Observing 2./3.9.2016 in Tähtikallio Observatory

Date: 02./03.09.2016
Time: 00:00-04:00
Observing site: Tähtikallio Observatory, Finland
Instrument: N910/3680 mm (36” Folded-Newton)

NELM: 6.6
SQM: 21.20 – 21.05
Darkness of the background sky: 1
Seeing: 2
Transparency: –
Weather: Clear sky, calm, pretty warm

Objects observed: NGC 7128, NGC 7044, 6823 and 6543 + IC 4677

Between 2nd and 3rd of September of 2016, I was observing in Tähtikallio Observatory during the annual Finnish Deep Sky Meeting. During the night, conditions were rather good, and I made three observations with my own 10” Dobson. Besides this, I made also one observation with the 36” Astrofox monster of Tähtikallio Observatory!

Group photo of the annual Finnish Deep Sky Meeting 2016

NGC 7128

My first object of the night was NGC 7128, a small open cluster located in northernmost part of Cygnus, only 5,5 degrees SW from epsilon Cephei. Of this object I wrote following notes:

@120x: a small, compact, open cluster stars roughly in a shape of a ring. Quite well detached.

NGC 7128 observed with 10” Newton

NGC 7044

My second object of this session was NGC 7044, yet another open cluster in northernmost Cygnus, just 6 degrees SE from Deneb. Of this object, I wrote following notes:

@120x: a small, very faint open cluster, the cluster is mostly visible only as a faint glow. Some individual stars can be seen with averted vision.

NGC 7044 observed with 10” Newton

NGC 6823

My third object of this night was NGC 6823, an open cluster in the constellation of Vulpecula, the Fox. I wrote following note from my observation:

@120x: a rather small open cluster, the cluster is pretty well detached, not very concenrated or compact though, the cluster has large brightness range.

NGc 6823 observed with 10” Newton

NGC 6543 + IC 4677

After having observed three objects with my own Newton, I decided to try observing something with the gigantic 36” Astrofox of Tähtikallio Observatory. There was me and also some other people at the observatory dome of the Astrofox, and we were casually observing some common objects. But one of the objects during the night was the famous Cat eye -nebula, NGC 6543 in the constellation of Draco. I had observed this object already in 2008, but it was interesting to give it a look with this mighty telescope! This time I was able to see much more of this object when compared with my previous observation of this object with my 10” Newton. This time I was able to see this object as an oval-shaped nebula with bright and easy central star! Besides this, I was able to spot an interesting feature in this nebula, the most notable brightening in the outer shell of this nebula, IC 4677, was visible as a faint wisp of light just NW from the nebula itself! It was the first time for me to see this detail of the nebula.

The view was stunning, I have to admit, but the only downside was the poor collimation of this instrument, because of this, stars weren’t totally sharp and the view was a little bit fuzzy. But anyway, it was worth visiting! Of this object, I jotted down followin notes:

@455x: NGC 6543 was visible as an oval-shaped, very bright nebula, the long axis of the nebula is in NE-SW -orientation. Central star is very easy to see. IC 4677, which is part of the outer envelope of the nebula, is visible as a faint, irregular-shaped, nebulous patch less than 2′ west from NGC 6543. Some hint of a turquoise colour is weakly visible around the center of the nebula

NGC 6543 and IC 4677 observed with 36” Newton

Comet Jaqcues and a planetary nebula

Date: 23./24.8.2014
Time: 23:30-01:20
Observing site: Tähtikallio observatory, Finland
Instrument: C416/4064mm (16” Meade)

NELM: 5.3
SQM: 21.00
Darkness of the background sky: 3
Seeing: 2
Transparency: 3
Weather: Some haze in the sky, occasional clouds, calm, no Moon, pretty warm

Objects observed: C/2014 E2 (Jaqcues), NGC 6905

During the night between 23rd and 24th of August 2014 I had an opportunity to do some observing with the large telescopes of Tähtikallio Observatory, Finland. This time I was observing with the 16” Meade of Tähtikallio observatory. The targets that I observed were comet Jaqcues and planetary nebula NGC 6905.

Comet Jaqcues was visible as a round and fuzzy object. In the middle of the coma, there was a rather starlike central brightening. The brightness of the coma decreased gradually outwards. The visual diameter of the coma was about 5′. No tail was visible visually.

