Observing in surprisingly good conditions in Kersilö!

Last night sky got clear, and I went to Kersilö to do some observations. When I arrived in my observing site, I was really happy to see, that the sky was really dark, and that there was no northern lights or Moon interfering my observations!

Last night I aimed my scope to the supernova of Messier 101, and this time I could see it! Then I got also confirmation to my assumption about the reason for it’s invisibility during last observing sessions, which was of course poor conditions (Moon in the sky, light background sky). Anyway, the supernova is getting fainter, it’s brightness was nearly 12 magnitudes.

I also observed R CrB, which was fainter than 12.8 magnitudes. Then I observed also R Tri, which is very close to it’s maximum (it’s brightness was slightly over 5 magnitudes). The last variable star for yesterday was Z uma, whose brightness was 7.7 magnitudes.

The last object for last night was Messier 15. With my 102/1000mm scope @67x this globular cluster was visible as round, fuzzy spot with bright and condensed core. The object appeared to granulated with averted vision, but only few single stars was visible.

Observing conditions were good during the whole observing session, although later during my observing session, an auroral arc started to rise northern sky, and about at 11pm, it started to get brighter and it affected the darkness of the background sky slightly. SQM was about 21.40 at it’s best, but it dropped to 21.15 because of increased auroral activity.

Observing session: #18/11-12
Date: 21/22.10.2011
Time: 20.15-23.15
Place: Kersilö, Sodankylä, Finland
Instruments used: L102/1000mm
Objects observed: Sn2011fe, R CrB, R Tri, Z Uma, Messier 15
Conditions: NELM: 6.9, SQM: 21.38, +2 °C – -1 °C, clear sky, light SW breeze, aurora arc in northern sky, no Moon


Observing in Utsjoki

Last night (17./18.10.2011) I got chance to do observations in Utsjoki, the second northernmost village of Finland! I was having a holiday trip there in northernmost Finland and Norway, and I of course had my observing gear with me there. Last night it was clear sky in the evening, but the Moon was shining and there were some high clouds in the sky. Nevertheless, I could make at least one observation! I observed Sn2011fe, which is already getting faint, it’s brightness was below 11.7 magnitudes, and this was first time when I couldn’t even see it at all! I think that the unvisibility of the supernova was partly because of the poor conditions’ it might have been visible without the Moon.

But then just before midnight, thick fog started to rise from the river Tenojoki (which is the border river between Finland and Norway, the village of Utsjoki is situated by the river) and eventually it forced me to stop observing. The weather was actually surprisingly warm, the lowest temperature that night was only -1 °C, which is not bad when considering the fact that I was observing on the latitude N69.9°!

Observing session: #17/11-12
Date: 13/14.10.2011
Time: 22.20-23.45
Place: Utsjoki, Finland
Instruments used: L102/1000mm
Objects observed: Sn2011fe
Conditions: NELM: 5.7, SQM: 19.72, +1 °C – -1 °C, some high clouds, calm, 73% moon at altitude of 16° in eastern sky. Fog was rising from the Teno -river before midnight and it forced me to stop observing.

Observing in Kersilö

Last night it was clear sky, and I went into my observing place in Kersilö to watch some stars! Observing conditions were good in principle (sky was clear and it wasn’t too cold and there was no aurorae in the sky), but the Moon was shining brightly and though it was ruining the darkness of background sky. Nevertheless, I observed Sn2011fe and U Umi. Both are getting fainter now, the brightness of the supernova was aroud 11,7 magnitudes, U Umi’s brightness was about 9,8 magnitudes. Also the Moon and Jupiter were very close to each other – a really beautiful celestial conjunction!

Observing session: #16/11-12
Date: 13/14.10.2011
Time: 21.00-22.45
Place: Kersilö, Sodankylä, Finland
Instruments used: L102/1000mm
Objects observed: Sn2011fe, U Umi
Conditions: NELM: 5.0, SQM: 19.06, -1 °C – -6 °C, clear sky, calm, 97% moon at altitude of 30° in southeastern sky.

