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Ursa Astronomical Association


Great halos in the sky on Wednesday and Thursday

20.5. On Wednesday, fine halos were seen mainly in Muurame and Jämsä. From the latter location on the right is an image by Petri Martikainen showing Wegener arc. On Thursday, in southwestern Finland an exceptionally good odd radius displays was visible as shown by Lasse Nurminen's picture. The quality is also indicated by the fact that some observers saw the 35° halo with the naked eye. Normally, this halo is only detected in the images afterwards.

Deep sky from southern Europe

17.5. Two observations from southern lands. On the left, an image by Otto Vehviläinen from the area of Antares and Rho Ophiuchi "in completely dark sky" in Madeira. On the right, UGC 9749, or Ursa Minor Dwarf Galaxy, photographed by Tapio Lahtinen with Spanish remote telescope in the Fregenal de la Sierra. "I've photographed some of these Milky Way dwarf galaxies, and now in the spring I saw a picture of this rather challenging galaxy online," Lahtinen explains the background for his photo.

Lightning in Nurmes started the season

16.5. The first lightning strikes in the spring were reported to Skywarden on Sunday, when Eero Karvinen got a few pictures in Nurmes. Coincidentally, 15 May was also the first lightning day last year in Warden. Of course, lightning has been seen much earlier in some years, even in January. These are caught on film much less often, but the lightning that took place on 13 January 2012 in Mikkeli was captured by Aki Taavitsainen's fireball camera.

Recent events in the lower atmosphere

14.5 . The birch pollen corona photographed by Petri Martikainen in Juva on the 13th is the summer's first from this tree. On the same day, Kati Pursiainen noticed a fine mammatus in Helsinki, where also a first-class rainbow was visible. This observation was left by Terhi Hirviniemi, who says the picture was taken by her child. And the day before, Antero Ahola reported the season's first roll cloud to Taivaanvahti at the bird tower in Jyväskylä.

A significant elliptical halo observation from Juva

10.5. A long-awaited high-quality time-lapse of an elliptical halo occurrence has finally been obtained, thanks to the pictures taken by Petri Martikainen in Juva yesterday. The pictures show how the display lives continuously: the size of the ellipse changes and sometimes two of them appear. Of course, we have seen indications of such behaviour before. But now the blocker series Martikainen took made it possible for the first time to accurately align the images with respect to the Sun and thus allow follow in much more detail the evolution of the display.

Nebulas in the Orion constellation

5.5. Orion's area is featured in this picture by Eemil Pietilä, to which he added on top of an earlier data a couple of hours more exposure in April. "Actually, the results of those nights in the beginning of April were the most surprising, I didn't expect them to add much more to the picture," Pietilä writes. Three bright stars mark Orion's belt. In the vicinity of the lowest Alnitak you can see the Flame Nebula and the Horsehead Nebula. On the right is Orion's the Orion nebula M42.

Mercury and the Moon close together

3.5. The encounter between Mercury and the Moon seen yesterday has made a few observations in Skywarden. Tapio Lahtinen took the picture at 22:20 at the Tampere Ursa Observatory, where a small group had gathered to watch the event. The celestial bodies were about 2.5 degrees apart.

April 25 fireball was likely space junk

2.5. According to the analysis, the fireball that appeared near midnight on April 25 at 00.54 has apparently been space debris, comments Markku Siljama from Ursa's fireball team. According to eyewitness observations, the subject disintegrated into several parts, in one video its slow passage takes about 15 seconds. "It came from the west, hit the atmosphere around Seinäjoki and bounced back into space around Pieksämäki," writes Siljama, who said that space debris had a speed of more than 8 km / s. The picture is from Harri Kiiskinen.

Subhelic arc in Juva, elliptical halo in Turku

2.5. The turn of the month began with a notch harder-to-reach halorarities. On 30 April a strip of better halo activity extended from around Korsnäs to the Juva region. In the latter, Petri Martikainen bagged the subhelic arc (arrow in the right picture), which in recent years has been caught a few times a year. On May Day, Paula Mattila happened on a brief elliptical halo occurrence in Turku (left picture). Both rarities mark their first sightings in 2022.

