World Space Week 2011 Celebrations

It was my wish since a long time, that an Astronomy Event be arranged in Hyderabad. But for many reasons, this couldn’t happen. When I was gifted a precious telescope by Dr. Aslam Chohan from England, I thought I now could organize an event easily.

Soon after receiving the telescope, I realized the the World Space Week was approaching, I decided to celebrate the W.S.W at the Isra University Hyderabad and for that, I instantly got permission from the university administration.

I contacted with my friends Amjad Nizamani and Zeeshan Ahmed, and we were supervised by Sir Naveed Ghani of Telecom Department. We were so excited for this event because it was first of its kind in our city Hyderabad and we were its organizers.

Poster of the Event

The event was set for Friday, the 7th of October, 2011.

I left the home with Amjad at 6:05 PM and picked up Zeeshan at 6:24 PM. At 6:32 PM, Amjad, I, and Zeeshan reached the university. My dad and many other people including the professors of our department were already there. We had arranged multimedia projector and a large screen to show the participants different pictures and slideshows.


Setup of the Stuff

Setting up the telescope took about 15 minutes, meanwhile multimedia projector was setup.

The event’s designated time was 8 PM but it started way before than that. The Imam of the Isra University Mosque innaugurated the event by observing the Moon at 35x magnification.

Sky clarity was awesome, the atmosphere was also very stable, so the telescope wasn’t shaking and the images were lovely.

Soon there were many people and everyone wanted to see the Moon. People asked many questions about the Moon and the Solar System. I gave them explanations about the Lunar Phases and the Eclipses.


Explaining the geometry of Lunar Phases

I projected the bigger picture of Moon from the “Stellarium” software to the screen. So those participants waiting for their turn could see the Moon closely too.

Moon on Bigger Screen

There were tries to take pictures of the Moon through the eyepiece of the telescope. Sir Naveed was highly successful in capturing some fascinating shots.

Sir Naveed capturing Moon shots with HTC Desire

By 8:45 PM, Jupiter was fairly up and bright, appearing from behind the trees, it was slowly rising above from the Eastern Horizon. I turned the telescope towards it, and it was a nice little white ball in the field of view. Participants were amazed to see that the object which is visible as a star to the naked eye, is, in fact, the largest planet of the Solar System.

Planet Jupiter is the largest planet of Solar System

Jupiter has got 64 moons, out of which, 4 moons namely Io, Callisto, Europa, and Ganymede were discovered by Galileo Galilei, so these moons are also called Galilean Moons of Jupiter. These 4 moons are easily visible through even the smallest telescope.

Jupiter and its Moons

People liked the Jupiter very much. Then I increased the magnification of the telescope from 35x to 56x. Now, we could easily see the atmospheric bands of the Jupiter. Different colors of Jupiter fascinated everyone.

I texted Dr. Fahad Laghari to ask if he was coming or not, and as soon as the text propagated down to his mobile phone, I saw him appearing from the darker side of the venue. He was accompanied by Dr. Om Parkash, another astronomy enthusiast from Hyderabad.

Everyone was asking questions they had in mind since years. The query and discussion part is what I like the most. It makes us learn new things because everyone has different ideas and different questions, which lead you to find the answers and thus increase your knowledge.


Explaining various phenomena

Soon there were media correspondents from Express News, KTN, Dhoom TV, and Radio Pakistan, who had come to cover the event. I showed the media personnel the beautiful views from my telescope and they were really happy. They interviewed me and asked about the event and its aim. There were many questions by the reporters about the telescope and astronomy and they talked to my family too about the event and its outcomes.

I then took the laser pointer and guided the people through different stars, as promised in the poster, I told them about the Summer Triangle, and also about different constellations and mythologies related to them. I told them about “W” of Cassiopeia the Queen, and Fahad Laghari and Sir Naveed argued if Cassiopeia looked like a “W” or like an “M”, and to answer this question, Ptolemy was not there.


Map of Constellation Cassiopeia

Cold drinks were served. I was so busy with the telescope that my cold drink was handled by my friend, I would just take a sip and return the can to a friend, then another sip. This continued until I finally got the chance to finish it with peace.

