OJ 287


Recent News Items

  • 17. 05. 2006 Congratulations to Professor Esko Valtaoja, whose application for a centre of excellence, has been accepted into the final evaluation round by the Academy of Finland. The centre's research focus is cosmic and solar plasmas.

  • 17. 05. 2006 Congratulations to Professor Mauri Valtonen, who has been awarded the prestigious E. J. Nyström prize by the The Finnish Society of Sciences and Letters. The prizewinner is elected annually from among all members and is valued at 20,000 euros. Mauri Valtonen was cited for his work (amongst others) on OJ287, a highly variable active galaxy, which is thought to harbour a binary black hole.

  • 4. 04. 2006 Research Highlight BL Lacs reunited?

    Astronomers at Tuorla Observatory and Metsähovi Radio Observatory, have made a study of over 300 so-called "BL Lac" galaxies, concluding that one of the standard explanations for these energetic emittors, which divides BL Lacs into various subtypes, may be flawed.

  • 26. 11. 2005 Congratulations to Leo Takalo, who has obtained funding from the Academy of Finland for 50,000 euros for the project "Astrophysics at the Nordic Optical Telescope".

  • 19. 11. 2005 Research Highlight Thick accretion disk around W Ser?

    An international team of astronomers have probed the massive binary system W Serpentis in polarised light using telescopes at La Palma. The observations have lead to the discovery of a hot spot/jet at high latitudes on the primary star of the system...

  • 3. 11. 2005 Congratulations to Hannu Karttunen, whose new book, "Tähdet ja Maailmankaikkeus" has just been published by Otava. The book is a "what's what of stars and space". Published in Finnish.

    Mauri Valtonen and Hannu Karttunen's book on "The three body problem" will appear from Cambridge University Press soon (January 2006).




  • 14. 9. 2005 Research Highlight How far the galactic neighbours?

    An international team of astronomers, including Rami Rekola, Chris Flynn, Mauri Valtonen and Jari Kotilainen of Tuorla Observatory, have calibrated methods for measuring distances to nearby galaxies.

  • 10. 9. 2005 Congratulations to Rami Rekola, who has been awarded a University of Turku prize for an outstanding PhD thesis.

  • 30. 5. 2005 Research Highlight Solar mini-explosions

    An international team of astronomers, including Silja Pohjolainen of Tuorla Observatory, have observed a type of explosion on the surface of the Sun called a coronal mass ejection (CME). The fact that the CME comes from a very small, rather than a quite large region on the Sun, has come as a surprise to astronomers.

  • 20. 5. 2005 New pages have been opened on solar activity studies at Tuorla, and are maintained by Solar Researcher Silja Pohjolainen. The pages can be found here.

  • 2. 5. 2005 Research Highlight OJ 287 campaign 2005-2008

    The OJ 287 2005-2008 Project and ENIGMA Campaign pages now open. Tuorla Observatory is coordinating a multi-observatory effort to monitor the next outburst of this special object.

  • 25. 4. 2005 Congratulations to Leena Tähtinen and Silja Pohjolainen, whose book Aurinko - tähden tarina has just been published by WSOY.

  • 25. 4. 2005 Congratulations to Pasi Nurmi, who was introduced as a GAIA member of the Double and Multiple Stars Working Group and the Photometry Working Group. GAIA is a European Space Agency mission which will map about one billion stars in the Milky Way. More

  • 19-22. 4. 2005 Renato Falamo from the Osservatorio di Padova visited Tuorla Observatory, to work with Jari Kotilainen. Renato gave us a talk on " Redshifts of BL Lac objects - results from VLT data" which included magnificent, high signal to noise spectra of BL Lac objects, with redshift detections for many from absorption lines in the host galaxy's stellar populations. They have also together just set a new record for the most distant host galaxy detection.

  • 19. 4. 2005 CONGRATULATIONS to Opteon Oy! The Herschel mirror, which when deployed in 2007 will be the largest sent into space, has now been polished to perfection. The mirror has left Tuorla Observatory by Beluga transporter for France. More here on this unique, record setting mirror

  • 2-3. 3. 2005 Erik Zackrisson from the University of Uppsala visited Tuorla Observatory 2.-3. March 2005 and discussed dark matter and galaxy evolution with Chris Flynn's DARKSTAR research group. He also gave us a seminar on the case for dark matter in compact objects.

