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Stargazing Nights in August

In August and September, after Kustavi's bright nights in summer, the "white nights" as we call them here, the night sky is dark enough again to pour its starry splendor over us. Then it's time for our Stargazing Nights. Late in the evening we sit around the campfire and philosophize about the phenomena of the nocturnal firmament and marvel at the beauty of the world.


"I've never seen so many stars," we often hear our guests say.


A starry sky that you will never forget!


Only about sixty kilometers from Finland's third largest metropolitan area, Turku, lies out at sea the municipality of Kustavi with only about 970 inhabitants. This makes Kustavi the smallest municipality in south-west Finland and ranks third in the competition for the smallest municipality in Finland. Kustavi extends over about 2000 skerries, cliffs and islands and has just 5.8 inhabitants per square kilometer. Rebecca, our daughter Suvi and I are three of them when it comes to the island of Vartsala. This sparsely populated landscape around our Eco Lodge holds a treasure that reveals itself in the darker months of the year: millions and millions of twinkling stars. The low population density, far from the mainland, ensures minimal light pollution and thus dark nights full of star splendor. Add to that the clear, clean air that Finland is valued for around the world, among other environmental and natural assets. Did you know that in Finland you breathe the cleanest air in all of Europe? This can be attributed, among other things, to the wealth of forests in the country. The trees constantly filter the smallest particles from the atmosphere around us and thus clean the air. By the way, another effect of the cleaned air is that it scatters the heat radiation of the sun less because it is dust-free. There are also fewer clouds. Both mean that the country has warmed up faster than the rest of Europe over the years. On an annual average, Finland has already reached the 1.5 - 2 degree limit decided at the 21st UN Climate Change Conference in 2015, with an average of 1.9 degrees. But that's another topic. For our stargazing nights, on the other hand, the clear air means an undisturbed view of the vastness of space.


On the Kalliokumpu Eco Lodge it is even a lot darker than on the main island, for example, on which the church town of Kustavis, with its approx. 320 inhabitants, is located. The luminosity of the stars above the lodge is particularly intense. Such a starry sky cannot be seen in Germany! Maybe still deep in the Alps, high up, above a lonely peak.


There are no major light sources on the lodge grounds. No lanterns or permanently installed lamps. Only the light of our island house illuminates the night around the building, but we simply switch it off to be amazed, dream and philosophize. The preservation of natural darkness and measures against light pollution on our premises are important to us. You can see the result when you spend a few days and nights ;-) with us at the lodge in August.


The nights in August are also suitable for star photography.


We are all beings made out of stardust


When it's stargazing time at Kalliokumpu Eco Lodge, around 11pm in August, we light a small campfire, pull out our star telescope and show you the night sky over the Finnish archipelago. It sparkles magnificently above our heads. The band of the Milky Way stretches in a large arc from one side of the forest to the other. The best conditions for stargazing are between the new moon and half moon, but even when the moon is in the sky, the spectacular night sky is beautiful and is crowned by silence and solitude. The occasional call can be heard from the nightjar, a nightjar that lives in the pine groves surrounding the lodge. We sit together around the campfire, drink tea or cocoa and look for answers to big questions: How old is the universe? Where does the universe end? Are we alone in the universe?


Visit us during one of our stargazing nights in August and join us under the stars as we marvel together.


Last summer we only observed the starry sky with our binoculars and were able to marvel at Jupiter and three of its moons. And just looking at the moon opens up such a wonderfully luminous panorama of mountains, valleys and craters that I keep believing I could touch them with the tip of my nose if I stretch just a little bit higher on my tiptoes. And then I think that the atoms that I'm made of all come from the stars. Originating in their center, after the death of the star they wander through time and space, finally circling in the soil and oceans of our planet and are found again in all the living beings around me and also in me. I can safely say that this connects me to the stars.


Somehow we are all unique alien beings, extraterrestrials, made of stardust!


Jupiter with three of its moons (Callisto, Ganymede, Europa)


 

Star Facts


1. Every star you see in the night sky is bigger and brighter than our sun.

Only a handful of very faint stars are roughly the same size and brightness as our Sun, and the rest are larger and brighter.


2. On a good night you can see at least 20 trillion miles

This corresponds to the approximate distance to the bright star Deneb in Cygnus, the constellation of the Swan.



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