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Skywarden,
Ursa Astronomical Association
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taivaanvahti(at)ursa.fi

Ursa Astronomical Association

News

Recent thunderstorms

18.8. Thunderstorms have been on the offing since Tuesday and according to the forecast this will last until Friday. In Kempele Marko Haapala hopped on his fatbike to welcome the arriving stormfront by the sea. "With the help of a tailwind biking to Vihiluoto happened quite speedily", he says. Several strikes were captured on camera, this one occurred at 20:47.

Diffuse anthelic arcs from an airplane

16.8. Kalle Helenius dug out from the recesses of the desk drawer a nice halo which he had seen from a plane over Estonia on 26 May this year. "Immediately after takeoff, a scan through the cloud layers illuminated by the morning offered about one hundred seconds of halos at the sun's opposite point below the horizon," writes Helenius. It is a rare halo known as the diffuse anthelic arc. In both shown pictures the shadow of the airplane can be distinquished at the central spot.

Fireball on Tuesday just after midnight

16.8. On Tuesday at 00:07 a bright fireball flew across the sky. Of the 21 sightings that have come to Skywarden so far two are photographic. Based on Ari Jokinen's two sky cameras, the duration of the fireball was 7 seconds, the brightness that of the full moon. Several eyewitnesses say that the fireball broke into pieces at the end, and Jokinen writes that this can also be seen in the camera images. You can watch the flight of the fireball on Vesa Puistovaara's video.

Starlink satellites' pearl string

15.8. There have been more than 20 sightings of the Starlink satellites line seen at 2:07 on Sunday, but fewer where the satellites appear as separate points. In Samuli Vuorinen's photo, the individual satellites stand out. Watch also the video in Vuorinen's observation. Taivaanvahti has one visual observation of the same line of satellites the following night at 2:30 am.

Weather favors observations of Perseids

15.8. Clear skies allowed the Perseids to be seen on both sides of maximum on several nights. Based on the observations of Harri Kiiskinen's meteor camera, the night after the predicted maximum night 12/13.8. was even better. Of the three Perseids in the picture collage, the upper ones come from Matias Takala, the lower one from Jari Luomanen. The green color is visible in the initial phase when the meteor starts to burn up in the atmosphere.

The launch of the Falcon 9 rocket was seen on Saturday

13.8. In terms of getting plenty of footage, the timing of SpaceX's rocket launch couldn't have been better as it happened on the night of Perseids maximum. There are currently in Skywarden half a hundred sightings from the southern coast to Rovaniemi of this phenomenon that was seen seen for a couple of minutes shortly before 2 am in Saturday. Here are pictures by Jari Luomanen (left) and Esa-Pekka Isomursu from Tampere and Oulu.

August full Moon photos

12.8. Moon looming low at the horizon is always an evocative sight. Here is a selection of views of the full moon that have arrived at Skywarden in the last few days. The blue background photos were taken by Tuomas Salo, top left by Kari Hassisen and bottom right by Mikko Peussa .

In July, halo variety was on the cards

11.8. Although there were a commendable number of 29 halo days in July (variation 22-30 in 2012-2021), the number of different halo forms remained low as only eleven were seen (variation 16-25). Rarities were observed on five days (variation 1-13), in four cases they were 23° plate arcs, in one case 120° parhelion. Petri Martikainen was the most active rarity observer, catching them on 4 days (his photo here shows 23° plate arc). Paula Mattila and Jukka Oravisaari caught most often halos, on 19 and 12 days.

Plenty of planets photographed

11.8. Close-up portraits of the planets have been coming to Skywarden since mid-July. The pictures of Tauno Ihalainen, Antti Taskinen and Ari Haavisto have been selected, from top down, for Saturnus. Ihalainen's picture of Jupiter is on the top right, Taskinen's picture below it and Lasse Ekblom's picture on the left - whose production also includes a picture of Mars.