  • 1. 3. 2005 Research Highlight High-z hosts spotted

    Tuorla astronomer Jari Kotilainen uses the European Southern Observatory's largest telescopes to image distant galaxies.

  • 18. 2. 2005 Svetlana Berdyugina, who is a senior scientist of the Academy of Finland and working at Oulu University, visited Tuorla Observatory 18.2.2005. She gave a seminar about Optical support of the NASA/Stanford Gravity Probe B mission.

  • 28. 1. 2005 Juri Poutanen, professor of astronomy at Oulu University, visited Tuorla Observatory 28.1.2005. He gave a seminar about millisecond pulsars. Juri is also now a member of the Tuorla Board. The visit was hosted by Esko Valtaoja.

  • 19-21.1.2005 A whole lot of people from Finland and Russia visited Tuorla observatory 19-21.1.2005. The occasion was a Finnish-Russian symposium, mainly on radio astronomy and AGN research. Seven talks was given by our Russian colleagues and 15+ short talks by Tuorla and Metsahovi AGN/Planck people.

  • 18. 12. 2004 Rami Rekola has successfully defended his PhD thesis on "Distance Determinations to Nearby Galaxies". The thesis used a range of distance determination techniques, including planetary nebulae, surface brightness fluctuations and cepheid stars. Rami's opponent was Professor Gene Byrd from the University of Alabama. Congratulations!

  • 17. 12. 2004 Dr Alexander Riehokainen has been appointed to a tenured position at Tuorla Observatory. Alexander works in solar physics, and has recently been studying the difficult to observe polar regions of the Sun with the Metsahovi radio telescope. Congratulations!

  • 22. 11. 2004 There will be a slightly unusual ceremony at Tuorla Observatory on Wednesday, 24th of November at 10:15. Dr. David Jauncey (Australian Telescope National Facility) and Dr. Martin George (Curator, Queen Victoria Museum, Tasmania) will present us with a small metal box containing a portion of cremated remains of Dr. Grote Reber, the father of radio astronomy, who passed away two years ago. A similar box will be presented to four other observatories in the U.K. and United States, so we are the recipients of a rare honour. The distribution of these memorial boxes is in accordance with the wishes of the Executor of the Grote Reber Estate, Mr. Dale Blanchard, of Lauderdale, Tasmania. The ceremony will be followed by a talk about Grote Reber and his achievements, given by Dr. Jauncey. Lisää suomeksi.

  • 15. 11. 2004 Congratulations to Professor Esko Valtaoja, who has obtained four years of funding from the Academy of Finland for the project "High energy blazar astronomy".

  • 1. 11. 2004 Congratulations! "Nurkkaan Ajettu Jumala", by Juha Pihkala and Esko Valtaoja, has won the Christian Book of the year prize for 2004.

  • 1. 11. 2004 NEW BOOK. "Avoin tie" by Esko Valtaoja has just been published. A discussion of the future : for humanity, for the environment, for life and for the cosmos. This is the third book by Esko Valtaoja, who was the winner of the 2002 Science book of the year. Published in Finnish.

  • 20. 10. 2004 Research Highlight Dust in space

    Tuorla Astronomers map starlight polarisation up on high.

  • 1-3. 9. 2004 Tuorla Astronomers at the Turku Book Fair Tuorla astronomers Leena Tähtinen and Esko Valtaoja were among the many public speakers at the Book Fair this year in Turku. Leena Tähtinen gave a talk on the Sun, our nearest neighbour, as well as interviewing Academician Olli Lehto on his new book about the Väisälä brothers, one of whom founded Tuorla. Tuorla director Esko Valtaoja spoke on his new book on the "god of the gaps" written with Bishop Juha Pihkala.



  • 10. 8. 2004 Research Highlight Quasar up close

    Tuorla Astronomers peer deep into the heart of a quasar.

  • 1. 7. 2004 The Herschel mirror has arrived safely at Tuorla Observatory's Opteon Lab aboard ESA's Beluga transporter. The 3.5 metre main mirror of the Herschel satellite is to undergo final polishing in the Opteon workshop. The plane arrived on Tuesday 29/6 and the mirror was transferred from the airport to Tuorla on Wednesday 30/6. The mirror itself will be the largest mirror yet to be launched into space. More info here.

