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Ursa Astronomical Association

News 2023

Good northern lights again

19.9. September has been favorable in terms of northern lights. The third bigger show of the month arrived on 18/19.9. Sightings have arrived from the entire length of the country, from Enontekiö to Helsinki. Attached are Hanna Kanniala's and Mikko Lemola's pictures of Ii and Kouvola.

A fog arc in Hämeenkyrö

19.9. Mervi Ketola photographed an exceptionally spectacular arc of fog on Hämeenkyrö's Heinijärvi on Sunday. The series of images shows that the fog started to recede from behind the photographer. This is the optimal situation for the creation of a beautiful phenomenon when the sun shines brightly into the fog ahead.

Northern lights on the night before Wednesday

13.9. Apparently, the cloudiness situation dictated that observations of this display have only been east-oriented. In addition, one photo set has also come from Karigasniemi in the very north. Attached are pictures of Antti Taskinen and Jussi Koponen from Joensuu and Kuopio. A few observers also pointed out the mild weather for the time. "It was still warm at midnight, 18 degrees, and the lenses of the cameras didn't fog up at all," writes Petri Martikainen , who filmed at Juva.

September epsilon Perseids

11.9. The lesser-known September epsilon Perseids produced 13 tracks in the images of Harri Kiiskinen's camera on 8/9.9. at night. Parva had eruptions in 2008 and 2013, where many bright shooting stars were seen within a few hours. According to Esko Lyytinen's modelling, the next stronger maximum is not in sight before 2040, but since very little is known about the swarm, IMO it is worth keeping an eye on.

Comet Nishimura approaching perihelion

7.9. The comet discovered by the Japanese Hideo Nishimura on August 12 is expected to brighten as it reaches its closest position to the Sun on September 17. The observatory has observations of the comet on August 16. from both Finland and abroad. Attached is a photo of Petri Kuossar in Janakkala before dawn on September 7. According to the latest observations, Nishimura is 4.5 magnitude and the forecast is for a 2.5 magnitude surface perihelion.

Night cloud summer was on the waning side

30.8. Night clouds accumulated 39 pieces, which is the lowest catch in six years. And not many handsome ones were seen. Amounts dipped downwards, especially during August's meager 6 nights. This is Matali's reading in 12 years. The season ended on 19/20.8. into the night with Timo Alango's observation in Vaasa. In the previous two record-long seasons, the decision came on August 23/24, which is the latest night of observation of night clouds in Finland. The picture shows Antti Taskinen's views 10/11.8. Kontiolahti.

The Milky Way in the darkening nights

28.8. The Milky Way has already been photographed from late summer, here are two tent-themed interpretations. On the left is Teemu Holopainen's photo, which is a result of a trip at Pielavesi on August 19/20 night. "Only the lights of individual cabins could be seen with the naked eye while lying on the beach sand," he says. Satu Juvonen's more recent shot is from Ilomantsi 26/27.8. "The Milky Way glowed brightly before the mist creeping off the lake obscured the view," he writes.

Funnel clouds on Thursday

25.8. Observations of funnel clouds have been received from August 24. As shown by the pictures, Tero Lehtonen between Rauma and Uudenkaupunki on Pyhäranta and Laura Törnroos in Helsinki photographed funnel clouds. Lehtonen says that he actually saw several funnels, and the individual in the picture actually soon reached the surface of the water and began to stir it up.

Small cloud patch with big rarities in Lapland

24.8. The year's top-3 halo spectacles in high clouds have occurred in Lapland. The last of these was seen on 22.8 by Panu Lahtinen and Krista Wright in Sodankylä. The cloud was small, covering according to Lahtinen maybe about 2/8-3/8 of the sky. But among the halos seen there were veritable rarities in the high cloud category, most notably the Hastings arc, of which there are half a dozen observations in high clouds from around the world.

The Perseids whizzed by under clear skies

14.8. On the night of maximum Perseids on 12/13.8 it was a clear sky in southern Finland. Almost thirty sightings have arrived at Vaht. Harri Kiiskinen's meteor camera caught 103 Perseids in 3.5 hours, four times the number two nights ago. The preliminary ZHR value for optimal conditions calculated from the observations on the IMO website is 60-80 meteors per hour, which indicates a slightly downbeat maximum. In the picture made by Matias Takala shown is a collection of the perseids his camera caught.

A halo rarity in Juva

14.8. Among rare halos, the presence of the uppervex Parry in high cloud has gained its own special iconic status. Petri Martikainen's recent observation of the halo on 12.8 comes as continuation to single observations in 2022 and 2021. Martikainen also has other goodies, as show by the mirrored version of the stack here. The Parry-Lowitz orientation circular Lowitz arc tangenting uppervex Parry is an even more exceptional catch.

Horseshoe eddies and hole cloud

13.8. For a change, special clouds in the daytime sky. Matti Helin saw a collection of horseshoe clouds in Lieto on August 11, his second catch of the phenomenon. In Parainen the next day Markku Miettinen photographed a punch hole cloud.

Venus sickle from the daytime sky

8.8. Antti Taskinen photographed the narrow sickle of Venus at noon on August 7 in Joensuu. 2% of the planet's surface is illuminated. Inferior conjunction, the situation when the planet passes between Earth and Sun, is on August 13. During the passing Venus is 7 degrees south of the sun. After that, the planet becomes a morning star. Nicolas Lefaudeux has presented in detail the inferior conjunction he photographed in 2020. Venus passed within 0.5 degrees of the edge of the sun.

The first Perseids observed

7.8. According to the IMO, the Perseids begin already in mid-July, in Finland sightings start to arrive in August. In 2021 and 2022, the first ones were reported 3/4 and 2/3 August, this year a little later with the first observations, by Vasa VasankariTimo Alanko and Harri Kiiskinen, coming from the 5/6. night. Shown is a bright Perseid from this night at 01:33 as captured by Kiiskinen's automatic camera in Jyväskylä.

