from 01/10/2011 until 31/12/2050

About the observation database

Skywarden is an observation system maintained by Ursa Astronomical Association. Available observation categories consist of different astronomical and atmospheric phenomena. You are welcome to participate even though you are not member of any Finnish astronomical associations. Especially observations of rare phenomena are welcome from all over the Europe

Skywarden is a modern continuum to citizen scientist's observation gathering started at the end of 1970's by Ursa Astronomical Association. From 1970's to the end of 2000's the observation gathering was done based on manual, hand drawn paper observation cards submissions to the association. At 2011, Skywarden replaced the observation cards by providing fully digital citizen science platform for the amateur astronomer community.

The system supports several languages, Finnish, Swedish and English and is able to provide data with these languages. The system provides open APIs and supports open science.

Scientific contribution

In general we are open to research ides related to already gathered data sets or new co-operation forms. Our aim is not to serve one single research cause, but instead build lasting learning networks related to several phenomena visible in the sky. Unlike many citizen scientist data storages, Skywarden was not built by scientists around one particular field of data. Instead, the system was built by citizen scientists with long history of scientific contributions since the pre-digital era.

New discoveries

  • Skywarden observation service provides data for Finnish Fireball Network for investigating bolide sightings. Observations sent into the system have previously contributed to research related to Annama meteorite fall 2014.
  • Researchers of atmospheric halos have used the system's observations when analyzing the most recent halo cases. Several new types of atmospheric halos have been detected from the data set.  
  • Related to northern lights research, we are currently collaborating with several research organizations in the world internationally. The biggest contributions so far have been related to new types of auroras, the Dunes (2020) and RAGDA (Red Arc with Green Diffuse Aurora, 2022). 



"Collect data before you need it".

Our aim is to record long-period citizen science observation time series data of:

  • Deep sky objects
  • Solar system objects
  • Eclipses
  • Fireballs
  • Northern lights
  • Storms
  • Atmospheric halos
  • Atmospheric phenomena

Needed equipment

In minimum you'll need a pen and paper to participate: hand-drawn observations are still accepted. Most users photograph their atmospheric or astronomical targets with a mobile- or system camera though. In some cases, even a very thorough text description without an image can provide enough material for an observation.

You'll be able to send in an observation to the site. By doing so, you make your data available for scientific research. However you are not giving up your ownership to any of the materials you are providing (images) nor granting permission to any commercial use. You need to provide our real name and email information when sending an observation, but you'll be able to hide your name when the observation is published on the www.taivaanvahti.fi website. After observation submission, you'll receive a modification link to your email and have full control of the sent data.

There is typically a delay before observations and comments become visible at the website since all new content is checked by the moderators before publication.

Created June 11, 2024, 10:16 a.m.

Updated June 11, 2024, 1:02 p.m.

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