23 December 2013

Astronomy club's 6 months Pinhole Solargraph revealed. Great experience!

6 months pinhole camera revealing Sun's arcs in the sky.
Credit: KTY Toutatis / S. Lamoureux
Astronomy Club Toutatis.
Kustavi, Finland

As the winter solstice arrived, it was time to open the long awaited Pin hole camera hanging from my balcony.

Back in June 2013 we made a Solargraph using an empty film roll can with a pinhole and photographic paper inside. The exposure time was 6 months! 

You see on the picture bright lines of "light". These bright lines are the Sun in it's path in the sky.
The highest arcs were traced by the summer sun of June 2013. The lowest arc was made by the sun on December 20th 2013, on the winter solstice. Occasional gaps in the bright lines are caused by clouds that blocks the Sun.

Pinhole Camera battered by weather.
This experience was pretty cool! In the Summer I watched as the camera was hanging from my balcony and wonder what will the photo look like after 6 months. After a while I forgot about it and from time to time, the camera popped into my head and I get all excited to open it in December. Now that December has arrived, I can tell you that 6 months have passed really quickly. 

Next generation of Pinhole camera for 6 months exposure.
For the year 2014, I have made 2 new Solargraphs (Pinhole camera).
One camera is at our Astronomy club's balcony and the other one is on my home balcony 60 km apart looking both Southern direction. 
This time I didn't use a camera roll can, but instead a soda can with a bigger photographic paper inside. 
Here are some links for doing your own Solargraph.

02 December 2013

Comet ISON has left the celestial building!

Image from satellite SOHO
02.12.2013 Kustavi, Finland

Comet C/2012 S1 ISON hit it's perihelion on Nov. 28th 2013 and had a rough encounter with our Sun. Everybody was looking forward to see Comet ISON raising from the dead and giving us a spectacular show, but no! Comet ISON broke apart and spewed a big cloud of debris.

Against 8:30 p.m. yesterday evening, the tail of ISON emerged from behind sun in the field of view of the LASCO instrument. At this point in time, however, it was unclear whether the tip of the tail concealed a nucleus or not. Pictures taken a few hours after Perihelion now allow further conclusions to be drawn.
"The dust tail of the comet is now divided into two parts," explains Hermann Böhnhardt from the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research. According to Böhnhardt, the part of the tail that is pointing towards the sun consists of dust particles, which were released significantly before the comet's Perihelion passage – i.e. prior to reaching the closest point to the sun.

The other part, however, appears to contain more recent material: It was released when ISON passed the sun and suggests that at least part of the nucleus still existed and was active at that time.

The Max Planck researchers base their assessment on computer simulations in which they model the shape of the dust tail. "If we assume in our calculations that the comet has emitted dust at Perihelion, we can reproduce the current images quite well," says Böhnhardt.

The LASCO images from Saturday showed the ISON stopped producing dust two hours after Perihelion. Whether the comet nucleus was still intact at Perihelion or continued its flight as a small fragment or as collection of chunks is not yet clear.

The instrument Sumer on board of the satellite SOHO, which was developed and built under the auspices of the Max Planck Institute in Lindau observed ISON on Thursday night in the hour when it directly approached the sun. The instrument divides the light that is sent into space by the celestial body into its individual components. From this, researchers can draw conclusions about the elements and molecules in the comet's dust cloud.

"Our measurements show a clear signal of the comet during its flight past the sun," says Max Planck scientist Werner Curdt. Exact results of the measurement, however, are not yet available.


30 November 2013

Our Sun's own Frankenstein! Comet ISON is ALIVE!

Soho C3 Solargraph / Comet ISON emerging from the Perihelion
30.11.2013 Kustavi, Finland
Comet C/2012 S1 ISON is ALIVE!!!

Over the fall people started to get excited about Comet ISON, would it be the comet of the century? Would it turn into an spectacular show in the sky? On November 28,2013 as Comet ISON reached it perihelion, it grazed the Sun and appeared to disappear into the Sun.