Observing in Torinkylä, Sotkamo

Now I have temporarily moved to work in new area in municipality of Sotkamo, Finland. Yesterday evening I got a chance to do some stargazing here. Yesterday I was looking for a suitable observing place, and after all, I could easily find one. That place is situated close to village of Torinkylä in municipality of Sotkamo. The place is really dark, there’s no light pollution around. Only negative thing with this site is the fact, that trees are blocking the horizon almost in all directions up to 20°-30°. But this is forgettable, because the place is virtually free from any light pollution.

I had long planned to observe the comet C/2009 P1 (Garrad) and finally that became reality last night. The comet was quite small and compact. It’s nucleus was bright and star-like. The coma of th comet faded smoothly outwards from the nucleus. The comet was clearly elongated in E-W direction, and with averted vision I could see, that it had a very faint, eastwards-pointing tail.

Besides the comet, I also observd Uranus with my 102/1000mm refractor, 7×8 binoculars and with naked eye. I have seen Uranus before with telescope, but not with naked eye. So that was a new experience to me! With y refractor, Uranus was visible as a ~6 mag star with slight bluish tint. I can’t really say, that I could see the planet as disk -shaped, rather it was star-like than anything else. It was relatively easy to find Uranus with naked eye, you just have to know where to look. It wasn’t visible so well with direct vision though, but easily with averted vision.

During last night, I also observed R Tri (whose magnitude was 6.6, getting brighter), R CrB which I couldn’t see this time (the faintest comp star was 12.8, so it’s brightness was <12.8) and the supernova of Messier 101 (SN2011fe), whose brightness was around 10.9. This time I estimated it to be slightly brighter than last time (11.0 mag), but I think that last time I underestimated it’s brighness because of clouds, that were partly obscuring the view.

And in the deep space, I observed the familiar and famous neighbour galaxy to us, Messier 31 with it’s bright companions.

Observing conditions were relatively good, it was clear sky during the whole obs session, and it was pretty warm (~+6°C) but windy. The sky was also relatively dark, SQM was around 21.30.

Here is the summary of the observing session:

Observing session: #14/11-12
Date: 30/1.10.2011
Time: 21.00-23.30
Place: Torinkylä, Sotkamo, Finland
Instruments used: L102/1000mm
Objects observed: SN2011fe, R CrB, R Tri, Messier 31, 32 and 110, C/2009 P1 (Garrad), Uranus
Conditions: NELM: 6.4, SQM: 21.30, + 11 °C – +5 °C, clear sky, windy

Observing in Aska, for last time now

Last night I was observing again in Aska village, for last time now. That is a little bit unfortunate, because I have really enjoyed my time there, and I had just found a considerably good observing place there! Last night I went there (it it a cutting area and a sandpit about 1 km north of our accomodation) and I observed there SN2011fe, Z Uma, Messier 33 and Messier 34. In early evening, there were some clouds, but they went away after all. Then the sky was really dark (SQM at best 21.40) and it was good to make observations. There was some mist in the air though, and it got thicker and thicker, and I had to stop observing around midnight. And there wasn’t much aurorae in the sky, there was only some weak aurora arc low in the northern sky, but it wasn’t causing any interference.

Now the supernova of Messier 101 is getting fainter, it’s brightness was only 11.0 magnitudes last night. Z Uma is getting brighter, it’s brightness was 7.8 magnitudes. Scanned sketches will be coming later when I can scan those sketches.

Summary of obs session #13/11-12
Date: 28/28.9.2011
Time: 21.00-23.30
Place: Aska, Puolanka, Finland
Instruments used: L102/1000mm
Objects observed: SN2011fe, Z Uma, Messier 33, Messier 34
Conditions: NELM: 6.6, SQM: 21.37, + 10 °C – -2 °C, partly cloudy, calm, aurora arc low in the northern sky, misty, humid air