The traditional popular astronomy event, Tähtipäivät (literally: Star days), was organized in village of Inari, Northern Finland in 21.-22. of March 2014. The event was organized by Ursa astronomical association (the national astronomical association of Finland) together with a local astronomy club Ochejohka Ursa. The theme of this event was Nieida käreg in Sami language or Neitokäräjät in Finnish. Nieida käreg means The Pleiades, which is the famous star cluster in the constellation of Taurus.
The venue site was called Sajos, which is a recently build conference center in village of Inari. The building is also the parliament house of the Sami parliament, which is the parliament of the Sami people, the indigenous people of Northern Scandinavia.
One of the main goals of Tähtipäivät events is to popularize astronomy and promote hobby of amateur astronomy. Thus, the programme of this event consisted of popularized lectures given by both professional- and amateur astronomers. Besides the scientific part of programme, also lots of artistic performances were included in the programme, especially in the evenings of the event. The participants were able to enjoy musical and theatrical performances! Also the nature itself organized it’s own performance: a nice display of Northern lights or aurora borealis was observed during the first night of the event!
The traditional Stella Arcti -awards were also granted during the second evening the event. Stella Arcti is an award granted by Ursa astronomical association as a recognition of important discovery made by amateur astronomer(s) or as a recognition of significant achievements within the field of amateur astronomy.
This year the award was granted to Antti Henriksson for his discovery of a new halo form, sun pillar’s circumzenithal arc or Henriksson’s arc. Henriksson made his discovery in Kittilä, Finland 18th of October, 2013. Stella Arcti -recognition of honor -awards were granted for Marko Mikkilä for his discovery of another new halo form, 32° arc, in Nivala, Finland 8th of July 2013. Stella Arcti -recognition of honor -award was granted also to a group of observers (Esko Lyytinen, Markku Nissinen and Harry Lehto) for their discovery of a convergence phenomena of the debris tail of comet 17P/Holmes. Marko Mikkilä, Markku Nissinen and Esko Lyytinen had already got the proper Stella Arcti -award for their earlier important discoveries.
In my opinion, the Tähtipäivät 2014 -event was a memorable and very succesfull! The event reached many people and visitors had came all over the Finland! At least more than hundred people visited the event during the weekend! It was fun to participate the event, and I’m sure that I will travel to Inari and other places in Northern Finland again in (hopefully not so far) future!
Tähtipäivät -amateur astronomy event was organized in Turku by Turun Ursa. The event site was at the University of Turku. In the event, there were lectures aimed to great audience given for example by Jari Mäkinen (science author), Hannu Karttunen (astronomer) and Marianna Ridderstad (archeoastronomer).
There was also a fair -type area, where different kinds of astronomy hobbyists and groups related to astronomy hobby were displaying and presenting their activities. Groups that were participating were: Salon Seudun UrSalo (amateur astronomy club in Salo, SW Finland), Deep Sky Section of Ursa, Alnilam (astronomy gift shop), Kirkkonummen komeetta (amateur astronomy club in Kirkkonummi, southern Finland), Jyväskylän Sirius (astronomy club in Jyväskylä, central Finland) and of course Turun Ursa and the national Ursa. There were also the transportable planetary of Ursa, where sky presentations were given.
The amount of public in the event was perhaps a slightly lower tha expected. The public lectures were quite popular, and some people were also interested in the fair displays, including the Deep Sky Section.
The Tähtipäivät evening celebration was orgnized in a place called Sinitaivssali (Blue sky hall), which is a place that has originally been a ceremony hall of Free masoners. The hall had a blue roof with stars in it! A really beautiful place! In the event, Stella Arcti -awards were given to three merited amateur astronomers. The award winning hobbyists this time were: Jani Lauanne and Aki Taavitsainen (category: notable observation) who had been able to photograph rare upper atmosphere lightning phenomenae for first time in Finland and Tapio Lahtinen (category: merits in long term observing work) for the merits of his amateur astronomical photography work.
In the celebration, a band called Sysiveljet were also performing their music. Their music was quite loud rock music, and it was perhaps a slightly unusual choice when considering the audience of the event.
After all, this Tähtipäivät -event (which was actually my first time to participate to Tähtipäivät) was very succesful and memorable event! I had a chance to meet old and new amateur astronomy colleagues and to present the Deep Sky Observing to people!
Astronomy and amateur astronomy will be in highlight in Turku during this weekend. Event called Tähtipäivät (Literally “Star days”) will be organized in Turku, Finland. The event will be organized by Turun Ursa, which is the local astronomy club in Turku. The event hot spot will be in the building of University of Turku. There will be several lectures for audience (by some leading astronomers in Finland) and also the amateur astronomy hobby scene in Finland will be highlighted. Also the Deep sky -section of Ursa will be attending this event. Me and Linda Laakso will be there presenting Deep sky section and demonstrating observing of deep sky objects.