My 2 cents

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Its heavenly out there !

Its just keeps getting better ! I have a Newtonian f/8 reflector telescope and the folks at the astronomy session make it all worthwhile. Every weekend I get the time to take it out and spend a night looking up at the skies and sometimes camping the entire night on top of a hill in search of the elusive galaxy or nebuale or the messier object.

For the starters it were the craters on the Moon, the rings of Saturn or the moons that just left me speechless. I have seen Saturn several times but every weekend I start with it and it just keeps getting better ! It was wonderful to see the International Space Station streak across the sky disappearing into the earth's shadows , Sirius, the red planet, M42 the nebulae in Orion - never ever did I think there was one right there, the crab nebula, M81 M82 galaxy, the ghost of jupiter, the double-double, Pleiades star cluster (the logo of Subaru), the beehive cluster, M13 (saw it with a 20' newtonian and oh my - is all I can say), meteors just falling by, man made satellites zooming past .. the list is endless and I am just getting started !! Soon, I will get a telescope with a camera to share pictures. Its fun showing it to kids using the telescope and see the expression on their face.

A KQED video that I saw recently:

Went for the Messier marathon where the aim is to catch all the 110 Messier objects (Google it for details) at the Henry Coe hill down south.. and what a rewarding experience it was. Camped all night and had lots of fun. Its important to arrive early at such events else you will end up driving with your headlights off in pitch darkness. Navigating in the sky is like navigating on the roads without a GPS ! You star hop i.e move from one star to another looking for the elusive galaxy or cluster.

Having grown up in a rural place in India, I guess it were the star filled skies that attracted me to astronomy ! Sadly, there were hardly any options I was aware of to pursue it as a career. A big thanks to a bunch of people at the astronomy association who are so helpful to share their knowledge and wisdom !

I would encourage everyone to spend atleast one night looking at the sky, either at you local astronomy association or with a simple binocular or telescope. I am sure you won't be dissapointed.

Clear Skies !!


Blogger pallavi said...

Nice description :-)

I recollect how we use to gather in my schools days in the play ground in our colony, to check out the skies. Our neighbours were into astro physics and they would organise sky gazing every other time..

It sure was fun! And I do miss those days...

12:38 AM  
Anonymous Trisha said...

Interesting to know.

7:09 PM  

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