Conjuncture of Venus and Jupiter in the daytime sky

1.5 . Venus and Jupiter have just been in conjunction. The distance between the planets was at minimum 0.2 degrees, which is less than half of the 0.5 degree angular diameter of the Moon. Since the planets did not appear in the night sky in Finland, Eeva-Kaisa Ahlamo picked them up from the day sky on May Day. Attached is a picture he took in Turku at 11.20, at when the distance between the planets was 0.3 degrees. “The duo was found bafflingly easily by measugin with finger from the sun and horizon”, Ahlamo writes.

An exemplary punch hole cloud in Vantaa

1.5. On the eve of May Day, two pairs of eyes in Vantaa caught a representative example of a punch hole cloud. On the left Kristiina Varttinen's picture of the phenomenon, on the right Jimi Aulonen's. The circular freezing of a cloud of water droplets occurred in a typical manner in altocumulus, and in the center of the opening is seen ice-crystalline cirrus cloud from this process.

The spring's first rainbow

30.4. After two rainbow days in January, there has been complete silence in the Skywarden, but now an observation has been made of the spring's first rainbow. On Thursday, Markku Ruonala saw a fine rainbow in Valkeakoski half an hour before sunset. Since 2012, the highest number of April rainbows has been reported in Vahti in 2016, when they were seen on 10 days. In 2019, on the other hand, no observations were made.

The rocket launch from Plesetsk was visible in the Finnish sky

29.4. at about 11 p.m., a rocket phenomenon related to the launch of the Plesetsk cosmodrome was seen. The Angra 1.2 rocket launched at least one military satellite into the sky. The rocket phases and the spherical exhaust cloud were monitored over a wide area . The picture in the news is a sample of Ismo Komulainen from Sotkamo.

Miraging in Kustavi

25.4. "A better than average mirage day", says Pekka Parviainen about the conditions on April 21st on the rocky shores of Kustavi. This time there were also superior mirages which, according to Parviainen, are so rare that despite active monitoring, you can go all year without a single decent show. Parviainen photographed mirages also the day before.

Lyrids captured by the Nyrölä meteor camera

23.4 . The maximum of the lst observable meteor shower in Finland before the summer break, Lyridis, was just recently. Harri Kiiskinen published compilation images from the Nyrölä meteor camera from last three nights. On the the Wed-Thu night, auto-detection found 5 lyrids, the next night 10 and the following night 8. The operation time on all nights was about four hours. The image shown is a sum image of meteors on Thu-Fri night.

Nice sunspot groups visible now

21.4. The spectacular sunspot groups 2993 and 2994 on the surface of sun are now for a front-row seat view, as shown by these photos that Antti Taskinen took yesterday in Joensuu. The spots are not just looking impressive – they have spewed strong X-class flares that have caused radio blackouts in Asia and Australia.

Comets are getting dimmer

21.4. "Almost all observable comets are on their way out and the brightness curves point downwards," writes Harri Kiiskinen. On the evening of April 18, Kiiskinen photographed six comets using the Hankasalmi Observatory telescope. One of these is brightening, though, the ZTF discovered in 2020. Currently at about 14 magnitude, it is projected rise over 10 mag in December. Kiiskinen says he photograped in all 18 comets during the winter.

All-sky display in Kajaani

18.4. On Saturday, better-than-usual halo display was visible in the central and eastern parts of the country. The views seem to have been best in Kajaani, where Juho Pöllänen (picture) spotted a full parhelic circle with nice 120° parhelia. This rarity was also captured by Jarmo Moilanen in Vaala.

A group of sunspots drifting from behind the edge

18.4. "A large group turning out from behind the edge," wrote Marko Myllyniemi, whose picture of  the Sun on Sunday at 10.05 am is on the left. Almost exactly 24 hours later, in the picture taken by Harri Kiiskinen, the sunspot group has already become better visible. "The sky was cloudless for a while and I used it to take a few pictures of the Sun with a 3D-printed SolEx spectral heliograph," says Kiiskinen.

Auriga targets at the end of the DS season

7.4. Several objects from the constellation Auriga are on display in Erik Pirtala's newest deep space image. These are the Flaming Star Nebula IC405, Tadpole Nebula IC 410, Spider Nebula IC 417 Fly Nebula NGC1931. The last one, visible at the bottom right of the image, is also referenced as a miniature version of Orion Nebula. "Amongst the last projects of the photography season," Pirtala writes. He collected exposure for a total of 28 hours in the image.