Comet Jaqcues observed with 16'' Catadioptric.
Comet Jaqcues observed with 16” Catadioptric.

NGC 6905 is a planetary nebula in constellation of Delphinus, the Dolphin. The nebula is know as the Blue Flash -Nebula. I made following notes of my observation:

@101x: small, round fuzzy spot, no details. @270x: oval-shaped nebula, long axis SW-NE -oriented. Central star visible with averted vision. Visual size roughly 1,6’x1,3′. The eastern part of the nebula seems to be brighter than other parts of the nebula.

NGC 6905 observed with 16'' Catadioptric.
NGC 6905 observed with 16” Catadioptric.

Weather during the night wasn’t optimal, there was some haze in the sky, and the sky wasn’t completely dark yet. Besides this, there were some occasional clouds moving across the sky. Eventually these clouds forced me to stop observing after I had barely finished observing NGC 6905.

Deep sky -meeting 6.-8.9.2013

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.


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


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


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


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.

Meeting of the Finnish Deep Sky Observers 14.-16.9.2012

The participants of the 20th Deep sky -meeting. Photo: © Juha Ojanperä.

The observers and deep sky -enthusiasts of the Finnish astronomical society Ursa had gathered to the Tähtikallio Observatory Center in Artjärvi, Southern Finland to their traditional meeting in 14.-16.9.2012. This time the meeting was also the 20th anniversary of the meetings! The first deep sky -meeting was organized in 1992 in Hartola, Finland. This time the amount of participants was about 25.

In the meeting, sky was cloudy during the first night, but during the second night, sky was absolutely brilliantly clear, and many observations were made and astrophotos taken! For example, I was making observations with the 16” Meade of Tähtikallio, and I was observing and sketching NGC 7331, Hickson 92 and 94. And while observing, I was also showing these magnificent celestial wonders for other interested people! The observing conditions were rather good, SQM was 21,28 and NELM 6,6!

During the meeting, we heard also many interesting lectures, that include for example the lecture given by Riku Henrikksson about the interesting and very challenging objects of our Local group and the lecture about Supernovas of type Ia given by Arto Oksanen. Also the traditional observation review and knowledge quiz were organized, this time by the new section leader, Toni Veikkolainen.

This 2oth deep sky -meeting was a really good and succesfull, the atmosphere was wonderful and lectures were interesting! Big thanks for everyone for this meeting! It is good to carry on from this point to the future!

The Finnish Atmospheric Optics Convention ’12 in Tähtikallio Observatory, Artjärvi, Finland

The Finnish atmospheric optics enthusiasts gathered to the traditional annual meeting, that was organized in the Tähtikallio Observatory, Artjärvi, Finland 10.-12.8.2012. This time the meeting was close to the maximum of the Perseid -meteor shower, and the participants were able to observe many meteors, especially during the second night of the meeting.

The weather was favourable especially during the night between Saturday/Sunday, Friday/Saturday night was mosty cloudy, although it got clear for a short moment, but the window was too short for making any real observations.

The meeting was really succesfull! About 13 atmospheric enthusiasts participated the meeting. In the meeting, we heard several lectures and panel -discussions. For example, Panu Lahtinen demonstrated his halo stack -software. Veikko Mäkelä gave a lecture about the results of this year NLC -season so far and I gave two short presentations too, one about the ‘Halo April’ -observation campaign of the Atmospheric optics -section of Ursa and about the pollen coronas observed in May and June 2012.

During the meeting, I was about to do observations with my 4” refractor, but I had unfortunately forgot the accessory tray of the tripod home, so my scope was out of use. It wasn’t a big problem anyway, I made few observations with the 16” Meade of Tähtikallio. The observing session wasn’t actually very effective one, most of the time was used learning to use the scope and getting a feeling about how it is functioning.

More photos from the event can be found here!

The Deep Sky -meeting 23.-25.9.2011

The attenders of the Deep Sky -meeting, © Jari-Pekka Savojoki

The traditional meeting of the finnish deep sky -observers was organized at the Tähtikallio observatory of Ursa in Artjärvi, Finland. The amount of attenders this time was about 30 people.

