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)

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!


Gemini Nebula in the winter night

Date: 5./6.1.2016
Time: 19:00-23:30
Observing site: Ulvila observatory, Finland
Instrument: C280/2750mm (11” Catadioptric)

NELM: 5.3
SQM: 19.62
Darkness of the background sky: 4
Seeing: 2
Transparency: –
Weather: Clear sky, calm, -17C, snow on the ground, hazy sky, poor brightness of the sky because of winter condiions

Objects observed: NGC 2371-2

NGC 2371-2

I was observing at Ulvila observatory during the club evening of Porin Karhunvartijat. During the night, I observed a planetary nebula located in the constellation of Gemini, called “the Gemini Nebula”. The name is really good for the object, because it is located in the constellation of Gemini and because it visually looks like twin-planetary nebula! Actually it is a dual-lobed planetary nebula. In NGC catalogue it has been catalogued twice because of it visually appears as two separate objects. This object was really easy to find, it is located just 3 degrees SW from Castor, alpha Geminorum. I wrote following notes of my observation:

@8mm: A planetary nebula with two lobes. The long axis of the nebula is roughly in E-W orientation. The westernmost lobe (NGC 2371) is brighter, and there is a notable star-like brightening inside it. Nice object and pretty easy! OIII filter improves the view slightly. Observed with Hyperion 8-24mm zoom ocular.

160105-06_NGC 2371-2
NGC 2371-2 observed with 11” Catadioptric

Weather during the night was freezing, temperature was -17C , and there was already snow on the ground. Besides this, there was also some diamond dust (ice crystals) in the air. the combined effect of these factors was decreased sky darkness, which meant that the observing conditions were far from optimal. Nevertheless, I was still able to make at least one observation during the night! Besides observing this planetary nebula, I observed also four variable stars. After very mild early winter, we have now had real winter now also in Southern Finland since ~27th of December 2015. During the early days of January 2016, the temperature has plummetted to -20C, and we also have about 5 cm of snow on the ground.

Observing during the Deep sky -meeting 2014, part 2

Date: 20./21.9.2014
Time: 22:00-02:00
Observing site: Tähtikallio observatory, Finland
Instrument: C416/4064mm (16” Meade)

NELM: 6.0
SQM: 21.10-21.00
Darkness of the background sky: 2-3
Seeing: 2
Transparency: 3
Weather: A little bit hazy sky, calm, warm, humid air

Objects observed: NGC 6781, IC 342, Messier 33 & NGC 604

During the second night of the event, observing conditions weren’t optimal, but I was able to make more observations. During the night, I observed NGC 6781, IC 342 and Messier 33 & NGC 604.

NGC 6781

NGC 6781 observed with 16'' Catadioptric.
NGC 6781 observed with 16” Catadioptric.

NGC 6781 is a relatively large planetary nebula in the constellation of Aquila, The Eagle. Here are my notes of my observation:

@97x: The object appears as a oval -shaped, faint nebula with a hint of a ring -structure with averted vision.

@ 97x+OIII: The ring -structure is obvious, best visible with averted vision though. There seems to be a faint star in the western edge of the nebula.

@ 239x: The object is an oval -shaped, pretty faint nebula with a clear ring -structure. The long axis of the nebula is oriented in N -S direction. No central star was visible, reminds me of the famous Ring nebula of Lyra, Messier 57.

IC 342

IC 342 is a really faint, face-on galaxy in the constellation of Camelopardalis, The Giraffe. The galaxy is a spiral galaxy of type Sc, which means, it has very loose and open spiral structure, and thus it also has very low surface brightness. This object requires absolutely ideal observing conditions to be visible properly. During my observing session, the observing conditions were far from being optimal, and thus the object wasn’t visible as well as it could have been.

IC 342 observed with 16'' Catadioptric.
IC 342 observed with 16” Catadioptric.

But anyway, here are my notes about the object:

@ 97x: Only the core of the galaxy and an area surrounding the core is barely visible with averted vision. The galaxy appears as a very faint, fuzzy, nebulous spot without any clear shape. No hope of seeing the spiral arms in these conditions. I ought to try to observe this one again when the transparency is better.

Messier 33 & NGC 604

NGC 604 is an extremely large HII area in the Triangulum galaxy, located in the constellation of Triangulum. This HII area is much larger than The Tarantula nebula located in the Large Magellanic Cloud, the largest HII area close to us. And thus it is also much larger than for example the famous Orion nebula, which is well visible in the winter sky.

NGC 604 observed with 16'' Catadioptric.
NGC 604 observed with 16” Catadioptric.