At everybody surprise, something reappeared from the other side of our Sun. The dead Comet came back alive!

Karl Battams of NASA's Comet ISON Observing Campaign says, "[colleague] Matthew Knight and I are ripping our hair out right now as we know that so many people in the public, the media and in science teams want to know what's happened. 

We'd love to know that too! Right now, here's our working hypothesis:
"As comet ISON plunged towards to the Sun, it began to fall apart, losing not giant fragments but at least a lot of reasonably sized chunks. There's evidence of very large dust in the long thin tail we saw in the [SOHO coronagraph] images. Then, as ISON plunged through the corona, it continued to fall apart and vaporize, losing its coma and tail completely just like sungrazing Comet Lovejoy did in 2011. What emerged from the Sun was a small but perhaps somewhat coherent nucleus that has resumed emitting dust and gas for at least the time being."

Battams emphasizes that it is too soon to tell how big the remnant nucleus is or how bright the resurgent comet will ultimately become. "We have a whole new set of unknowns, and this ridiculous, crazy, dynamic and unpredictable object continues to amaze, astound and confuse us to no end. We ask that you please be patient with us for a couple of days as we analyze the data and try to work out what is happening."
Here @ our Astronomy Club Toutatis, Kustavi, Finland are mourning is over. We are hoping to have pictures of this amazing survivor Comet. We will definitely follow the craze of this all in the Space community.
We hope the Comet have not shed all it's material and will continue to brighten up for a spectacular show this December 2013.

Here are some links from the Space community:
Elizabeth Howell on Universe Today 
NASA's webpage
Video of the SOHO Coronograph with

29 November 2013

C 2012/S1 ISON Comet suicide

Comet ISON, imaged by longtime amateur astrophotograper
Damian Peach in the U.K. He used a 17-inch telescope
for 12 minutes of combined exposures on November 15th.
Credit: Damian Peach/
28.11.2013 Comet ISON plunges to its death.
Astronomy CLub Toutatis here in Kustavi Finland is in mourning.

The Comet C/2012 S1 ISON was discovered on 21 September 2012 by Vitali Nevski (Виталий Невский, Vitebsk, Belarus) and Artyom Novichonok (Артём Новичонок, Konudopoga, Russia).

Comet ISON hype started a few months back and was getting momentum. As C/2012 S1 came to perihelion (closest approach to the Sun) on 28 November 2013 at a distance of 0.0124 AU (1,860,000 km; 1,150,000 mi) from the center point of the Sun. Its trajectory was to close to the Sun and burned out.

Here at the club we anticipated its position in the sky, wanted to take telescopic photos of it, wide shot with its fabulous tail in the Sunset-Sunrise sky. Also Animations of the comet was in our plans. But guess what...
We are mourning. Lots of planning with no result. The only thing I can see a positive side to it, we saw a chunk of rock falling into the Sun, there sure is some science in that right?

Even if we didn't have no photographic results, the planning in its self was a great challenge and a valuable practice for our future observations.

So what have we learn here?
Preparation is never for nothing. We still learned a lot from a comet and now have a better grasp of other incoming comets in the near future. Personally it was great to follow this celestial body. Because of comet ISON i know now more about our solar system mechanics and for this reason I will never forget this name: Comet ISON.

Never forget this name:
The comet's formal designation is C/2012 S1. The "C" indicates that it is non-periodic, followed by the year of discovery. The "S" represents the half-month of discovery—in the case of C/2012 S1, the second half of September—and the number "1" shows that this was the first comet found in that half month. The comet is named "ISON" after the organization where its discovery was made, the Russia-based International Scientific Optical Network. The initial report of the object to the Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams identified the object as an asteroid, and it was listed on the Near Earth Objects Confirmation Page. Follow-up observations by independent teams were the first to report cometary features. Therefore, under the International Astronomical Union's comet-naming guidelines, the comet is named after the team that discovered it, rather than the individual discoverers.