Surprise brightened comet 12P Pons-Brooks

1.8. Comets know how to surprise. Such was the case with 12P Pons-Brooks, which  brightness rose five magnitudes overnight on July 20, from about 17 to 12. Now the watchmen of Taivaanvahti have set their sights on the target also in Finland, Rauno Päivinen's picture from the night att the turn of the month shows its current horn-head shape. The comet was discovered as early as 1812 and it has an orbit of 71 years. It will be closest to the sun next spring, but will have moved to the southern sky by then.

July night clouds

1.8. The month has turned page and NLC nights are starting be imbued with wistfulness of season's end. There were a few good shows at the end of July, but what about the numbers? 25 nights brought the all-time (1995->) second place, one less than last summer. The balance of 33 for the whole summer is worse in comparison, last year at this stage there were 39 sets. So it won't be record summer but third place is possible. The photo was taken by Jani Virtanen in Lohja on 27/28.7.

The funnel cloud grew and withered away in Ilmajoki

1.8. Meteorologists have talked about favorable conditions for tornadoes now, because there are strong differences in the strength of the winds in different layers. Mauri Korpi was 30.7. attentively in Ilmajoki when noticing a funnel cloud, i.e. tornado that does not touch the ground, though there is the caveat that the funnel is blocked by trees. Korpi followed the phenomenon until the end and got a good series of its life cycle. Six and a half minutes passes from the first to the last picture.

Arcus cloud in Kalajoki

1.8. There have been a lot of observations in the categories of storm phenomena in recent days. Arcus clouds are of course one of the most spectacular of them. Juha Salo caught this roll in the fields of Kalajoki, Himanka, on the last day of July. "Then quite a lightning show started," he writes.

Trombi on Haukivesi 28.7

30.7. The third whirlwind day of the year was on Friday, when a tornado descended from a low-hanging cloud and churned the surface of the water north of Savonlinna. Sakari Ekko, who took the picture at Haukivesi, says that the cloud disappeared in a few minutes.

Tornado cloud on Vieremä on Friday

30.7. There was dark and ragged drama in the passing arcus cloud in Vieremä two days ago. "I saw a storm cloud from the window at 3:13 p.m., I immediately went outside to take pictures in the field," says Riitta Kumpulainen. As is typical, a strong wind rose up and it started to rain as well. In Kumpulainen's observation, there is another picture of the cloud's roll shape a minute earlier.

Fairytale Moon in the evening of Naantali

29.7. The cottony clouds and the Moon conjured dreamlike visions in the Naantali sky on Friday evening for Terhi Virjonen pick up by her camera. Only a crescent Moon and this would have been undistinguishable from the Dreamworks logo.

Splendid halos in the morning at south-west

29.7. When in June there were two very strong halosets week apart in Lapland, the same pattern has been repeated in June in southern part of the country, if maybe in a little muted form. The first was seen on 22.7 on the Vaasa-Mikkeli line and today 29.7 in the very southwestern corner, in Utö island, from which a morning picture of Sami Poimala is shown. The halos were also somewhat less brilliantly visible in the Turku region, and more pictures may still be coming from others.

Poles and trombi in a rainbow in Lappeenranta

28.7. Three weather pictures from the previous days. From Lappeenranta, we received from an anonymous photographer a photo of torndao on 27 July, which Ilta-Sanomat had more comprehensive material to offer. Then there is likewise from an anonymous observer a picture of spectacular cloud rays in a rainbow from Jyväskylä on 26.6. The collage is completed by Marko Myllyniemi's shot of the dark twists of an arcus cloud passing over on 27.7. In Kurikka.

Beautiful night of NLCs Mon-Tue

26.7. It took a long time for the first spectacular set of night clouds to arrive this summer, but it finally arrived on Tuesday night. Observations have arrived from about twenty photographers, Matti Helin's shot from Lieto at 2:37 on Tuesday gives an example. And although the quality has not been flattering, in July we still got a good 18-night streak, which was only one night shorter than the record in 2021. The pipe was cut on 23/24.7 night, which saw only negative observations.

Halos from between the low clouds on Friday

22.7. A warm front pushing in from the east brought better halos over Finland, but the low clouds were disturbing. In the best places full parhelic circle was visible and basic rarities fell to half a dozen observers in the form of the 120° parhelion and Parry arc. In one locality, a weak Lowitz arc was also captured. The observations were limited to a rather small area on the Vaasa-Mikkeli line. Photographers from top left: Erkki Tervola, Lapua; Jukka Laakso, Mänttä; Kimmo Höykinpuro, Laihia; Jaakko Alakopsa, Isokyrö.

Funnel clouds in the southwest

21.7. The summer's first observations of cloud whirlwinds came to Taivaanvahti from Mikko Peussa on June 19. From Turku and Sanna Kinnunen on 20.6 from Pori. The picture shows the view on the horizon of Pori, Kinnunen says she saw several embryonic funnels from the rain clouds. The year 2020 offered a lot of whirlwinds, the next two very few. Perhaps this year it will be better. The season lasts well into autumn. Taivaanvahti's latest observation is Seija Oikarinen's funnel cloud on October 4, 2020 in Helsinki .

A rainbow in the late evening in Nurmes

19.7. Eero Karvinen took on 18.7 quick snap of a calm and serene rainbow scene. In the weather forecast of the Finnish Meteorological Institute there are plenly enough blue rain bars far ahead to have photographing opportunities for rainbows. If there is a body of water in front or behind and surface is relatively calm, there are also the seams for rare reflection rainbows.

Thorin vasara Auringossa

19.7. Petrus Kurppa tells that the protuberance on 14.6 was perhaps the fastest of the season. "This one started out sort of like Thor's hammer, making exciting changes throughout the day." The attached clip covers an approximately three-hour episode from observations 9 am to 4 pm. "With such spectacular outbursts, you either have to remain calm or it becomes as hassle," Kurppa writes. This time, according to him, it was somewhere in between.

Crescent moon on a summer night

17.7. Markku Ruonala writes that his NLC observations in Akaa on the Monday night were not catching up, so there was time to search for a narrow crescent moon on the horizon. The sickle was then found above the ragged edge of low clouds.

