanetary dust, I made also one deep sky -sketch. This time I observed Messier 3, a globular cluster in Canes Venatici. I made the observation with my 102/1000mm refractor (4” refractor).

Messier 3: with 102/1000mm refractor @67x this cluster appeared as a bright, round nebula. The brightness of the cluster increases inwards, and it seems to be well condensed and concentrated towards the center. The cluster is clearly granulated, and some individual stars can be resolved. @133x several individual stars can be seen.

Messier 3 observed with 4'' Refractor
Messier 3 observed with 4” Refractor

Deep sky sketching and zodiacal light 8./9.3.2013

Date: 8./9.3.2013
Time: 21:15-00:25
Observing site: Stormälö, Parainen, Finland
Instrument: L102/1000mm (4” Refractor), N250/1200mm (10” Newton)

NELM: 6,0
SQM: 20,84
Darkness of the background sky: 3
Seeing: 2
Transparency: 2
Weather: Clear sky, -12 °C, light wind, snow on the ground, no Moon, no aurora, zodiacal light in NW sky

Objects observed: Messier 53 (visual, sketching), NGC 2506(visual, sketching)

This was my first observing session in Parainen since September 2011! When I arrived at the site, I noticed that the winter Milky way in the Monoceros-Orion region was visible as well as it ever can be here in the conditions of Finland. Unfortunately winter is not so good time to make deep sky -observing in Finland because of cold temperature and snow, which is reflecting light in the sky. This can be observed with SQM, which gave values of ~20,8 around zenith. This is low value when compared with the good values in autumn, that can be as good as 21,2 in this site! NELM was barely 6,0 in Orion and about 5,7 in Ursa minor.

Besides Milky way and the ugly light pollution domes, I was able to see also another faint glow of light in the NW sky close to horizon. This light was rising from the horizon as a wedge -like glow of light that was following the line of ecliptic. This light was better visible with averted vision and sweeping. This light is better seen in the southern latitudes, but it can be seen also here in high latitudes around vernal- and autumnal equinox. This light is the zodiacal light! This was my second time to observe this phenomena from Finland. I observed this light for first time from the same site in March 2010. The zodiacal light can be seen almost every night in southern latitudes, but it is not common sight here in the high latitudes like Finland. The angle of the ecliptic is steepest around the time of the equinoxes, and that makes it possible to observe this phenomena!

Below you can see an excerpt with a sketch of the phenomena from my note book:

Zodiacal light observed 8.3.2013 in Stormälö, Parainen, Finland
Zodiacal light observed 8.3.2013 in Stormälö, Parainen, Finland

This time I was making deep sky -observations with two of my telescopes: N250/1200mm (10” Newton)  and L102/1000mm (4” Refractor). This time I observed NGC 2506, an open cluster in southern Monoceros and Messier 53, a globular cluster in Coma Berenices.

I observed NGC 2506 (Caldwell 54) with my 250/1200mm Newton. With this instrument, this open cluster appeared as a small, relatively condensed and concentrated cluster. The brightness range of the stars of the cluster is rather large, some brighter stars are clearly visible, but the fainter stars appeared only as a starglow in the background of the cluster.

NGC 2506 observed with 10'' Newton
NGC 2506 observed with 10” Newton

I observed Messier 53 with my both instruments. With 102/1000mm refractor @67x, this globular cluster appeared as a round, fuzzy nebula, whose brightness increases slightly inwards. No single stars were visible.

Messier 53 observed with 4'' Refractor
Messier 53 observed with 4” Refractor

With 250/1200mm newton @80x, the cluster appeared to be granulated, and few individul stars were resolved.

Messier 53 observe with 10'' Newton
Messier 53 observed with 10” Newton

Deep sky observing in really freezing weather 4.-5.12.2012

Date: 4.-5.12.2012
Time: 20:15-21:15
Observing site: Kovero heritage farm, Seitseminen National Park, Finland
Instrument: L102/1000mm

NELM: 6,6
SQM: 21,12
Darkness of the background sky: 2
Seeing: 2
Transparency: 2
Weather: Clear sky, -21 °C, calm, 20cm snow on the ground, no Moon, no aurora

Objects observed: Messier 81 (visual, sketching), Messier 82 (visual, sketching)

This time I decided to try observing at Kovero traditional farm in Seitseminen National Park, Finland. From the yard of the farm the horizon is open enough to make observations. The place is accessible with a car also in winter. When I arrived at the site, the gates of the farm were open and I carried my observing equipment to the yard and started observing!

This time weather was rather chilly, temperature was -21 degrees below zero, and there was about 20 cm of snow on the ground! But the cold temperature isn’t a problem, when you have dressed up properly!

This time I observed galaxies Messier 81 and 82 in the constellation of Ursa major, The Great bear of northern sky!

Messier 81 (The Bode’s nebula) appeared as a relatively large, oval shaped nebula with a bright core. Brightness of the galaxy increases inwards. The outer parts of the galaxy are better visible with averted vision. This galaxy is elliptical in shape, and its long axis is oriented in NW-SE -direction. This is a really good object for small instruments!

Messier 81 observed with 4'' Refractor
Messier 81 observed with 4” Refractor

Messier 82 appeared as a bright, thin and elongated nebula, whose long axis is roughly SW-NE oriented. The brightness distribution of the galaxy is pretty even. There is a brighter spot visible with averted vision close to the core of the galaxy. Messier 82 is a really good target for small instruments too!

Messier 82 with 4'' Refractor
Messier 82 observed with 4” Refractor