Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Finnish Deep Sky Section's Deep Sky 600-list

Although I completed the "Deep Sky 600"-list back in May (version 1.004) I haven't had much to say about it. What I had in mind was a list of objects for observers to start after completing the Messier catalogue. Some criteria for the list were that all of the objects have to be:
  • visible from Europe (at least from Canary Islands, 18 declination north)
  • logged by me at least as "beautiful" or "interesting" over the years.
  • visible with a 4 inch telescope and look good in it.
I made a list of 500 objects back in 2010 but decided to drop the declination for another 10 degrees and add 100 more objects. The only problem was that the name and the list "Deep Sky 600" might be associated with "Orion's Deep Map 600" or "DM600". So don't do that. "Deep Sky 600" has no Messier objects in it for a start and most certainly no double/multiple/variable stars.

So in short, the list contains the best of the best (at least in my opinion) down to -50 declination. I'm sure there are many objects in the list that YOU disagree upon but it is simply a list made by guy who found these specific objects worth looking at. Down the line, I might add in more objects down to -90 declination and call it "Deep Sky 1000" if I ever get to see the deep southern sky in my lifetime.

The list can be found here, ordered by constellation: Finnish Deep Sky Section's Deep Sky 600

The beginning of season 2011-2012

A few more days and the new season - and my 15th observing season - is going to kick off here in Southern Finland. But the season will start only barely: the sun won't dip much more below the horizon than -10° so any serious observing will have have to wait for a few more weeks. Still, with all the new purchases made this summer, my fingers and eyes are almost itching to get it on with the night sky. I have been working for the entire summer so I haven't had the time or energy even to do any photography of NCLs, thunderstorms or halos, unfortunately.

The "night sky" June 10th @ midnight. Image copyrighted by Jaakko Saloranta.

Complaining aside, the most expensive purchase this year has been the Baader Zoom eyepiece. Compared to Baader 21mm Hyperion (382 grams) the Baader 8-24mm Mark III Hyperion (342 grams) is quite not as heavy and is slightly smaller in size which is something I like. Using the Baader 21mm eyepiece is quite a trouble especially with the smaller telescopes (namely the already retired 3 inch Konus) as it can easily tip the telescope(s) over with the weight.

I purchased Sky & Telescope's Pocket Sky Atlas mainly as a book for quickly logging (and checking) naked eye limiting magnitude from specific fields of the sky. I suppose I can use it for binocular observing as well although I hardly do it any more. I also got the "All three Volumes of Uranometria 2000.0" and now can use the older version of the North-volume outside without too much stress of it getting completely destroyed. It has, over the years, suffered some moisture damage and has some squashed dead bugs inside some pages but other than that it is in good condition.

I upgraded my old headlamp for a new one: Petzl Tikka Plus 2. The lamp should arrive this week and hopefully I get to test (and dim ) it properly before leaving to the USA.

Petzl Tikka Plus 2

I'm also currently without a proper pad for sketching as the old one has endured some bites and tears over the last 4 years. I'll have to visit town and see if I can come up with something good and small.