The darkening nights kick off the DS season

9.8. The exercises for the deep sky season started in Finland in the last days of July and more pictures have arrived in August. The pictured North America nebula was photographed by Eemil Pietilä on August 8. in Järvenpää. The picture has an exposure of about one and a half hours. "I had to throw some of the pictures away, because at around 1 a.m. a light layer of clouds appeared in the sky," tells Pietilä about the conditions during the night.

NLCs and aurora borealis

8.8. After the summer break, the first northern lights were seen on the night between Sunday and Monday. There are 25 observations so far. At the same time noctilucent clouds were also visible, although the cloud area was so llimited that some of the observers referred to them in singular. Attached is Pirjo Koski's picture of the view in Laitila at 1.30 am.

ISS passed across the Moon

6.8. In Ulvila, Vesa Puistovaara tried to photograph the Moon transit of the International Space Station on Thursday. The narrow field of view of the equipment did not allow for mistakes, but everything went according to plan when at 16:20 the ISS passed across the image field. The event was over quickly: Puistovaara says the transit lasted about 0.2 seconds. "The appearance of the object is not first-class, mostly pixelated, but I think I succeeded quite well," he says.

Three views of the Sun on Thursday

5.8 A humdinger of a protuberance got observers pointing their telescopes towards the Sun on Thursday. "A such a memorable sight on the surface of our nearby star", writes Petrus Kurppa, who took the middle photo. On the left is a shot by Tapio Lahtinen and on the right by Santeri Peltola. Kurppa states that as the solar maximum approaches, eruptions of this class will be seen relatively often.

July continued the record-breaking NLC summer

4.8. The good rate of NLCs in June continued into July as well. Sightings came from 26 nights, which is two more than the previous record from last year. August has started with nightly observations, so 2022 may well in the end be the quantitatively best summer so far. Shown is a photo by Markku Ruonala from the night of July 30.

The Perseids are already visible

4.8. The first Perseids have been photographed. Harri Kiiskinen's meteor camera registered six members of the shower in the night between August 2nd and 3rd. This year the maximum is timed quite well for Finland as it is expected to take place at 4 am local time on August 13. On the other hand, the Moon which is full on 11. August will interfere.

Rocket launch late Monday night

2.8. Half an hour before midnight on Monday, a rocket launch was visible in the sky. It was a Soyuz rocket that took the Kosmos-2558 satellite into space. Shown is the other one of the two observations currently in Taivaanvahti, a photo taken by Mika Jormakka in Saari at 23:34.

Lenticular clouds in the Turku sky

1.8. Layered Lenticular clouds were seen in Turku on Monday, as shown by the close-up portrait of one such cloud by Mikko Peussa. "Lenticular clouds, which are rarely seen in the Turku region, had spread over a wide area today, and a few were quite spectacular," writes Peussa.

Skies darken as NLC season peaks

30.7. The darkening nights are starting to bring drama to the NLCs in southern Finland. Janne Pellikka photographed these clouds on Friday around 1 a.m. in Järvenpää. At the turn of August, the season's end inevitably is starting to loom in the horizon. Last year the last display was seen on the night of August 23/24, which was unusually late. Typically, the final show is between the 10th and 20th of August.

Thunderstorms on July 22 and 23

23.7. Thunder fronts swept across the southern half of Finland during Friday and Saturday. The picture shows the first observation of the episode in Taivaanvahti, Satu Rajamäki's shot of lightning in Vaasa in the early hours of Friday.

Noctilucend are starting to look better

18.7. The noctilucent cloud season is approaching its peak at the turn of July and August, and the level of displays is clearly improving. These were photographed by Matias Takala in Hamina on Sunday night. "In the end, I decided to ride up to the observation site," writes Takala, who first thought of taking pictures with his phone and then go to sleep. In July, noctilucent clouds have been seen up until now on 14 nights, which is three nights more than in the last year's record abundant summer.