Night cloud shows are getting better

13.7. NLCs are starting to feel like July - getting dazzle into them as the summer nights deepen. The photo is from Masku on 11/12.7 where Petri Mäkinen watched the clouds for two hours. The July mood is there also in terms of quantities, because there are now 8 nights in a row. If the streak continued until the end of July, it is possible to compete with the last summer's record numbers. But August should come good as well.

Rainbow and lightning

11.7. Sometimes pictures arrive at Taivaanvahti where two phenomena make a rare joint appearance. Henrik Heikkinen has now left an observation on 28.6 of rainbow with lightning. Similar documents can be found on the internet, but this is not easy for any single pair of eyes. Heikkinen managed to photograph his rainbow actually accompanied by three consecutive flashes of lightning. All-sky lens helps in getting a joint portrait.

A big dot rolling into view

9.7. After one spectacular Sunspot has receded, a new plush case has emerged from behind the edge. AR3363 little 7.7. photographer Tero Sipinen commented on its shape reminiscent of Manderbrot's group. The attached photos were taken on 8.7. Petrus Kurppa and Marko Myllyniemi .

Lightning on a summer night

9.7. Miko Parantainen got this lightning photo on the night between Friday and Saturday at 00:52. "After midnight, cells developed on the Viitasaari-Kuopio line, which formed an almost stationary front," he says about the clouds, which were about 50 kilometers away from the observation tower in Äänekoski that served as a observing station.

June night clouds

3.7. In the previous five years, the NLC count in June has been 11-13 nights. Now we got stuck at 8. It is still not a bad number, in 2017 there were only 4 nights and even skimpier Junes have been encountered. Three of the nights now were thanks to one observer only. These weak cases were picked up by Pentti Arpalahti. In the photo is Mikko Peussa's view of the Turku horizon on 28/29 night.

Thunderstorms of the past few days

1.7. The weather turning cool ended a several-day period of thunderstorms. Here is a selection from the category "picture of a nice thunder cloud". Top left, Juha Raahensalo's shot on 27.6. In Turku at sunset, on the right Minna Gladin 28.6. in Kuopio. Bottom row pictures 29.6. On the left, Vesa Vauhkonen's views in Rautalammi, on the right Eero Karvinen's in Nurmekse.

Winter and spring observations in Zeniit

In issue 2/2023, the just-published star hobby online magazine Zeniitti presents summaries of winter and spring observations: the observation periods of Mars and Jupiter, the lively rocket spring and halo April.

Lightning carved stripes in the pine tree

27.6. Taivaanvahti has some reports of trees being struck by lightning. Suvi Karhu did not see the lightning that struck on 25.6. in Vantaa, but heard its sound. With the help of the FMI's lightning data, she was able to locate the lightning's target, which turned out to be a pine tree. In 2022, Petri Martikainen went out to search for the target of the lightning he photographed 2,2 kilometers away, which also turned out pine.

St. Elmo's fire on a wing of the plane

23.6. Elmo's fire is the super-rarity among the phenomena collected in Skywarden. Jani Poikela got lucky on a flight on June 21st, when an electric sparkle started flickering on the wing after the plane dived into the anvil of a thundercloud above Texas. A screenshot from the video he took shows one such flash. Poikela is already an old hand at Elmo's fires. Ten years ago he saw three flagpoles flash during a thunderstorm, which is the only other observation of the phenomenon in Skywarden.

So far calm in the NLC sky

20.6. The NLCs have kept a low profile in June, but perhaps the third display of the month received on 19/20 night foreshadows a beginning of tighter pace. By this stage two years ago there had been only one more night of night clouds, last summer two. So 2023 is still game to rise to the level of these peak years. In the picture, Georg Kieninger's outlook on Tuesday's first hour in Helsinki.

All-sky display in Lapland on Sunday

19.6. Halo year 2023 is cracking up to become one of the best in times. Only a week had passed since the previous hard set when another one hit, again in Lapland. Shown is one of the photos taken by Voitto Pitkänen while driving from Inari to Karigasniemi.

Reddened skies from Canadian forest fires

16.6. The sunsets and sunrises were red-tinged a few days ago as the smoke from Canadian wildfires crossed the Atlantic and reached us. In the picture Marko Haapala took on the evening of 14.6. in Oulu also a pine pollen corona is present.

Flight AY1751 and Aurinko

9.6. Ben Kalland continued the Sun and airplane theme with a more unusual variation, when Finnair's Airbus joined the sunspot photographing session on Friday. Kalland writes that if he had left out the Barlow lens, the whole plane would have fit in the picture.

Pollen coronas put on their best now

9.6. Pine pollen coronas reached spectacular glory on Thursday in the southern part of the country. Aki Karjalainen took pictures after 22:00 at Nokia. The starting dry and sunny weather offers now good opportunities for seeing pollen rings in a wider area of Finland. Based on the weather forecast, the days also seem to be windy enough to dust pollen off the trees well.

A doubled rainbow in Oulu

9.6. From time to time, the main rainbow can be seen doubled. This is what Sirkka Karppinen encountered on Thursday in Oulu. It's the second observation of kind in 2023, a month earlier Pentti Arpalahti photographed a one in Helsinki. In simulations twinning is achieved by using slightly flattened droplets. The next level achievement is to photograph a tripled case, some of which have been seen abroad.

Night cloud summer has now started

5.6. The first NLCs of the summer were seen on the Monday night. Exceptionally, there were clouds up to the zenith. "The season got off to a great start, although of course the clouds were dim because of the bright sky," says Pentti Arpalahti, who took the photo in Helsinki. He also verified the authenticity of the clouds using a polarizing filter. Last year resulted in in record 53 NLC night. This year it will be of course full throttle observing, but the conditions need to be also favourable. 

Negs still rule the NLC sky

3.6. While waiting for the start of the NLC season, the mood thickens in the form of negative observations. The most recent negs are now from June, when Pentti Arpalahti and Paula Wirtanen (photo) checked the situation on the Friday night. Although last year's start happened no earlier than June 6/7, it ensued as the most best year as measured by the number of NLC nights when the season was called a wraps with the final show on August 23/24.