The Pro Vice Chancellor of the University, Mr. Hameedullah Kazi graced us with his coming. I showed him the objects and explained to him about the event and our astronomy society. He also encouraged us to keep organizing such events on regular basis. Later I got photographs with Sir.


With Hon. Sir Hameedullah Kazi, Pro Vice Chancellor, Isra University Hyderabad

Zeeshan was awesome when he was describing different theories related to parallel universes and similar concepts to Fahad Laghari. Zeeshan has command over such topics and though I was busy with the telescope, my ears were pointed towards Zeeshan all the time.

Meanwhile Amjad and Zeeshan were showing the participants “Double Double” (Epsilon 1 and Epsilon 2 Lyrae), a multiple star system, which appears as a single star to the naked eye, and as a double in a binocularsΒ  and in a small telescope. Higher magnifications have shown us that this double star has in fact 2 more component stars which can be resolved easily by a telescope of about 6″ diameter under good conditions.

The Double Double through a medium sized telescope

Amjad guided people through different stars very well with his laser pointer. People see the stars daily, but very few of them know the reality of them, so telling them about the stars was excellently done by Amjad.

Ma’am Ayesha from the Computer Science department especially wanted to see the “Double Double”, which was shown to her through the binoculars by Amjad. Due to plenty of people who were not letting me to turn the telescope towards anyother object besides the Moon and the Jupiter, I had to wait before I could point my telescope at the “Double Double”.

As the audience started leaving, I asked the search lights to be turned off for the darker sky. Now I could take the people to the double stars.

The first target was obviously the Double Double. Through the telescope, they appear in a straight line and a little farther from each other, so you are able to resolve them into a double. The Epsilon Lyrae system is about 162 Light Years away from the Earth.

The next double star to be observed was Albireo (Beta Cygni) which can easily be distinguished as a double star in a small telescope. The component stars are named as Beta 1 Cygni and Beta 2 Cygni. They are separated by 35 seconds of arc. The two components are one of the best contrasting double stars in the sky due to their different colors. It is not known whether the two components are orbiting around each other in a physical binary system. If they are, their orbital period is probably at least 100,000 years.



Showed both of these double stars to Ma’am Ayesha and she was very happy. People really were amazed by the double stars and in fact, double stars are rarely known reality to the people, although, according to a study, about half of the stars of the Milky Way galaxy are double stars.

Sir Naveed, Dr. Fahad Laghari and Dr. Om Parkash were discussing different conspiracy theories like HAARP and others.

Moiz complained that he hadn’t seen the double stars, so I turned the telescope towards Double Double and Albireo for him and he was excited to see those stars which were invisible to the naked eye.

Seven Sisters were walking from the East to West slowly, and I decided to turn the telescope towards them. Messier 45 or the Pleiades is a splendid open cluster in the Constellation Taurus the Bull. It looks awesomely beautiful from a 10×50 binoculars, and from a telescope, you can see the dark bluish colors of the stars. Pleiades star cluster has been found to be known to the Babylonians even in 1600 B.C.

Messier 45 – The Pleiades star cluster

Constellation Andromeda the chained lady was so high. I wanted to go for the M31 but I didn’t get time to turn it towards there. When I realized that I had a Comet in my hitlist, the Constellation Hercules had gone very low in the Western Horizon, Sir Naveed and I tried very hard but couldn’t locate it because the stars had gone so low in altitude, that they were no brighter, so therefore we had to abandon the idea of Comet Garrard.

The final double star to be observed was Almaak (Gamma Andromedae). This star is also known as “Al Rijl al Musalsalah” in Arabic, which translates to “the Woman’s Foot” This is a striking pair of stars which looks as a double in a telescope, but high power observation reveals that the second companion of this double is infact a triple star system. What appears as a single star to the naked eye is thus a quadruple star system, approximately 350 light-years from the Earth.

Sir Naveed observing the Jupiter

Last object of the night was the Ring Nebula (M57) in the Constellation Lyra. Finding it is no difficult if the sky is dark and the finder scope is properly aligned. I didn’t have the latter one. So Sir Naveed held the laser pointer in his hand, and we discussed how to find it. On the large screen, we decided to find the star Sulafat (Gamma Lyrae) and make a line from it towards Sheliak (Beta Lyrae) and hop from Sulafat to Sheliak. Ring Nebula lies a little more than half way on this line. But its not that easy as it sounds, since distinguishing the nebula at small magnifications is a little difficult and you have to be very patient while finding it. This task was accomplished by Sir Naveed at last, and we observed the Ring Nebula. I don’t know about others, but I could differentiate it easily from other stars.