Here are my notes of my observation:

@97x: An extragalactic HII -area in The Triangulum galaxy. This object was visible as a bright, nebulous patch elongated in NW-SE -direction. The object is easy to see, it’s even easier than the core of it’s host galaxy! The object is located in the tip of one spiral arm about 13′ NE from the center of the galaxy.

Deep sky observing in Friitala, Ulvila, Finland 13./14.9.2012

Date: 13./14.9.2012
Time: 19:30-21:15
Observing site: Friitala, Ulvila, Finland
Instrument: L102/1000mm

NELM: 6,2
SQM: 20,85
Darkness of the background sky: 2
Seeing: 2
Transparency: 3
Weather: Mostly clear sky, light wind, no Moon, humid air, +6 °C

Objects observed: Messier 76 (visual, sketching), Messier 92 (visual, sketching)

During this session, I was doing some deep sky- observing in Friitala, Ulvila. This site is located close to towns of Pori and Ulvila, and it means that the light pollution domes of these urban areas are destroying northern and eastern sky. The background sky is not really dark, but dark enough for doing some deep sky observing. This time I observed and sketched Messier 76, a planetary nebula in constellation of Perseus and globular cluster Messier 92 in constellation of Hercules. Although the sky was clear and conditions were ok, I had to go sleeping early because I had been awake for long time already.

Messier 76: @133x, this planetary nebula was visible as a small, SW-NE oriented, fuzzy and greatly elongated nebula. The nebula is also known as the little dumpell nebula, and the characteristic wings of the nebula were also visible. The southwesternmost one of them was brighter than the opposite one. The wings are best visible with averted vision. The nebula is pretty small and dim, but it is in easy place and thus it is easy to find. This object is nice and interesting object to observe visually, also for smaller instruments.

Messier 76 observed with 4'' Refractor
Messier 76 observed with 4” Refractor, @133x

Messier 92: @67x, bright globular cluster, which was easily resolved almost into the core! The brightness, and hence the density of stars of the cluster increases clearly towards the core. The core is dense and much brighter than the outer parts of the cluster. This is visually very impressive object, also for small instruments.

Messier 92 observed 13.-14.9.2012 in Friitala, Ulvila, Finland @ L102/1000mm, 67x.
Messier 92 observed with 4” refractor, @ 67x.

Second night in Torinkylä

I have had unbelievable luck, because it has been two clear nights in Sotkamo in a row! The second night was 1./2.10.2011. In early evening, observing conditions were really good, and I was getting SQM readings like 21.30-21.50! This time it was calm, and because of that, all moisture condensed very eagerly to all optical surfaces. That became as a problem around midnight, and in same an aurora arc had appeared in the northern sky. That arc started to spread towards zenith, and it really ruined the observing conditions, SQM reading dropped from 21.30 to 20.90. The degradation of observing conditions because of extreme humidity and aurora made me to stop observing about 15 minutes past midnight.

Anyway, during early night, I observed and sketched Messier 13 and 57.Messier 13 was stunning as always, it was easy to resolve Messier 13 almost to the core of the cluster. Messier 57 was visible as beautiful oval -shaped nebula, and the ring shape was obvious with averted vision.

Here’s the summary of the observing session:

Observing session: #15/11-12
Date: 1/2.10.2011
Time: 20.40-00.15
Place: Torinkylä, Sotkamo, Finland
Instruments used: L102/1000mm
Objects observed: Messier 13, 57
Conditions: NELM: 6.8, SQM: 21.45, 0 °C – -2 °C, clear sky, calm, moist air, in early evening good, dark sky, aurora borealis in the end of session, I had to stop observing because they made the background sky too light.

Observing in Parainen 22./23.9.2011

I came to Turku last week and spent couple of days there. During my visit to Turku, I was lucky, and I could make some observations under dark skies of Parainen in the Archipelago of Turku! I had always known that my observing site (Stormälö) in Parainen is a really good place to observe, but now I would be able to get some numerical data from there with my SQM-L device!

The night was considerably dark and the sky was clear most of the time. Air was pretty warm, but it was quite windy.

Objects that I observed during that night were R CrB, U Umi and Messier 27, so I was also able to make deep sky -observing first time since February! I will add the sketch of Messier 27 later. This time I think I was able to see R CrB, it’s brightness was about 13,5 mag and it only glimpsed in the field couple of times.

Conclusions: SQM reading was better than 21, which means that Stormälö is really a very good observing place!

Summary of obs session #10/11-12
Date: 22./23.9.2011
Time: 22.00-00.15
Place: Stormälö, Parainen, Finland
Instruments used: L102/1000mm
Objects observed: R CrB, U Umi, Messier 27
Conditions: NELM: 6.6, SQM: 21.22, + 15 – 10 °C, mostly clear sky, windy