Wednesday, 12 November 2014

A little journey to the Heavens above

To explore the Heavens above recently I've done two stargazing sessions in one week thanks to my astro friends. Here are the details Why, Where, How we do these sessions.


People frequently asked me 'Why am I doing these stargazing sessions ?' , 'Why are you interested in Astronomy ?' , 'What can you see above, it's just same old sky ?'. Okay first let me clear what Astronomy is coz most of the people mistaken it with Astrology. Astronomy is the study of celestial objects like stars, moon, planets and the galaxies and the physics and the chemistry of these objects while Astrology is the study of the movements and relative positions of celestial bodies interpreted as having an influence on human affairs and the natural world. So both are quite different. Fours years back when I was new on twitter I met first person via twitter and he was @ramizq1 . He was the one who introduced me to this hobby as he is the member of Karachi Amateur Astronomers Society and also the first person to receive a tweet from ISS in Pakistan. With him I've attended many public astronomy sessions and done 2 stargazing sessions when he newly bought SkyWatcher 6" Dobsonian Telescope. On our first session I've seen Sunspots, Orion nebula, Polaris and planet Mars, rest of the details of that session are here. For me these stargazing sessions give me an opportunity to explore the sky above and wondering how nature keeps everything in balance including all the stars and planets.

Where ? 

I've done my first stargazing session with Ramiz at his roof back in October 2013 while these sessions we have done at Zain Bhai's building roof which give us best view of east and west horizon.

our view from the roof

How ?

Okay so let's discuss how we are doing these sessions. We have following things to see the celestial objects in the sky.

1. SkyWatcher 6" Dobsonian Telescope
2. Few eyepieces for the Telescope including 2x Barlow lens for magnification
3. Nikon 8 x 40 Binocular 
4. Nikon Action 12x50 Binocular   
5. Pocket Sky Atlas 
6. Google Sky Map Android App 
7. ISS Detector Android App

With SkyWatcher 6" Dobsonian Telescope we can easily see Jupiter and it's 4 moons and different galaxies while these binoculars can be used to see the Moon and some Messier objects. Pocket Sky Atlas is an ideal guide to explore the night sky it provides very detailed data about stars and galaxies with charts while Google Sky Map can give you name and location of the stars, planets and the galaxies visible from your location and with ISS Detector app you will know when and where to watch for the International Space Station (ISS) and Iridium Flares.

While we were watching the Jupiter

What We Have Seen ? 

On our first session which was on 4th Nov. we have seen the Moon, Jupiter and it's four moons, NGC 2244 which is an open cluster in the Rosette Nebula,Winter Albireo aka 145 Canis Majoris which is most colorful double star in the winter sky and different Messier objects like M35, M36, M37, M38, M41, M46, M47 and M93. Messier objects are set of astronomical objects which include galaxies, nebula, planetary nebula, open cluster etc. List of Messier objects can be found here. On our next session which was on 8th Nov. we have seen the Moon, Jupiter and it's three moons, Beehive (M44), Double star in Polaris or Pole star, M42 (Orion Nebula) which is a diffuse nebula situated in the Milky Way south of Orion's Belt in the constellation of Orion and Iridium flare. We are also taking notes about the objects we have seen so we can discuss them.

Captured with SkyWatcher 6" Dobsonian Telescope and my mobile

Both sessions were planned by Ramiz and Zain Bhai was too kind to provide us the telescope and the sleeping bags. He is a member of Karachi Amateur Astronomers Society and owner at Sahal Telescopes and Binoculars and he has the best telescopes in Pakistan including 6", 8", 10" and 12" telescope and he also deliver telescopes throughout the Pakistan. 12x50 Binocular belongs to Shaheryar and 8x40 Binocular belongs to Ramiz.

All The FUN! 

On our both sessions we had so much fun discussing about the stars and the planets. We invited some of the people to our session from the roof who were there and told them what we are seeing through the telescope.

From Left: Ramiz, a boy and Khalid Bhai who lives there
 A curious boy come to us and asked 'What we are doing here for hours ?' We replied 'See it for yourself' and he was like 'Moon looks so beautiful from the telescope' and he was surprised when we told them that Jupiter has 67 Moons. Khaild Bhai has become our friend now and he always asked what are you seeing right now ? On our 2nd session there was a Barbecue going on on the other side of the roof and Khalid Bhai invites us to taste it. 

From Left: Shaheryar and Ramiz enjoying the beef boti

As I tweeted earlier with twitter I've found so many great friends including Ramiz, Alhamdulillah! With these sessions my love for the astronomy has increased as it can help you in many ways like stars can tell you the direction and the season and I think the nebula and the open star clusters are the most beautiful things you can see through a telescope.


Post a Comment