Tuesday, August 25, 2015


Today it is 20 years since my name appears first time in the observatory book of our amateur observatory in Iso-Heikkilä. For me, it also marks for how long I've been an active amateur astronomer in Turun Ursa, our association. It's weird how I still can remember how I climbed up that bedrock hill and how nervous I was, because I had promised to write something for the local Turun Ursa paper and they had asked me to come and visit. At that time I wasn't that sure about myself, I had been bullied at school a couple of year earlier and I had a very bad self-esteem. Still, I thank the gods that I went there again... and again... and again. There was just something in those like-minded people that gave me the feeling of belonging. (Plus the crazy nerdy humour. I just found some old article about us where I mentioned that a couple of our members had calculated that their newborn son grows 17 water molecules per second. Who wouldn't love those kind of conversations!?)

I can't really remember when my astronomy hobby has started, but I estimate perhaps around when I was 5 or 6. One of my earliest about the subject is that we borrowed a book for my brother about astronomy from the local library. It had a drawn picture of stellar lifespan and I found that pic extremely mesmerising. When I was 7 I already gave a lesson about astronomy at school (for each class separately). My first telescope I got when I was 8 and my second real one when I was 12. With that RET-50 I spent hours in our balcony in freezing temperatures looking for objects, starhopping and learning to know the constellations. I also read a lot about astronomy and learned the basics as well as entertained myself by reading star catalogues and learning the Messier objects by heart. (My god, I hated the ones that were not supposed to be visible in Finland - even if in the end we've observed them in our countryside observatory.)

So, when I was 15 I was ready to enter the social side of my hobby. I was lucky, since in Turku there's extremely long tradition with amateur astronomy as well as absolutely amazing facilities for this hobby. In these past 20 years Turun Ursa has had its ups and downs, but now with the renovation of Kevola (the countryside observatory) it's going better than ever. I'm very proud that I've been part of the association's history and hope I've been able to give back something to it for all those things it has given me. I wouldn't be the same person without it. Thank you Iso-Heikkilä. Every time I visit you I feel like coming back home.

Iso-Heikkilä observatory

No comments:

Post a Comment