Pine pollen coronas in the sky

3.6. The period of birch pollen coronas is behind us and the turn of the pine, which ends the season, is at hand. Mikko Peussa told the pine was dusting effectively as he photographed the phenomenon on 30.5 in Turku. He paid attention to the variation in the intensity of the corona. "The third zone veritably flushes on from time to time and disappears just as quickly," Peussa writes, suspecting that windy weather enhances the effect.

Moon and airplane

2.6. Getting an airplane to the foreground of the Moon is not easy. Matti Helin, who lives in Lieto, had been waiting for his own opportunity for 10 years. When a promising-looking situation came up on May 30, he was feeding the cats. Maybe not the best starting point for a situation that requires a quick reaction, but luckily the camera bag happened lie next to him. After the photos were taken, there was still the apprehension about quality. All copacetic. "I was happy," writes Helin.

Skimpy rainbow spring's show in the evening of Akaa

30.5. Markku Ruonala tells in his rainbow observation on 28.5. that the supply of the phenomenon has been on the cards this year. Skywarden's statistics agree. From 2012, in the period from 1 January to 28 May, rainbows in Finland were seen on maximum of 20 days (2016), minimum of 10 days (2013 and 2019). This year only 8 rainbow days were reported on this period.

Subsun from wingsuiting jump

28.5. Glories and fogbows are the basic imagery of wingsuiting. A rarer prop is represented by the bright subsun that Vesa Toropainen saw above Utti on 27 May. This was made possible by the jump taking place over a crystal cloud that had been left over by a dead rain shower cloud.

The most summery aurora borealis on July 2000

27.5. Jorma Koski left a report about the aurora borealis he saw on 16.7.2000 in Porvoo. At the time the pictures were published in SpaceWeather on the same day. Their occurrence 596 hours from the summer solstice (according to 1:00 a.m.) single-handedly improves "the most summery" record for the Finnish northern lights in Skywarden, which has been 912 hours (July 29, 2016). The aurora were of the most powerful G5 category. "My head spinned like a top", Koski says.

Fireball on Tuesday night

24.5. A fireball that flew at 23:44 on Tuesday was spotted west of the Kokkola-Jyväskylä-Kotka line. Fifty sightings have so far arrived at the Skywarden. The attached screenshots are from Juha-Matti Kaataja's car camera video. Juha Ala-aho in Vaasa didn't manage to photograph the fireball, but captured its smoke trail with a mobile phone. "The smoke was visible for two minutes before it completely dissipated," he says.

Protuberance extends on the edge of the Sun

24.5. Another quality view to our central star, this time by Samuli Vuorinen, who in Kirkkonummi took on Monday his Lunt LS50THa telescope and a Player One Neptune-M camera to photograph a long protuberance. "I started the timelapse shooting on the balcony while continuing to do remote work at home," he writes. In Vuorinen's observation is a video of the situation.

No noctilucent clouds yet

24.5. The night cloud season usually starts in June in Finland. Statistics dating back to 1995 show that, on average, every third year the start takes place in May. Pentti Arpalahti scanned the Helsinki skyline with his camera on the 23/24.5 night. Below 10 degrees, there is streakiness, which cannot really be interpreted as NLCs and is more naturally explained by distant dust-cloud and cloud layers, he writes in the negative observation he left in the system.

Protuberances in excellent condistion

20.5. Good sun weather continues. Top notch seeing in the morning of 19.5 allowed Ben Kalland to use the maximum focal length in Porkkala to capture the protuberances of the Sun. "Two arcseconds seeing is good, if you go over that the image starts to vibrate in front of your eyes," writes Kalland. In this session, the Solar Scintillation Monitor measured minute averages below 1 and momentarily 0.25. Also in Tampere Tapio Lahtinen photographed the sun later in the day.

Strong Wegener arcs in Oulu

19.5. May continues to churn out quality halo displays. Now it was Oulu's turn, where Lauri Kangas was alert when the halos suddenly appeared in the sky shortly before nine in the morning. On the opposite side, we see Wegener anthelic arcs, and in the post-examination a subhelic arc, that diagonally intersects the 120° parhelion, was also found. A better-than-usual set was also offered in Kurikka in the form of almost full tanarc.

A medium-sized flare in the Sun

18.5. Of course, the sun is closely monitored by the Skywarden watchmen, and sometimes seeing allows for better shots than usual. In Porkkala in the morning of 18 May the atmosphere was calm as Ben Kalland photographed the spot regions. In this image, where the Sun's surface is almost palpable, a C-class flare erupts from the spot region AR3310. Kalland says that an hour later a larger M-class flare was seen, which he did not manage to photograph.

Subhelic arc on 17.5 in Juva and other halo shows

18.5. Petri Martikainen photographed a display in Juva on Wednesday with an all-sky lens for 10 minutes and got Wegener arc and subhelic arc (arrows) out of the stack. The latter is already a respectable catch. The full circumscribed halo that Martikainen caught the day before is not bad either. Third from the Juva halo observatory is the stack of the 11.5 display, which shows e.g. 24° plate arcs and segments of the associated halo.

Spring dust swirls in the fields

16.5. Dry and sunny days have warmed the air above the ground, creating swirls of dust. Pia Simonen videoed a one in Orimattila on the 11th. Two days later, an anonymous person recorded a dust devil in Karkkila with a drone. It lifted up a piece of plastic covering the field.

Skywarden's latest aurora borealis

14.5. Terhi Törmälä's faint aurora rays half an hour after midnight on 14.5 in Lappeenranta moved the phenomenon's Finnish lateness record in Taivaanvahti forward five nights. If on the other hand we look at what is the most summery observation, then Pirjo Koski's and Matti Helin's reports of July 29 2016 northern lights take first place. They saw aurora 912 hours from the summer solstice versus 930 hours for Törmälä's, which were too dim for visual.

