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Sidd

My first passionate stargazing session

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Hello everyone,

It has been a while since I posted here. I was waiting for my telescope but unfortunately my friend could not bring it along from UK :( Anyway since that happened I decided to continue my search for a telescope and in the meanwhile I decided to get myself a nice binocular and carry on until I get hold of a good scope. Perhaps, I could continue with a bino for some time and gain experience and then if the passion doesn't die I can get a scope. 

Anyway, I went to a hill station where my father-in-law has a couple of flats (at a height of 6,000 feet) and so they spend every summer there. I usually go for a few nights with my wife and kids for vacation and then come back. I had noticed in previous years that the sky is a delight in the balcony of that flat if clear. However, in those days I looked up at the stars and well that was that. So this year I wasn't able to wait to go there and observe it rather than seeing it like before. 

It mostly rained however I had two clear nights to myself and I cant tell you how lucky I was in those two nights. I enjoyed myself a lot and learnt and also thought quite a lot. I also have a couple of questions from my first night that I would like to ask in order to ascertain my understanding. Anyway, during the first night I did not have the binocular that my father-in-law has as I had forgotten about it. So I just went there and saw things and tried to make sense out of them. I knew it was a pre-night to the Perseid peak but I had no idea that I will see the shower with my naked eye and that it would be that much. I saw the shower with my boy in my lap who would point out at every flash with excitement. However, there are my questions:

1. I saw the shower where different (shooting stars) kept coming. they were like little balls of fire having a head a trail of light following them. But then I also saw something else during the same time and it happened more than the shower. I saw little flashes of light in the sky. One after the other and there were about a dozen of them coming from the same part of the sky more or less. Those were like little tiny dots of lights igniting at a spot and then going out in a second or less. However, they did not have any trail or streak in the sky they were like little spots that would shine in a spot and then go out. what were those ???

2. I also spotted a satellite that was a very bright and moving very fast. However, some website suggested that it was the ISS. How does one differentiate between a satellite and the ISS ? How to know what you are beholding ???

 

It was during the next night that I remembered the binoculars. When I got them from him those were a 12x25 not that good but not bad either. So I gazed at the moon and enjoyed its majestic beauty. Seeing the moon not as a disk and as a spherical object with your own eyes have n effect on you ... it was just lovely. Then I also spotted the Cassiopeia and observed it for some time. And then in the end the last thing was the seven sisters in the Pleiades and that was mesmerising. the distinctive question mark in the sky that made me think and contemplate on many things including, on a lighter note, the fact that I observed the sky and had questions in my mind but the sky responded with a question mark telling me that there is more that there are things even they don't know of :) I shall be writing an article about it soon. 

cheers,

Sidd  

Edited by Sidd
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Excellent report Sidd. You have some lovely skies to enjoy so I'm sure your interest will continue.

To answer your first question, I suspect that these all came from the direction of Perseus and were meteors heading straight towards you from the radiant. Given your dark skies you would have been seeing more of these than perhaps we do over here.

ISS is fairly unmistakable once you have seen it. It is the brightest satellite up these other than Iridium flares, but these are only bright for a few seconds. Your app is most likely to be right, so next time have a look through the binoculars. It should begin to look extended into a square or rectangular shape. With enough power in a telescope you can see detail such as the solar panels.

Enjoy the forum, and your skies!

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Nice report Sidd, sounds like you have some lovely dark skies there. How nice to be finding your way around the night sky with just the naked eye and small binoculars, the best way to learn. As you have found out, the night sky is like a river, there is always something going on and lots of comings and goings. ?

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Hello Sidd - it's good to see you again.

Here's a guide to meteor-showers from a year ago. As these showers are about the same every year from the same parts of the sky, between this guide and a good star-chart to help you find the constellations from your location, you should know where to look and when to look as well. So I hope you can read a Pdf. without any trouble. Here you go - just download it:

Meteor Shower Guide of 2016.pdf

And how about a program to allow you to identify man-made satellites you can see from your location as well. It is called Previsat and comes from France. It by no means can identify all of them, but at least you be able to know when you can expect to see famous and bright ones - like the International Space-Station (ISS - Zarya). It comes with instructions, and is totally free to download and use whenever you wish:

https://sourceforge.net/projects/previsat/

I see you've discovered the best way to make it rain - just decide you wish to see the stars and/or get a telescope. It will rain everytime! :p

Take Care,

Dave

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yep, nice report. And as Stu said

1) probably head on meteors

2) ISS is very bright and pretty obvious - but there are plenty of satellite tracking programs out there, if you know the exact time and location

:)

 

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A very nice read, Sidd, showing your enthusiasm quite well! Keep on exploring the sky with your binoculars - it makes navigating  with a scope easier later on.