  • 14. 6. 2004 - Two PhD theses defended. Congratulations to Juha Reuanen and Seppo Katajainen, who defended their PhD theses on two consecutive Saturdays (5.6.2004 and 12.6.2004 respectively). Juha's thesis addressed the infrared properties of active galaxies. Juha was supervised by Dr. Jari Kotilainen, and has taken a position at the European Southern Observatory in Munich. Seppo's thesis was on polarimetric studies of magnetic cataclysmic variables and was supervised by Dr. Vilppu Piirola.

  • 7. 6. 2004. Dr. Johan Holmberg has joined VISPA on a postdoc position funded by the Academy of Finland. Johan has been a frequent visitor to the DARKSTAR group, and has worked on the mass of the Galactic disk, as well as its kinematic, age and chemical properties.

  • 15. 6. 2004 Research Highlight The little telescope that could!

    Tuorla Astronomers pioneering simultaneous optical and gamma ray observations in the MAGIC collaboration.

  • 20. 5. 2004 Welcome to Tomi Hyvönen, who will be an MSc student at Tuorla Observatory from May 2004. Tomi is doing his MSc thesis on quasar evolution under the supervision of Jari Kotilainen.

  • 15. 5. 2004 Over 800 people visited Tuorla Observatory during an open door day. All the telescopes were open for inspection; an air planetarium in "full-blown" operation; a corner for kiddies to construct planetary systems to their own design; books written by Tuorla staff members on sale and two talks, by Leena Tähtinen on Water on Mars, and by Rami Rekola on Finland joining the European Southern Observatory. Congratulations to all staff and students who participated on a great success!

  • 15. 5. 2004 Welcome to Dr. Luisa Ostorero, who is visiting Tuorla Observatory for six months starting from May 2004. She is from Torino University, and is funded by the ENIGMA postdoc program. She is studying quasars in the research group lead by Leo Takalo and Aimo Sillanpää.

  • 2. 5. 2004 Congratulations to VISPA PhD student Krista Mäkinen, who has obtained 7000 euros from the Emil Aaltonen Foundation and 7242 euros from the Turku University Foundation both towards her PhD work. Krista is investigating the symbiotic binary star system R Aquarii.

  • 1. 5. 2004 Congratulations to VISPA researcher Dr. Rami Vainio, who has obtained 6000 euros from the Academy of Finland to support travel and cooperation between VISPA and Bochum University's Department of theoretical and space astrophysics. The collaboration studies plasma physics in various astrophysical contexts.

  • 22. 4. 2004 Congratulations to Dr. Laura Portinari, who has received a three year position funded by the Academy of Finland. Laura works on disk galaxies and stellar and galactic chemical evolution.

  • 27. 3. 2004 Congratulations to Hannu Karttunen whose new book on everyday physics has been published by URSA.

  • 22. 3. 2004 Welcome to Dr. Eva Örndahl, who has begun a post-doc position at Tuorla Observatory, working with Jari Kotilainen on active galaxies. Eva comes to us from Uppsala Observatory in Sweden, and she is supported by the Academy of Finland.

  • 20. 3. 2004 Congratulations to Elina Lindfors, Mari Hanski, Janne Holopainen and Eira Kotoneva who have been successful in applications for funding support. Elina has obtained funds from the Magnus Ehrnrooth foundation for travel to the MAGIC telescope in the Canary Islands. Mari won funding from the Finnish Cultural Foundation of one year's salary, as did Janne from the Magnus Ehrnrooth foundation, and Eira recieved funds from the Academy of Finland for travel to observe low mass stars in China to use the Xinglong 2.16 meter Telescope. Congratulations to all four!

  • 8. 3. 2004 Unique SiC Mirror to be made at Tuorla Observatory's OPTEON Lab. Tuorla Observatory has won the contract to produce a 1.5 meter mirror of Silicon Carbide for the European Space Agency's ALADIN project. The mission is designed to make detailed studies of winds in the Earth's atmosphere. Lisää suomeksi.

  • 10. 2. 2004 Welcome to Stefano Ciprini, who has taken up a post-doc position at Tuorla Observatory. Stefano comes to us from Perugia Observatory in Italy, and works on Active Galactic Nuclei. Stefano is supported by the ENIGMA collaboration, a European funded scientific network.

  • 10. 2. 2004 Chris Thom is visiting Tuorla Observatory for two months to work on high velocity clouds and distant stars in our galaxy and will be working with the DARKSTAR group. Chris visits us from the Astrophysics and Supercomputing Centre at the University of Swinburne in Melbourne, Australia.