A curious colored cloud and reflection subsun

14.5. Pia Simonen published a picture from May 13 of a tuft of irisdescent cloud she saw. Its exceptional fibrous structure was also noted in comments. A second reflection subsun of the year was caught on May 10 in Tampere. "The clouds, the sun and the calm surface of Lake Näsijärvi were just right during the morning coffee," writes Ilpo Hyvärinen, who left the observation. Spotting the reflection subsun really requires several factors to fall in place.

Halos in the spring sky

11.5. Alonside the warmer weather better than usual ice crystals populated the upper troposphere. In Turku halos from pyramidal crystals were visible on 9.5, the display in Mikko Peussa's photo is dominated by 18 halo and 23° parhelia. The next day was the turn for more traditional complex without odd radius halos. Several sightings have arrived, the best going was in Tampere, where Ville-Aleksi Alatalo took the other shown photo.

Late aurora borealis in Turku

9.5. There are fewer sightings of aurora in May in Taivaanvahti. Mikko Peussa's observation last night in Turku equals the observation system's latest sighting from 2014. At that time the northern lights were photographed in Kempele and Kuusamo where the night sky is brighter. The skies of southern Finland should therefore allow still to stretch the season a bit further. "Maybe a few more nights, but that's it," writes Peussa.

Birch pollen ring and 9° column arcs

9.5. From when the first pollen corona was seen on 7.4. they have been reported about every 10 days and it is not clear at what point the alder changed to birch. Now we are firmly on birch. Attached are pictures of Paula Mattila and Markku Siljama from 7.5. in Turku and 8.5 in Mäntyharju. On 7.5. Olli Sälevä photographed the rare 9 ° column arcs in Rovaniemi and Petri Martikainen saw parhelia in Juva.

Maintenance break coming on Tuesday

Tuesday 9.5. from 6 p.m. maintenance work will be done at Skywarden. In this context, the system is temporarily unavailable. The changes aim to improve the performance of the observation service during momentary load peaks during sky phenomena. Due to the maintenance break, the accessibility of the system may still be disrupted on Wednesday.

The lunar eclipse was visible in Ulvila

7.5. Penumbral lunar eclipse remains was visible on Friday evening. "The moon would rise only after the deepest phase, so visibility would require an unobstructed southeast horizon and clear weather," writes Jarkko Laukkanen, who went to the Ulvila observatory with friends to try the event. Although clouds were present, the eclipse could be seen: there was a noticeable difference in brightness between the upper and lower part of the moon, Laukkanen tells.

Rainbows and halos in the spring sky

3.5. The first rainbows of the year were seen on 1.3. and 12.4. and more came at the end of last month. The upper photo was taken on 30.4. by Aarne Hagman in Savonlinna, lowerby  Mervi Juntunen in Mikkeli. The lower one of the halos on the right was captured by Sebastian Sainio in Mustasaari on 3.5. The sky is cut by parhelic circle, which has 120° parhelion as brightening. The parhelion above it was captured by Matti Puranen on 29.4. in Mikkeli.

Early water surface dewbow in Lappeenranta

30.4. Risto Vättö saw rainbow colors on water in Lappeenranta on April 27. This is a short segment of dewbow, the relative of rainbow. On the water surface lies a raft made of some kind of substance on which light-refracting and reflecting water droplets have condensed. The typical time is July-August. That is when a lot of different stuff floats in the water, such as insect shells. The best dewbows are seen in the spore floes of the irregularly occurring Chrysomyxa ledi needle rust.

Northern Lights 23/24. April

24.4. The skies are getting lighter, but the northern lights are still raging. The show on Monday night, the vestiges of which were seen as far as 45 degrees latitude in Slovenia, have so far collected twenty sightings in Vahti. Jukka Kytömäki, who took the photo, drove in Mäntyharju 30 kilometers south to a get a clearer sky. "There was corona many times and plenty of color variation," he writes.

Lyrids maximum on the night of 22/23.4 observed

24.4. The weather was favorable for spotting the Lyrid meteors. On the maximum night between Saturday and Sunday, Harri Kiiskinen's three fireball cameras each recorded a little over 20 shooting stars belonging to the shower in just over three hours. The amount was twice as much as the previous 21/22 night. On the night of 20/21, the catch was two lyrids in two hours. Pictured is a lyrid seen by Mikko Peussa during the peak night.

Crescent moon in Turku night

22.4. In Turku, a crescent moon floated over the city on the evening of April 21, a day after the new moon. At the time the photo was snapped at 10:56 p.m., 3.1 percent of our satellite was lit. The photo was taken by Ismo Luukkonen .

A better odd radius display on Friday

22.4. A cavalcade of halos from pyramid crystals was served at Juva. The mirrored stack by Petri Martikainen on 21 April comprises 100 images over a period of 16 minutes. The 9, 20, 24 and 35° halos stand out particularly well. Out of 24 sky halo displays photographed by Martikainen this year 11 have included odd radius halos. Weaker odd radii was visible in Juva also on Thursday with Turku pitching in as well.

Northern lights on the night before Wednesday

19.4. Based on previous years, the aurora borealis seen on the night between Tuesday and Wednesday hardly ended the season, but we are getting already near. "It's nice to watch these in an almost summer night like ambience when no cold is to discomfort either," writes Mikko Peussa , who took the picture in Rusko at 11:53 p.m.

Juice probe in the sky after launch

15.4. On Friday, Arto Oksanen turned the Hankasalmi remotely operated telescope towards the probe sent on its way to Jupiter. The photo was taken in the evening around 11 pm, seven hours after launch when Juice was 120,000 kilometers from Earth. The second streak is the Ariane launch vehicle. There are new opportunities for photographing Juice when it takes gravity assist from Earth three times over the next six years.

First observations of thunderclouds

14.4. The progress of spring has spawned the first thunder clouds. Observers reported to Skywarden about the clouds seen on April 12 and 13, which produced thunder and lightning. The shown cloud was photographed by Mikko Peussa in Turku on Tuesday.