Follow other links in the community about Comet C/2012 S1 ISON:
Elizabeth Howell on Universe
On Space 
Google + The Space Community

04 November 2013

Astro-Club Toutatis NEW Animations! Have a look!

 Kustavi, Finland

New Animations of our Astro-Club!
The post processing and the hours spent outside looking at
great events has paid off!

Please visit our Timelapses and Animations page and enjoy!
Timelapses and Animations

29 October 2013

Closest Star system Alpha Centauri is getting closer by the year!

A Hubble Space Telescope image of Proxima Centauri,
the closest star to Earth. Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA
Remember that planet discovered near Alpha Centauri almost exactly a year ago? As you may remember, it’s the closest system to Earth, making some people speculate about how quickly we could get a spacecraft in that general direction. Four light years is close in galactic terms, but it’s a little far away for the technology we have now — unless we wanted to wait a few tens thousands of years for the journey to complete.

Elizabeth Howell @ Universe Today has a great post on this. Check it out!

29 September 2013

Carnival of Space #321 Here on Links Through Space

Welcome to Links Through Space, astronomy for everyone.
This is the blog of our Astronomy Club here in Kustavi, Finland
We write/post news about space related topics and we showcase our Astrophotos and Timelapses.
Our blog is a way for you to follow Space/Astronomy news and find new links through the Internet about Space and astronomy.
So here we have it, Ladies and Gentlemen!
Links Through Space is honored to declare the 321th Carnival of Space live from Kustavi Finland.

This edition of the Carnival of Space starts with the much anticipated Comet ISON C/2012. Hope it will be a good one. At our Astronomy Club Toutatis we are preparing to follow the comet and snap great pictures of it.
Comet Ison 2013 Credit: John Chumack
Many backyard observers will get their first good look at Comet ISON in the coming month. If you want to see this comet for yourself, here’s everything you’ll need to know!
UniverseToday ǀ Comet ISON: A Viewing Guide from Now to Perihelion

This summer, two U.S. congresswomen proposed making the Apollo landing sites national historic parks. This post explores the idea. What would it entail? Would they be the first outer space parks? Would they even be legal?

TheSpacewriter explores Sagittarius A* at the heart of our galaxy.
The Spacewriter's ramblings ǀ The Sag A* Black Hole "Volcano"

The densest galaxy in the nearby part of the Universe may have been found. Packed with an extraordinary number of stars, this unusual galaxy is providing astronomers with clues to its intriguing past and how it fits into the galactic evolutionary chain.

Explaining the basic properties of galaxies - from spirals like our own Milky Way to dwarf galaxies like the Magellanic Clouds - has been one of the central occupations of astronomers over the last few decades.

I believe that there is abundant value in making our near-term goal the creation of a flexible and permanent system that opens up space for many different and varied uses. Making the space program a Quest for Life Elsewhere is a prescription for failure and ultimately, termination.

The Cygnus spacecraft is loitering near the ISS. Photos To Space takes a look at the causes of the delay and why sometimes waiting is a good thing.

A ‘laser starway’ concept by Charles Quarra present is a natural evolution of the work of both Robert Forward and Geoffrey Landis in extending the reach of beamed power into deep interstellar space, by taming the beam divergence that is ever present in all laser wavefronts...

Mode-locked Lasers can be applied to deflecting a near earth object on collision course with earth

Picture of Comet ISON and Astreoid Eros close together, with added Animation. This is great!
This week Carnival of Space #321 picture is a wide field picture of the region of the Elephant Trunk :D
Credit: Astronomy Club Toutatis/S. Lamoureux

So here you have it! All the thrills and excitements of the Astronomy/Space community.
The Carnival of Space #321

If you run a space/astronomy related blog, and would like to get more awareness, participate in the Carnival of Space. Every week, a different webmaster or blogger hosts the carnival, showcasing articles written on the topic of space. It’s a great way to get to know the community, and to help your writing reach a wider audience. If you’d like to be a host for the carnival, please send email to