  • 2. 2. 2004 Research Highlight The Tuorla catalog of BL Lacs in the RGB. A catalog of 100 BL Lac galaxies selected from the ROSAT-Green Bank (RGB) survey has been imaged by VISPA researchers at the Nordic Optical Telescope, and has been made available on-line. The research team, lead by Dr. Kari Nilsson, used the very high imaging qualities of the Nordic Optical Telescope, and were able to see the underlying galaxy in 62 of the 100 targets, 37 of them never seen before.

  • 2. 2. 2004 Dr. Laura Portinari has taken up a post-doc position with the DARKSTAR group at Tuorla Observatory (Laura comes to us from the Theoretical Astrophysics Center in Copenhagen). Among other things, Laura works on disk galaxies; their formation, evolution and baryonic content. She is supported by the Academy of Finland.

  • 26. 1. 2004 Congratulations to VISPA researcher Jari Kotilainen, who has been awarded a 5 year Senior Researcher position by the Academy of Finland. These prestigious positions enable the awardee to undertake pure research without teaching or administrative duties.

  • 12. 1. 2004 A seminar series in space physics will be held at the Space Research Laboratory in Spring 2004. Lectures in the program can be found here.

  • 10. 1. 2004 Tuorla part of a European Union scientific network, ENIGMA. Tuorla Observatory is participating in a European wide research initiative into the physics of Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN). The team consists of 8 observatories in Germany, Finland, Ireland, Greece and Italy. The research concentrates on getting mutlifrequency data for AGN in dedicated campaigns from both ground based and space based telescopes.

  • 30-31. 10. 2003 Tuorla participates in the final seminar of the ANTARES research program. The Academy of Finland and Tekes' ANTARES research project has held the final seminar of the three year program at Finlandia Talo in Helsinki. The research group DARKSTAR presented the results of the program highlighting baryonic dark matter searches; massive black holes in the Galactic halo and Helium production in the cosmos. The AGN group showed the results of extensive monitoring of Active Galactic Nuclei which will be an important foreground source in the European Space Agency's Planck mission. VISPA was also on show at the Space 2003 exhibition at the old Cable Factory in Helsinki.  Click here for some photos from the show.   lisää suomeksi.

  • 10. 10. 2003 MAGIC telescope innaugurated. VISPA researchers attended the opening of the MAGIC telescope, the world's largest atmospheric imaging Cherenkov telescope, with a mirror surface in excess of 230 square meters. VISPA is one of the 14 (mostly European) institutes involved. The main contribution of Tuorla Observatory to the collaboration is the use of the 60 cm optical KVA telescope on La Palma in connection with MAGIC observations. This will allow simultaneous optical and gamma-ray observations.

  • 6. 2003 Havaitseva tähtitiede (in Finnish) by Kari Nilsson, Leo Takalo and Jukka Piironen, has been published by URSA. The book is a companion volume to the very popular "Fundamental Astronomy" by Hannu Karttunen; Karl Johan Donner, Pekka Kröger, Heikki Oja and Markku Poutanen.

  • 14. 6. 2003 Congratulations toTimo Laitinen who has defended his Ph.D. thesis on Energetic Particle Acceleration and Transport in Wave-Heated Solar Wind. Timo's opponent was Professor Hannu Koskinen of Helsinki University.

  • 10. 6. 2003 Congratulations to Viatcheslav Koblik, who has successfully defended his Ph.D. thesis on Solar Sail Motion in near-sun Regions. The thesis studied methods of getting a space probe around the solar system without an on-board propulsion system, but rather through the pressure of the sunlight on large "sails". Viatcheslav's PhD is one of the very few awarded in this area. It is likely that such a cocept, which dates back already several hundred years, will finally be realised in the near future (COSMOS 1). Viatcheslav's thesis opponent was Professor Colin McInnes of the University of Glasgow.

  • 16. 5. 2003 VISPA Ph.D student Ramon Brasser has defended his thesis onAspects of Solar System and Three-body Dynamics. Ramon's thesis opponent was Professor Kimmo Innanen of York University in Toronto. Ramon was supervised by Seppo Mikkola. Ramon has now taken up a post-doc position at York University.

  • 15. 12. 2002 Kaj Wiik has defended his Ph.D. thesis entitled VLBI and Total Flux Density Investigations of the Structure of Active Galactic Nuclei. He used VLBI (Very Long Baseline Interferometry) techniques and compared radio flux measurements and VLBI maps as well as gamma-ray emission to study Active Galactic Nuclei. Kaj's opponent was Philip Edwards from Japan's Institute of Space and Astronautical Science, ISAS.  