11.4. missile test in the White Sea

12.4. Late on Tuesday evening 11.4. from 23:30 to 23:45 a clear triangular cloud formation was seen near the eastern border. It was a fuel cloud left in the sky after a missile test in the White Sea. Ballistic missiles go from hundreds to thousands of kilometers. That's why the launches are visible over a wide area like space rocket launches. Observations from the missile test are requested using the Rare cloud types form. Choose 'Rocket launch' as the phenomenon. The picture shows Keijo Lehtimäki's shot from Kuusamo .

Mercury is visible in the spring sky

11.4. A small twinkling of Mercury can be seen after sunset this April, and the planet has been the target of several sky watchers. Jarkko Laukkanen 8.4. In the picture taken in Rauma, the object is visible above the biggest dark cloud. Binoculars help in spotting, but several observers report seeing the planet with their naked eyes.

Alder pollen corona seen - next birch

8.4. One optical phenomena season has been opened when Aija Heikkilä spotted in Luumäki on April 7 a pollen corona. The source is the alder, it produces the first coronas before birch and then pine. However, birch rests every other year and its coronas are consequently non-descript. This was the case last year, so this year the birch flowering, which starts around May Day, should be more abundant and make more impressive coronas.

24° halos in the Turku region

5.4. Lasse Nurminen has been diligently photographing morning surface halos in Raisio and Naantali. The above pair of pictures was taken 31.3, below pair 4.4. On the left maximum stacks, right average stacks. The average stack of both plays revealed 24° halo. Although this is often considered a rare halo, it is common in stacked surface halo displays. And that it is not that rare visitor even in stacked sky halo displays.

3.4. Fireball

3.4. around 22:10 a fireball was seen over Finland and Sweden again. The Nordic fireball networks are also investigating this case. All those who saw the fireball are again asked to record their observation on the fireball form . About 100 observations of the spectacular fireball have already arrived. (Photo Taivaanvahti / Google Maps)

2.4. Fireball

2.4. at 21:23 at Finnish local time, a bright fireball was seen in the sky. This exceptional shooting star was visible in Finland, Sweden and Norway. The nordic meteor networks are investigating the case. Anyone who has seen this bright meteor is asked to send an observation report by using the fireball form. During the evening, the Skywarden has already received 550 observations of the fireball. Picture: Eva Hästdal

29.3. Rocket launch from Plesetsk

28.3. On Wednesday 29.3. after 23:00 it was again possible to witness a rocket launch, when the Soyuz 2.1v launched from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome took a reconnaissance satellite into space. Even though the launch site is located 500-1200 km from Finland, the launch was seen in most parts of Finland. You can send an observation about the launch by using the Rare clouds form. The picture shows the launch as witnessed by Reija Smith, Pyhtää Finland.

M78 in the Orion constellation

28.3. Spring is progressing, but there is still time for deep sky sessions. Jussi Koponen published a picture of the reflection nebula M78 in the constellation Orion, located a more than thousand light years away from us. Koponen tells the picture has 8 hours of exposure. A lot of files have gone to waste. "The target is really challenging", he writes.

Rocket launch on Thursday evening

24.3. The barium cloud experiment that took place in Kiruna, Sweden had been expected since March 12 and in the evening of March 23. it finally happened. "Many evenings were spent in vain, but this evening rewarded," writes Jani Päiväniemi , who took the photo in Kuusamo's Käylä. The weather favored seeing the event, sightings have come from all over Finland. At the same time, spectacular aurora borealis were also blowing in the sky.

Markarian chain in spring night

20.3. Tero Hiekkalinna made a star photography trip to the Vironlahti in mid-March. The target was a group of galaxies called the Markarian chain. It curves from the middle to the upper left in the picture. The galaxies are part of the larger Virgo cluster, which includes about 2,000 galaxies.

Northern lights on the Thursday night

17.3. Twenty photographers have dropped in Skywarden their shots of the aurora on Thursday night. Only from southern Finland was represented this time, it was cloudy in the north. The shown picture was taken by Pirjo Koske after 1 o'clock on Thursday in Laitila. During the same hours in Juva, Petri Martikainen took stereo images with cameras located five kilometers apart. "It worked out surprisingly well for the first time," he writes.

12-22.3. A possible rocket launch in the nort

A rocket lounch will happen between 12.3.-22.3. from the Esrange space center in Kiruna, Sweden. The launch takes place between 19:30 and 20:40 on an evening that is as clear and windless as possible. So the exact launch time is not yet known. The launch will be best visible in Northern Finland, but from a completely unobstructed and clear observation site, it can be seen low on the horizon even as far as the Tampere - Sundsvall line. Observations of the launch are collected using the Rare clouds -form, from which "Rocket launch" is selected as the main target. The picture in the news is Tytti Mørkvedi's shot of a previous rocket launch from Andøya in Norway.

Elliptical halo and circumzenith arcs on Monday

7.3. This year's second elliptical halo was visible on Monday in Kuusamo's Käylä. Jani Päiväniemi's observation was the result of experience, he writes that the conditions were such that an ellipse could very well appear. On the same day, there were also better-than-usual circumzenith arcs in the sky across Finland. The shown photo of this halo was taken by Heidi Joupperi in Vantaa, at the heads-up from a kindergarten child.

Venus and Jupiter close together in the evening sky

4.3. The weather was favorable for photographing the encounter between Venus and Jupiter. The planets were closest to each other on the evening of 1.3, when they had a distance of about 0.7 degrees. The photos of Pirjo Koski and Markku Ruonala show the couple on the horizons of Laitila and Vesilahti on 1 and 2 March. "Many planetary encounters one has observed, this was one of the most impressive," says Ruonala.

A bright fireball flew over central Finland

28.2. in the evening at 20:50 a spectacular fireball was seen overcentral Finland. Ursa's fireball task force is investigating the case and more observations can be sent in by using the fireball form . So far, there have been more than 200 reported sightings of the fireball. Photo by Marko Haapala

Splendid aurora borealis at the turn of the week

28.2. Northern lights have been seen three nights in a row since Saturday night. On the night between Sunday and Monday, they shone exceptionally spectacularly. From the observations left by almost sixty photographers in Skywarden from that night, shown are Mari Jääskeläinen's and Satu Juvonen's shots from Pyhäjärvi and Lieksa. "I quite had to gasp for breath at that corona", says Juvonen.

