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Ursa Astronomical Association


Impressive mother of pearl clouds in Enontekiö

18.1. The second PSC period of the winter began on Sunday, reports of clouds have come from Juva to Utsjoki. The picture below is from the finest show that Merja Paakkanen watched in Enontekiö on Monday. The first period took place a month ago on 15-17 December. Additionally, a single occurrence of PSC's was photographed on 23 December.

The best northern lights play in the winter brought even dunes

14.-15.1. Almost the whole of Finland experienced the northernmost play of northern lights so far. Some of the observers were able to see the rare northern lights, which provided more data to help the researchers. Congratulations to everyone who photographed the dunes. At the maximum stage of the play, the northern lights chandelier, which dominated the sky, was active and the sky was more than half covered by a fire. (Photo by Ida Andersson)

Intersection of Minnaert cigar on snow

12.1. Lasse Nurminen photographed a surface 22° halo with bright lamp. Instead of the lower part of the 22° halo around the lamp, a closed loop appears on the snow. This is the cut surface of a three-dimensional 22° halo called also as Minnaert cigar, and created due to the divergent light of the lamp. Nurminen's video shows how the loop of the 22 ° halo shrinks as he walks closer to the lamp and disappears when Minnaert's cigar no longer touches the snow surface.

Pioneering Finnish halo statistics from 2021

11.1. Petri Martikainen took it as his task to stack all halo display he saw last year. The stacked image typically brings out halos that are invisible to the human eye and one could say it tells the "truth" of the display. Now, based on theses stacks, Martikainen has published the numbers for individual halo occuurrences. The work is first of its kind in Finland and as an unique addition, Martikainen's list comes also with a comparison to what was visible to the naked eye.

A long-lasting smoke trail captured by meteor camera

10.1. Timo Kantola published a video of a shooting star and the long-lived smoketrail it left behind on 15 November last year. "What makes the case interesting is that the smoke of the meteorite can be observed in the pictures for about 20 minutes," writes Kantola, who wonders what material the meteor might have been.

Two images of Heart nebula

10.1. Here are two most recent views of the Heart Nebula in the constellation of Cassiopeia. On the left Antti Taskinen's early December, on the right Erik Pirtala's recent photo. 40 hours of exposure and 17 shooting nights broke Pirtala's previous records. “I was able to use automation to capture individual frames from small openings over several nights,” he writes. Taskinen gathered light for his image during one night, 8 hours in total.

A great night of Northern Lights 8/9 Jan

9.1. Observers were pumped up about the aurora show on Saturday night. Jari Ylioja, who took the image, says this was one of the best sets he has seen. “The bright substorm lasted almost an hour,” he writes. Some, who were under overcast skies but saw the promising satellite data, managed to see the lights after a car chase for a gap in the cloud.

Bright fireball in the evening of 6 January

7.1. As of now, there are 37 sightings of this Thursday night fireball in Vahti. Observation times vary, probably it was seen between 7:15 and 7:20 pm. A few people report a strong flash. "The finest fireball I've ever seen because of that brightening / explosion," writes Eija Saarni from Loppi. Despite abundant observations, no photographs of have yet surfaced.

A quartet of deep sky objects

4.1.Erik Pirtala fitted four different types of objects in the picture he exposed on midwinter nights. The center is dominated by a dark nebula Barnard 175 with a reflection nebula vdB 152 at its apex. In the lower right is the old planetary nebula DeHt-5. The red strands are supernova remnant SNR 110.3 + 11.3, which at 1300 light-years away from us is one of the closest of tis kind. Exposure time is 22 hours.

Patterned northern light in Sodankylä

4.1. Ritva Metsälampi saw in Sodankylä's Sattanen a peculiar aurora formation on 3. January. "Turbulent aurora began to emerge from the horizon, which quickly grew into a long segment which seemed to have several individual spherical parts", she writes. The attached images, which are taken at 00:28:28, 00:28:40 and 00:29:01, show the phenomenon's progression. In the last picture of the sequence on the right, the patterning has already disappeared. Exposures are 2.5 seconds.