  • 4. 12. 2002 New detail has been observed in sunspots with a lens produced at Tuorla Obsertvatory and installed recently in the Swedish Solar Telescope. Tapio Korhonen, of Opteon, OY, stationed at Tuorla Observatory, completed the lens for installation at the Swedish Solar Telescope at La Palma in the Canary Islands in spring of 2002. Although the usable part of the lens is 97 cm across, the lens is actually 110 cm in diamter and as such is the largest ever produced. Congratulations to Tapio Korhonen. Images of the lens under polishing (text in Finnish).  lisää suomeksi.

  • 9. 10. 2002 The Earth has a third satellite! VISPA researcher Seppo Mikkola, working with researchers in Canada and the USA, has computed the orbit of an asteroid, finding that it is a kind of natural satellite of the Earth. Althought the asteroid is orbitting the Sun, it is in a peculiar and practically unique resonance with the Earth so that it will, in a few hundred years time, appear to go around the Earth.  More information lisää suomeksi.

  • 19. 5. 2003 Finnish Astrobiology Network innaugurated. A meeting of a wide range of scientific disciplines was held at the University of Turku; speakers working in mathematics, geology, plant virology, astrophysics, ecology, chemistry and genetics addressed the topic of life in the Universe.

  • 10. 5. 2002 VISPA researcher Chris Flynn has been awarded a 5 year Senior Researcher position by the Academy of Finland. These prestigious positions enable the awardee to undertake pure research without teaching or administrative duties. Flynn spent part of the first year of the position on sabbatical leave at the Swinburne University of Technology's Astrophysics and Supercomputing Centre in Melbourne, Australia.

  • 31. 3. 2002 Stellar pair set rotation record. An Anglo-Finnish research team have discovered a binary star which has set a new record for the speed at which the components are circling each other; just 5 minutes! The previous record until now has been about twice as long for stellar systems of this type. The star was found by VISPA researcher Pasi Hakala and researchers at the Mullard Space Research Laboratory. The star in question, RXJ0806+15, is probably composed of two so-called white dwarfs -- stars which have long since ceased to produce their own energy by fusion as the Sun does. The components of the stars are expected to merge together in about 100,000 years.  lisää suomeksi.

  • 12. 1. 2002. Eira Kotoneva has defended her Ph.D. thesis on the chemical evolution of the Milky Way. Eira studied cool stars observed with the European Space Agency's Hipparcos satellite. Professor Birgitta Nordström, of the Astronomisk Observatorium in Copenhagen, Denmark. 

  • 10. 01. 2002 VISPA Professor Esko Valtaoja wins the prestigious Science Book of the Year prize (Tieto-Finlandia) for his book Kotona maailmankaikkeudessa (At home in the Cosmos). The book is published by Ursa. The book, discussing the possibility of life in the universe in a witty style, was among the best-selling non-fiction works of the year.

  • 19. 12. 2001 Finland's first astrobiology course attracts hundreds. "We had to move to a lecture hall twice the size!" says University of Turku Professor of Space Astronomy Esko Valtaoja, after more than 250 students turned up for the lecture course on astrobiology organised by Valtaoja, Astrophysicist Dr. Harry Lehto, Plant Virologist Dr. Kirsi Lehto and plant physiologist and biophysicist Dr. Esa Tyystjärvi lisää suomeksi.

  • 15. 10. 2001 Vispa beats Nasa. Congratulations to Tapio Korhonen and Opteon OY, hosted at Tuorla Observatory. Opteon has been awarded the contract to produce the 3.5 metre Herschel-satellite mirror, which will be launched aboard the satellite in 2007. The mirror will be the largest ever produced of its kind - it is made from SiC, silicon carbide, a uniquely stiff and light-weight material which may become the standard in space-based mirrors.  lisää suomeksi.

  • 28. 8. 2001 Pasi Nurmi defends his Ph.D. thesis on Solar System comets.

  • 21. 7. 2001 Antti Anttila defends his Ph.D. thesis on energetic particle bursts from the Sun.

  • 19. 5. 2001 Mikko Hanski awarded his Ph.D. thesis entitled : "A journey to H0 and beyond via 6619 spiral galaxies."