Jupiter, Moon and Venus met

23.2. On Wednesday evening, the trio of heavenly bodies were close to each other and a target of numerous photographers. From the shots putting it one better over the other, selected here is Jarkko Alatalo's study on the subject in Raahe, where a thin high cloud gave a soft veil around the objects.

Nice diamond dust halos in Åre

22.2. On the Swedish side, the best diamond dust halo shows seem to be able to inject even more power into the game than in Finland. This display seen in Åre on Tuesday is yet another example of the neighboring country's great serving. The photos were taken by Mikko Töykkälä and Heli Molund. Diamond dust halos were also visible in Finland on the same day, but they congealed to the level of mere pillars and lower suns.

Recent observations at Taivaanvahti

17.2 . The northern lights on the left are the harvest of the corona mass eruption from the evening of the 15th, they were photographed in Kokkola by Sami Mutka . Above it is the cloud arc seen by Antti Taskinen in Joensuu and below Valtteri Suurinkeroinen's fog arc seen by drone in Lahti. On the right, on the other hand, there are twilight rays drawn in pearly clouds the night before and the zodiacal light seen later. They were photographed by Pirjo Koski in Laitila and Pyhäranta.

Northern lights on the Saturday night

14.2. Pictures have been dribbling to Skywarden from the aurora borealis visible as far as southern Finland at 10/11.2. night. Pasi Tuomainen, who spent his vacation at Posio, was able to photograph their splendour in the landscape of frost covered trees of Riisitunturi. "Really bright blaze, I could see with my own eyes how the shadow of these funny trees kept changing direction," he writes.

Mars and comet ZTF side by side

12.2. Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF), the absolute number one in the night sky, and Mars were closest to each other on Saturday. Jorma Mäntylä , who took the photo, says that the glare from Mars prevented seeing the comet with the naked eye. He had visually distinguished it the night before, when the celestial bodies were further apart.

A dazzling display in Kontiolahti on Saturday

12.2. Eastern Finland has been pampered with quality diamond dust again, this time the halos were visible in Kontiolahti. Of the three photographers who left a report, show is Matti Pölönen's photo. He became busy to look for an open shooting location when the car dived in icy fog. It is a typical snow gunning originated display, very likely from the biathlon stadium storage snow making. Another possibility would be from the slopes of Mustavaara ski center.

Two lighthouses and the Milky Way

11.2. In September of last year, Atte Ahola traveled with his cameras to the Estonian island of Saaremaa. "The Milky Way and, with that in mind, the rather dark skies according to the light pollution map enticed me to go," he writes in the observation he has now submitted to Taivaanvahti. The island's lighthouses were chosen as props for the starry sky, and as a final touch, a friend holding a lantern.

Muonio struck again with a PSC - aurora combo

9.2. Once it has been seen once, the next one usually doesn't have to wait long. Last winter, Jani Laasanen took the first ever photos of the co-occurrence of PSCs and northern lights. And now, a little more than a year later, Seija Olkkonen has captured a similar combo. Interestingly, both observations came from Muonio. Western Lapland is the best region of Finland for PSCs, offering the best seams for such an observation.

Halos around the Sun and lamp

7.2. The cold weather has spawned diamond dusts again. This winter Nilsiä seems to have been a particularly good place because it gave on 6 Feb already another quality display in daylight, as shown by the picture on the left taken by Hanna Hyvönen. On the evening of the fourth day of the month, Marko Mikkilä and Jari Luomanen were on Himose chasing ice fog halos, getting some nice results in beam of a bright lamp. Luomanen's picture on the right is from this trip.

Mirage in Kokkola

7.2. There haven't been any pictures of the mirages for a while, but Pentti Ketola caught a nice set in Kokkola on Monday. "I headed for the sea ice when the first favorable frosty weather was merciful after the dark autumn," he says.

A successful halo trip to Jämsä

30.1. Jari Luomanen, who drove to Jämsä to hunt diamond dust halos from snow guns, returned with an exceptional catch. In the lamp beam an odd form in resemblance of angel wings appeared flanking the pillar. It bears similarity to "sun pillar echoes", a halo of an unknown origin based only on two previous observations. In addition, in some of the other Luomanen's images the 22° ring would seem to be surrounded by a weird upward tapering arc.

Comet ZTF is visible barely with the naked eye

29.1 . Ten observers have reported C/2022 E3 (ZTF) in the "head of the comet with the naked eye" category. "With eyes the comet's head stood out with difficulty after a long time of adaptation," says Aleksi Ruotsila from Äänekoski (photo). The comet may still brighten, but the best viewing window is closing due to the Moon. In the next two nights, the Moon will set in southern Finland while the sky is still completely dark, but after this it will disturb the whole night.

A good period of PSCs going on

29.1. The nacreous clouds seen on Saturday were already the sixth consecutive day since the streak began on January 23. As such, it is typical for PSCs to appear consecutively. The longest continuous period in Finland can be found from 2012, when they were seen in December for 10 days straight. The next longest unbroken records are the six days long, during the mighty PSC winter of 2019-20 there were no less than three of them. Pictured are the PSCs in Kurikka on 28 Jan, photographed by Marko Myllyniemi .

Comet ZTF is starting to hit its prime

24.1. Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) is approaching its predicted maximum brightness. Based on the observations, the object is now at magnitude 5.5, and forecasts suggest that it will increase by about one magnitude by the end of the month. In principle, in good conditions, it could already be seen with the naked eye. The comet can be found in the constellation Dragon near the star Edasich and will be above the horizon in Finland throughout the night. The best time is before dawn, when it is near the zenith and the growing Moon has sunk behind the horizon. The picture was taken by Ville Puoskari on 21.1.

Good PSCs in Lapland

24.1. The winter has been subdued what comes to polar stratospheric clouds, but now there are pictures from Lapland of a quality show on Monday. "For a couple of days I had been waiting for mother of pearls while walking with my camera, but they still came as a surprise when I saw a glowing cloud from the window," writes Tarja Kouvo from Karigasniemi, who took the attached photo. Two other observations are from Kilpisjärvi and Kittilä.