In Friday, there were not much anything happening, but the action really started in Saturday. During Saturday, we started off with the traditional last seasons observation/sketch -review with me and Linda Laakso, then we continued with Linda with the presentation of observing program for the next season (protoplanetary nebulas). After that, we had the section meeting, where the new sketching cards were introduced. Besides that, there was also some discussion about the future of the EDL -magazine of the deep sky section. Jaakko Saloranta has made a proposal of giving new life to the EDL magazine as a digital publication that would have 1-2 issues/year.

After the section meeting, we heard the lecture given by Toni Veikkolainen about open star cluster off the plane of the Milky way. Then Riku Henriksson gave us a status update of the Olympos -observatory project near city of Tampere, Finland. After Riku, the stage was ready for Arto Oksanen, who gave us very interestinf and fascinating lecture about supernovas and gamma ray -bursts (GRBs). Then we heard two minilectures by Jaakko Saloranta abut his observing trip to SW USA and about supernova remnants. The last but not liest showpiece was of course the traditional deep sky -quiz, this hosted by Iiro Sairanen. Also this time, as many times during recent years, Toni Veikkolainen was the one who the most, and thus he got the victory!

Weather was poor during the first night, only couple of stars were visible from the holes in the clouds. But the second night was something unbelievable! The sky was clear most of the time, and people could do some serious stargazing! The background sky was pretty dark (NELM 6.6, SQM 21.3) altough it has been much darker, at least according to Veikko Mäkelä.

People were observing with their own instruments, but also the gigantic Astrofox -telescope (with 91 cm primary mirror) was in use, and many people could see some fascinating DSOs with that. I was also there watching some objects with Linda Laakso. The objects we saw were Messier 27, Messier 15 (+ Pease 1), Messier 31 & 32 and Veil nebula (at least part f it). The objects I observed and sketched with my own modest refractor were Messier 1 and Messier 101 with SN2011fe. And to be honest, this was my first supernova that I have ever seen! The supernova was visible as a 10 magnitude star in the southern edge of the galaxy.

All in all, the deep sky -meeting was really succesful and memorable event, big thanks for all you who made it possible!

Summary of obs session #11/11-12
Date: 24/25.9.2011
Time: 22.30-05.20
Place: Tähtikallio observatory, Finland
Instruments used: L102/1000mm
Objects observed: Messier 1, Messier 101 with SN2011fe
Conditions: NELM: 6.6, SQM: 21.32, + 6 °C, mostly clear sky, calm

Aurinkokuntatapaaminen 30.2.-1.2.2009

Ursan aurinko- ja kuu-planeetat-komeetat- jaostojen yhteinen tapaaminen järjestettiin Ursan Tähtikallion havaintokeskuksessa Artjärvellä 30.2.-1.2.2009.

Lauantain kuulimme esitelmiä seuraavista aiheista: komeettojen kirkkauskäyttäytyminen (Veikko Mäkelä), auringon suuret minimit (Jyri Lehtinen) ja maiseman valaistus auringonpimennyksen aikana (Lauri Kangas). Tämän lisäksi Antti Kuosmanen kertoi komeettojen CCD- kuvauksesta. Lisäksi lauantain ohjelmaan kuuluivat aurinkojaoston kokous ja tietysti sauna 🙂

Sunnuntai ohjelmassa oli vielä kuu-planeetat- ja komeetat- jaoston havaintokatsaus, joka koostui pääasiassa kauden 2007-2008 komeettahavainnoista. Toki mukana oli myös havaintoja suuremmista aurinkokunnan kappaleista.

Viikonlopun aikana vallitsi kaunis, talvinen pakkassää. Taivas oli selkeä molempina öinä, ja näinollen havaintoja olisi voitu tehdä. Kuitenkin allekirjoittanut oli lähtenyt matkaan hieman turhan pessimistisenä (ajatellen: kuitenkin on pilvistä) ja tämän vuoksi varustautuminen oli kovin puutteellista. Tämän vuoksi tyydyin vain ihailemaan tähtitaivasta evoluution tuottamien havaintovälineiden avulla ilman optis-teknillisiä lisälaitteita!

Tapaamisessa oli osalistujia hieman viimevuotista vähemmän, mutta tunnelma oli kuitenkin oikein rento ja leppoisa. Kiitoksia kaikille paikalla olleille onnistuneesta tapaamisesta!

Talvinen Tähtikallio – “Pohjolan Mauna Kea”

Tähtikallion monsteri – Euroopan suurin harrastajateleskooppi