Deep Sky Observing Session, Part 2 – The DSO Marathon

By 6:30 P.M the Sun had gone to sleep behind the hills and telescopes were assembled and ready to take part in Celestial Hunting.

Sunset from Goth Haji Ismail Khan, shot by Jagdesh Pahuja.

Of course, the first object was the Moon. It was a Waxing Crescent and looked really great through the Celestron 8″ SCT at 80x magnification. Then we pointed the C8 towards Jupiter, the King of Planets. Jupiter really looked awesome at 80x. I could differentiate between its various atmospheric bands. It was looking like a small marble ball with various color prints on it.

Jupiter at nearly 80x Magnification

Meanwhile, I told Imam of the local Mosque about various Celestial Facts. I tried to explain him in the easiest possible way. Told him about Star birth, Planets, Size of the Universe etc.

After Jupiter, we turned C8 towards Double Cluster in Constellation Perseus.

NGC 869 and NGC 884 – The Double Cluster in Constellation Perseus

Suddenly Imran bhai shouted, Why haven’t we still looked at the Andromeda Galaxy. Laser pointer was brought out, location designated, and Andromeda Galaxy (Messier 31) was in the field of view of C8. A small cloudy appearance which was different from all other surroundings.

M31 – Andromeda Galaxy

Everyone looked at Andromeda Galaxy. I then requested to go for the Orion Nebula (Messier 42). C8 was moved to aim at the Orion Nebula and boy, how impressive was the look of it. It was so bright that I had never imagined it to be that wonderful at 80x. Thanks to the optics of C8 and dark skies of Balochistan.

M42 – The Orion Nebula – An approximation from an 8″ SCT

I tried to observe M42 through Abbas bhai’s Super Stable 20×60 binoculars, and I bet it looked the same as it was looking in C8, just a small difference in closeness.

Clouds inbound. Observations stopped almost. I was so angry at clouds, wanted to push them away. Since there were so many clouds, there couldn’t be any good deep sky observations, therefore we decided to rest a bit. Meanwhile I talked to Imrana and Azhar about ET life and many other Astro Things.

Time for a Kadak Doodh Patti.

Food was prepared. Goat’s roasted leg. Tried to chew it but the goat was more powerful than my teeth even after his death. Leg piece was finished in 10 minutes or so and its Planetary Nebula was thrown away. Dinner was prepared by Ada Sadiq and I really loved the bread he made, so soft and delicious.

We thought clouds would move away but they were still there to tease us. Kept peeking through the small openings in the clouds and hunted several objects. Sirius, Betelgeuse, and Rigel were observed.

Once again, it was time for a strong tea with milk.

Discussed with Zain about Dajjal.

Kadak Doodh Patti one more time. But this time it was inside the room.

Saw the sky through the window and it looked clear. Ran outside the room and it was full of clouds. Disappointed.

Nearly at 11:45 P.M, the sky was fully clear finally. Now the real fun began. I approached Mr. Naveed Merchant’s Meade LX200R. Zain Ahmed showed me Open Cluster M 46 in Constellation Puppis and there is a planetary nebula NGC 2438 inside M 46.

Some more notable objects observed were:

While observing with Abbas bhai, had one more cup of strong tea.

Showed the Cigar Galaxy to Mr. Naveed Merchant and he really liked it.

Went for Milky Way Galaxy shot with Mr. Hanif Bhatti. Stood still in one posture for several minutes in freezing cold winds.

Myself with Orion-Cygnus Arm of the Milky Way Galaxy. Shot by Hanif Bhatti.

Discussed Dark Matter, Dark Energy, Big Bang Theory and other Cosmology things with G.M Laghari while lying on the mattress under the open sky. I was hiding myself inside the blanket while trying to pay attention to G.M Laghari. Soon I slept right there under the sky. Everyone warned me not to sleep there because of severe cold but I was so lazy to get up and go inside the room. But soon I realized it wasn’t a right decision and I ran inside the room.

Woke up around 6 A.M and saw Planet Venus through Meade LX200R. Saw its phase. It was half disk.

We then started packing. Abu Bakar, myself, and Mr. Asim Qadri went up the hill once again to take a look at the rising Sun.

Morning in the Valley

Had a very good breakfast which was prepared by Ada Sadiq. Milk Tea with Bread. After the breakfast, had a few shots with the group.

From Left to Right: Asim Qadri, Hanif Bhatti, Naveed Merchant, Astronomer Bilal, Imran Rasheed, Abu Bakar, Abbas Jafri, Yaqoob Bhai, Jagdesh Bhai, Azhar Khan

Took a final sight of the valley and left for Karachi. At 10:35 A.M, mobile signals finally started entering in our mobile phones. At 11:38 A.M, I boarded the bus to Hyderabad. At 2:26 P.M, I finally reached my home with memories of a wonderful trip.


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    • Khushbakht on February 9, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    This report is very much interesting and impressive.keep it up 😀

    1. Thanks.

    • Aisha on February 12, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    Interesting read! And awesome pics, esp the second last one 😉

    1. Third Last One, you meant to say.

        • Aisha on February 12, 2011 at 4:01 pm

        No I meant the second last.. though the third last is really good too, Milky way looks beautiful as usual!

        1. If it was summer season, then I would have got a shot with Milky Way’s Sagittarius arm, that is a one fabulous sight.

          Thanks by the way.

  1. Goat’s roasted leg!!!
    When is the next observing session??

  2. Yes Doctor sahab, a very finely roasted leg, juicy…..

    Sir, its on 5th March, at Badro Jabal, Sindh

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