No fireball without smoke

23.1. On the Swedish side of Abisko, the camera left to film the northern lights recorded 19 Jan a fireball that left behind a smoke-trail. The collase shows the first four frames. Photographer Niko Keurulainen also compiled a video from the photos, you can watch it in the observation he left.

Dunes or air glow?

23.1. On Saturday evening, Tommy Lågland (photo) and Sami Mutka photographed an auroral arc above which ghostly streaks can be seen. The phenomenon can be explained by airglow or a rare form of aurora called the dunes. In this case, the interpretation leaned towards the former. "The line between the two is sometimes difficult and the air glow can appear as wave-like at the same time as the dunes," explains Eero Karvinen in the comment on Mutka's observation.

More pictures of Saturday's diamond dust halos

22.1. The first pictures in Skywarden from halos in Porvoo and Lahti on 21. Jan was just warm-up. Now the additional material received from several observers shows that the display was quite dazzling in the best places. Shown is Ulla Ojanen's view in Lahti. Images appear to show that the halo display was is created when a low stratus turned into ice crystals. Also on 22.1. haloed better than usual.

Spectacular fireball on Saturday

22.1 . In Masku, Tampere and Kajaani, a handsome fireball was photographed on Saturday. The Tampere shot is from the northern lights camera, Petri Mäkinen got it on his normal camera in Masku. In Kajaani, the fireball was visible through the clouds to Kari Nissinen's automatic camera. He also reports about a sound the camera recorded after the fireball.

Meteorological light phenomena of the past few days

22.1. Different phenomena of ice crystals and fog droplets from yesterday and the day before. On the upper left, the fogbow seen by Kari Rytilahti, below it 22° halo on a lake ice captured by Kalle Helenius' drone. Peter von Bagh in Porvoo (upper right) and Reima Eresmaa in Lahti photographed similar-looking halos on January 21, but the open lake view helped the latter also get a rarity, a weak anthelion low on the horizon (lower right).

The zodiac light is already visible

22.1. This year's zodiac lights season started on 20.1 with photos that Pirjo Koski took in Laitila. Of the winter months, the only one in which there are no observations of the zodiacal light in Skywarden is December. Even in November just one observation from the first day of the month is known. This year got an early start but there are earlier reports. The record is from the year 2020, with Koski again at it and capturing the zodiac light on 16 January.

Earth shadow from an airplane

16.1. "From above the clouds, you get a completely new understanding of the phenomenon," writes Henrik Nygård about the earth's shadow he saw over southern Europe. When observed from the surface of the earth, the shadow is phased more softly in the part of the atmosphere above it that is still illuminated by the Sun. From high mountains, however, you can see almost the same knife-cut shadows as you can see from an airplane.

The clouds opened to the northern lights in the north

15.1. The long cloudy period ended the night before Saturday with the aurora borealis in Lapland. "Finally, after many cloudy weeks, decent northern lights", writes Ritva Reinilä from Muonio. The view in the photo is from Antero Isola from Utsjoki in twenty-degree freezing weather. "I watched and filmed for about three hours and the show just kept going," says Isola.

Horsehead Nebula without stars

13.1. Tapio Lahtinen, a regular user of the Fregenal de le Sierra remote telescope in Spain, photographed the IC 434 emission nebula in which a shadowed area makes the Horsehead Nebula. Lahtinen writes that he saw a nice version of the object with a rarer image palette and decided to try the same thing himself. "I am very satisfied with this, especially since I got rid of the disturbing stars," he says.

Reflection-lower sun in Pori

7.1. Halo year has started on a very good note. Tuikku Asikainen was caught in Pori on 6.1. the reflection of the lower sun. The phenomenon can be seen in the picture as a diffuse pillar against the cloud raft. Its primary light source is the reflection of sunlight from water or ice.

Quadrantids went quietly

7.1. From the maximum night of the quadrants 3/4.1. there were no observations at all. The only reports in Taivaanvahti are the three probable quadrantite fireballs caught by automatic cameras of Vesa Vasankari (photo) in Jyväskylä two nights before. Based on international observations, the ZHR value – the calculated corrected number of meteors per hour seen under optimal conditions – seems to have been around 40, which is a very low reading.

Diamond ring from ice crystals

6.1. The diamond ring visible in solar eclipses has its counterpart in halo phenomena. On Ilmajoki 4.1. Jan in a display photographed by Mauri Korpi the parhelic circle has the Moon as a jewel on it. This requires all crystals to fall in plate orientation. Of course, the parhelia spots break the impression a bit. They disappear at an altitude of 60 degrees at the latest, but from an altitude of 57 degrees circumhorizon arc comes along.

Uranus was seen going behind the Moon

3.1 . There are currently four observations of the eclipse of Uranus, which started on the night of 1/2 Jan around half past one. One of the observers was Petri Martikainen, whose video is shown here as a shortened and cropped version. The more challenging exit from the bright edge of the moon an hour later was not observed.

Quadrantids maximum at hand

2.1 . The calculated maximum of the Quadrantids is 3.1. at 22:40 Finnish time. At that time, the radiant is 31 degrees above horizon in Utsjokoki, 22 degrees in Helsinki and rising higher. According to the IMO, the peak of the meteor shower is relatively sharp, lasting about six hours, and there are fluctuations in activity, which is why it is good to observe for at least an hour if at first you can barely see meteors. In the picture, Satu Juvonen's shooting stars during the maximum of the 2020 Quadrantids.

Uranus goes behind the moon next night

1.1 . The early December eclipse of Uranus was not seen, but a new opportunity presents itself on January 2. The start and end times are 00:36-01:29 in Helsinki and 00:20-01:22 in Utsjoki. The moon is 78% illuminated, the occultation starts from the shadowy and ends at the illuminated edge. And example is given by the observation on 14.9.2022, where it was possible to record both entry and exit. Image Stellarium.