Thursday 4 April 2013


Occasionally you will see this place mentioned — Tähtelä.

Tähtelä is where the main Sodankylä Geophysical Observatory is located. It is also the location of a Finnish Meteorological Institute station. Tähtelä is small place with a handful of buildings belonging to the two institutes, a main shared centre (called "Polaria") and various houses, other small buildings and research equipment. It is not really a campus, but it is not really a village either. It is just a special place.

The visitor information sign for Tähtelä. (Photo: D. McKay-Bukowski)

Tähtelä is located about 6 km south of the town of Sodankylä itself on the eastern shore of the Kitinen River.

The name Tähtelä itself means "Place of the stars". Although it is true that the institutes here are not primarily astronomical facilities, we do in fact occasionally observe astronomical objects (such as radio stars, pulsars or our own sun). And certainly some of the staff are trained astronomers who sometimes carry out astronomical research.

Note that there is another Tähtelä. It is a small railway stop, just north of Ingå in the south of Finland (LINK).

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