Zeniitti 5/2021: Asteroids and satellite triangles

The last Zeniitti online magazine in 2021 was published on New Year's Eve. The magazine serves information about the Finland 100 Asteroids project, the lunar eclipse in November, satellite triangles and observations from the lunar terminator.  Images: Tähtikallio Observation Group, Mikko Peussa and Jari Kankaanpää.

Quadrandites peak tonight not interfered by moon

3.1. On the other hand, the cloud situation does not look auspicious. But should there be opening, a good time to watch is at 11 pm local time, which is the predicted maximum. The calculated number of shooting stars under optimal conditions is then 120. The peak is sharp, the time when the number of meteorides is more than half the maximum is only 4 hours long. Moon is not a problem because new moon was 2. Jan. In the photo are shooting stars captured by Satu Juvonen's camera during 2020 quadrantides.

Two reflection subsuns

28.12. Reflection subsun is never an easy catch, but some see them for the rest of us. The specimen on the right on 27.12. in Lieto was already the sixth for the sovereign ruler of the field, Matti Helin. Also Paula Mattila took a good standing by grabbing her second reflection subsun the day before in Turku (left image). The vast reflective surface of the sea seems to favor seeing the halo. Reflection from plain ice may also work for it.

James Webb as seen from Hankasalmi Observatory

26.12. The James Webb telescope, launched yesterday at 2.20 pm, was photographed 6 hours later at the Hankasalmi Observatory. Arto Oksanen published this picture taken at 8:15 pm, showing both the telescope itself (left) and the second phase of the Ariane launch vehicle (right). They are here at about 79,000 kilometers away from us. The final destination of the telescope, at a distance of one and a half million kilometers, will be reached in about a month.

Northern lights at the turn of the week

21.12. On the night between Sunday and Monday, northern lights were widely observed in the moon lit sky, with currently 15 sightings in Sky Warden. On the left is Kari Rytilahti's picture of the action in Pelkosenniemi, on the right Jari Ylioja's shot in Haapavesi. Both pictures were taken in the very minutes of the midnight.

Polar stratospheric clouds are here

17.12. Last winter's PSCs left a lousy show, but now the first ones photographed on the 15th and 16th December promise a better season. In the photo are Thursday's PSCs seen in Kurikka by Marko Myllyniemi.

Fireball made a "hole" in video recording

16.12. A circle associated with a fireball flash has sparked discussion in Sky Warden. The phenomenon is seen Tero Moilanen's camera recording on 6 December in Haukipudas. Suggestions such as a punch hole cloud created by fireball and a single drop or drops in the camera's protective glass have been brought forward. The slight angularity of the hole would appear point at an artifact, not a real phenomenon in the sky.

Outdoor light pillars in Kempele

10.12. The bout of diamond dusts seem to be now on retreat due to warming weather, so let's admire these outdoor light pillars by Marko Haapala in Kempele two days ago. Haapala was on the move for more than six hours from midnight on Wednesday until morning – on foot! The good thing about this was that jogging after the pillars didn’t get to freeze the man at the crispy below -20 C temperatures. Only the focal length adjusment of the lens got rather stiff, Haapala tells.

Three planets and the moon

8.12. Yesterday the weather allowed to admire the composition of three planets and the crescent moon visible in the southern sky after sunset. This picture was taken by Maria Rönni in Pori at 16.48. "In the crisp -17 degree frost, it was nice to watch the stars and planets appear in the sky," Rönni writes. The planets are, from left to right, Jupiter, Saturn and Venus.

Frosty weather mirages in Naantali

7.12. On Independence Day, Lasse Nurminen photographed mirages in Naantali in a brisk -15 C weather. The islands are just over seven kilometers away. The reflections on the ice come from crystal rosettes. Nurminen added a video of their flickering as wind trembled the thin blades.