Messier 57 – The Ring Nebula in Lyra

After the observations, we did a photography session of the Moon and us again. The telescope was unscrewed by me and the packup was completed at 12:14 AM. At 12:18 AM, we left the university. Dropped Zeeshan at 12:42 AM and Amjad dropped me at my home at 12:56 AM.

From Right to Left: My Father, Myself, Zeeshan Ahmed, Amjad Nizamani

The event was a success. I had not expected this good response from the people. I enjoyed the questions of the people, its a joy to tell people about this beautiful Universe. It was no doubt the most remarkable night of my life. I returned back to my home with loads of good memories.

Myself with Sir Naveed Ghani, Professor, Isra University Hyderabad

It was decided that such events be held on a regular basis. Thanks goes to Sir Naveed Ghani, Amjad Nizamani, Zeeshan Ahmad, and everyone who helped and encouraged me at all times.

With Amjad Nizamani


All of us live in a gutter, but some are looking at the stars. (Oscar Wilde)


Skip to comment form

  1. I was right when I expected to see such an awesome write-up from you on this event πŸ˜€
    Firstly, thanks for such awesome mentions, and I am humbled!
    It is quite true that it was our combined effort that made it all possible. It indeed feels good to know that by the grace of almighty Allah, we were able to make our mark in history. It was indeed an awesome progress of events which concluded on a high note. Well, I hope that as per our plans, such events continue to happen, good luck to us! πŸ™‚ Hail Astronomers Pride πŸ˜‰

    Well written, and I had no trouble with its mighty length :p Loved it πŸ™‚


      • admin on October 12, 2011 at 10:14 pm
      • Reply

      Hey Zeeshan, thanks for your words. That was just a beginning, as Omer bhai has said, First of many more to come πŸ™‚

      Lets keep the “Anything for Astronomy” spirit up.

    • Lubna on October 12, 2011 at 8:03 pm
    • Reply

    I really enjoyed the beautiful description of the event. I also recalled everything about Solar system that I had read in the elementary level. Thanks for recalling!
    Hope such events would have been organizing in your university and female participation would be encouraged!!!
    Thanks Amjad!

      • admin on October 12, 2011 at 10:14 pm
      • Reply

      Thank you Miss Lubna,

  2. First time Hyderabad – That sounds good. This is surely the first of the many more to come!

    Very impressive!

    • Amjad Nizamani on October 12, 2011 at 11:53 pm
    • Reply

    Very well written, as expected πŸ™‚
    Your posts are always interesting and the length doesn’t really bother much.
    Thank you for making me a part of the team. I really enjoyed the event and its was a nice experience working with you guys.

    Lets hope we can organize many such events in the future, and also ORGANIZE them well next time πŸ˜‰

    Thank you for the mentions πŸ™‚

      • Astronomer Bilal on October 13, 2011 at 12:02 am
      • Reply

      Oh thanks Amjad bhayya it was very nice to have you there, and yaah since it was the first time, we lacked at some places. Next time InshaAllah we will be even better πŸ™‚

  3. Very nice coverage of the event! I wish I hadn’t moved to Lahore so soon. I’m really proud of you for organizing an astronomy event for the first time in Hyderabad. I’m also glad that you got adequate media coverage. I hope more such events are organized in the city; it would boost up the number of astronomy enthusiasts there.


    • ali riaz on October 13, 2011 at 10:19 pm
    • Reply

    Very well written Bilal ,Feels like I was there .. ! Wish I could come .. Looking forward to another Event like that soon .. πŸ™‚ Way to Go Astronomer πŸ˜€

  4. The vivid description of the entire event partly compensates my inability to attend it!
    Props to you and all the organizers who made it possible and such a success πŸ™‚

    Wishing you all greater achievements in the field in future!

    Hopefully, more similar events will be planned and go on in different cities soon.
    Knowing that Astronomy is attracting such interest and participation in Pakistan, is truly enlivening.

  5. wo jee bial wa. zabar10 kam kar rahay ho

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.