Keep on observing and reporting!

Stephan

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Hi Sidd,

You used the word "passionate," which indicates astronomy is more than just a passing fancy. With or without a telescope it looks like the astronomy bug has bitten you, and unfortunately there is no cure. It's a shame your friend couldn't bring you the telescope but I'm sure you'll find one eventually. Meanwhile, carry on with the binoculars as they are a great tool for our hobby. :icon_biggrin:

 

Edited by mikeDnight
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20 hours ago, mikeDnight said:

Hi Sidd,

You used the word "passionate," which indicates astronomy is more than just a passing fancy. With or without a telescope it looks like the astronomy bug has bitten you, and unfortunately there is no cure. It's a shame your friend couldn't bring you the telescope but I'm sure you'll find one eventually. Meanwhile, carry on with the binoculars as they are a great tool for our hobby. :icon_biggrin:

 

Oh yes sir the bug has bitten ;) With my interest in physics and philosophy, astronomy was only the missing link :) Thanks a lot 

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21 hours ago, Nyctimene said:

A very nice read, Sidd, showing your enthusiasm quite well! Keep on exploring the sky with your binoculars - it makes navigating  with a scope easier later on.

Keep on observing and reporting!

Stephan

It sure does. Spotting is easy and getting familiar with the sky is fast and one learns sequentially and as you said it will help me once I get a scope !

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23 hours ago, Dave In Vermont said:

Hello Sidd - it's good to see you again.

Here's a guide to meteor-showers from a year ago. As these showers are about the same every year from the same parts of the sky, between this guide and a good star-chart to help you find the constellations from your location, you should know where to look and when to look as well. So I hope you can read a Pdf. without any trouble. Here you go - just download it:

Meteor Shower Guide of 2016.pdf

And how about a program to allow you to identify man-made satellites you can see from your location as well. It is called Previsat and comes from France. It by no means can identify all of them, but at least you be able to know when you can expect to see famous and bright ones - like the International Space-Station (ISS - Zarya). It comes with instructions, and is totally free to download and use whenever you wish:

https://sourceforge.net/projects/previsat/

I see you've discovered the best way to make it rain - just decide you wish to see the stars and/or get a telescope. It will rain everytime! :p

Take Care,

Dave

Dear Dave, thanks a lot for the information and the links. I shall surely make use of them !!! 

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On 23/08/2017 at 11:30, Stu said:

Excellent report Sidd. You have some lovely skies to enjoy so I'm sure your interest will continue.

To answer your first question, I suspect that these all came from the direction of Perseus and were meteors heading straight towards you from the radiant. Given your dark skies you would have been seeing more of these than perhaps we do over here.

ISS is fairly unmistakable once you have seen it. It is the brightest satellite up these other than Iridium flares, but these are only bright for a few seconds. Your app is most likely to be right, so next time have a look through the binoculars. It should begin to look extended into a square or rectangular shape. With enough power in a telescope you can see detail such as the solar panels.

Enjoy the forum, and your skies!

Thanks for the answers. They sure resolve my queries as I gain more knowledge. thanks a lot sir !

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Plus I am writing a detailed article about my recent stargazing sessions :) will try to share it here somewhere once published. 

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Hi Side,

I have in the past taken my celestron nexstar 5se goto with me to Karachi and Hyderabad for observing as the skies are ALWAYS clear over there. However, what I didn't account for was the amount of pollution in the sky as when the lights go off (load shedding), it should get clearer but nothing like that happened. I get better sessions in the UK with the same scope with light pollution but the skies are rarely clear here.

 

That said, I went to the northern areas and at saif-ul-mulook I saw the sky in its full might - but it was a full moon so that washed out the Milky Way.

 

I guess the skies you get in Islamabad are much nicer?

 

 

 

Edited by Astro_king

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