In this episode, we talk about stars.. how did we first know the nature of stars in the night sky? what amazing knowledge spectroscopy of starlight has given us? what different colors of stars can tell us about their physical properties? Let's begin our journey by asking these question to Dr Salman Hameed.
In March, i imaged Pluto with Celestron C14 telescope and SBIG ST9XE camera. Where is Pluto in this image? I have attached a chart here (click the image) and you can find it in this crowded star field.
This chart is from TheSkyX Pro which is a premium software used for planning and controlling all modern observatory equipment but i noticed the position of Pluto is a bit different than marked in this chart. Have no clue why it is so.
Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy, honored us all by coming to Zeds Astronomical Observatory to deliver a lecture on Blackhole and Information problem, on Lahore Astronomical Society's monthly meeting of April 2015.
I am truly grateful Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy, for coming here and enlightening us about the amazing physics of Blackholes. Every participant learnt a lot from you and enjoyed your pleasant company.
Here is the recording of the whole event.
Yesterday evening was beautiful at the observatory. I opened Canon 6D and took around 10 images of western sky. Moon in Hyades, Venus, Orion, Taurus, some Auriga and even Pleiades in the lower horizon.
I could spot, barely, a 5.8 magnitude of star in Pleiades.
Telescope: Lunt152 Hydrogen Apha
Mount: Celestron CGEM DX
Camera: Imaging Source DMK21
Here is the fifth podcast of 'Hamari Kainaat', our bimonthly Astronomy podcast in Urdu. In this episode Dr Salman Hameed answers questions which were asked by amateur astronomers around Pakistan.
We talk about protoplanetary disks, end of the Universe, expansion of the Universe, history of Sun-centered and Geo-centered model of the 'Universe', importance of Astrophotography in Astronomy and efforts of amateur astronomers for popularizing Astronomy in Pakistan.
Ali Khan and i visited Lahore Grammar School even when it rained that day and was cloudy. Their Science teacher Shaista Irfan had arranged a star gazing session there and had brought a Meade 90mm ETX telescope.
We observed Jupiter and M42, also some bright stars as well. Constellations were identified and some of the history of Astronomy and telescope was discussed. Star maps were distributed and used by the students. Good job boys!
Punjab University is a big institute for educating thousands, here in my city. They have a Space Science Department and recently have showed great interest in Astronomy and observing with telescopes.
I got a call from the observer of their department and on 27th February, 2015, i went there to help them with the two big scopes they have in their department. One is from Meade with 14 inch mirror and the other is of Celestron having 8 inch aperture. Both have Alt-Az mounts.
There were some issues with initiating the power so we used it manually. Needless to say, the optics are amazing.. 14 inch mirror always is a treat to use. It was quite hazzy and partly cloudy, but still we were able to see moon and jupiter.
These images were taken by the students of the department and you can see how enthusiastically they were using the scopes. I am sure we will see a lot more coming from Space Science Department in the near future. I wish them all the Astronomical success!
Yesterday, we had a great time at LAST monthly meeting at the observatory. As usual i started of by introducing Zeds Astronomical Observatory and what we did last month here. Our photometric submissions were 42 in total, although it was quite a cloudy and rainy month.
Rabeea Rasheed, who is a second year student of Lahore College for Women University, gave a talk on Astrobiology which was wonderfully explained. She had definitely done her homework there!
Good to see new faces in the meeting! Here are some of the pictures i took.
Recently attached my new Canon 6D with CBSAP triplet 127mm Refractor telescope and took a single shot image of the Moon. Processed it in Photoshop and it turned out nicely sharped and exposed.
Students of Lahore Grammar School, Johar Town Branch, visited the observatory a few days ago. First i gave them an introductory presentation about the observatory which was followed by a tour of the building, the main telescope it has, Celestron C14 with all its extra gear and the adjacent 'Human Room'.
Fortunately the sky was clear and we first setup Celestron CGEM DX mount, mounted Lunt 152mm Halpha telescope on it, adjusted the pressure tuner, focuser and looked into the eyepiece. There it were.. a few but beautiful Solar Prominences. Lunt152 is an amazing instrument to see the Sun's lower atmosphere. With its big aperture, the details in the view are unforgetable indeed!
Nothing comes close to a white light telescope setup to see the surface of the Sun, where Sunspots and Granulation can be seen at their best. CBSAP 127mm refractor with Herschel Wedge is such an out of this world combination for observing solar surface... Unfortunately, there were very few and small Sunspots at that day; Nonetheless, these young minds were intrigued by looking 'directly' at the Sun and asked many many interesting questions.
I am thankful to their Science teacher Shaista Irfan, who planned and organized it all. I am sure many more students of this school will be coming here after their exams.
Last month, in January 2015, a triple transit occurred on Jupiter. A transit can happen on Jupiter once in a week or so but the next triple transit will be not before 2032!
What is it? How and why it happens? What is the importance of Planet Jupiter in our Solar System? These are some of the questions we try to answer in this episode of Hamari Kainaat. So let's listen to it!
Lunt 152mm Hydrogen Alpha Telescope
DMK 21 Camera
This lecture was given in at the end of December 2014 here at Zeds Astronomical Observatory. We had a good gathering in the cold evening. The lecture (in Urdu) was about the efforts we humans have done to know about the Universe and how it has shaped our understanding of who we are. I am sure you would all enjoy it.
Astronomy is becoming more and more popular in Pakistan, specially in Lahore and Karachi. In Karachi city, Karachi Amateur Society is doing a really good job to popularize it among the students, general public and of course among there members. They have a beautiful observatory with very fine instruments!
Amateur Astronomers also formed an Astronomy society in Peshawar recently and i have skyped with them once, thanks to the great efforts of Khalid Marwat.
In my own city, Lahore, we have a very active group and so many enthusiastic members who run Lahore Astronomical Society. We regularly hold a monthly meeting at Zeds Astronomical Observatory, where one of our members delivers a keynote presentation, which follows by a very active Q/A session. Workshops are also conducted here so amateurs at all levels can benefit with others' skills.
My observatory also host public star and Sun gazing sessions. We have many telescopes of all kinds and sizes to see what's up there.
Dr Salman Hameed and i were planning to start a podcast in Urdu for Astronomy outreach in Pakistan. This dream has finally been realized now! Anyone who has an internet connection can listen and enjoy. Here is our first episode of 'Hamari Kainaat'!
This is from last night. This asteroid is from main belt and was first discovered in China by an American Astronomer in 19th century.
These images were taken from 12:18 - 12:58 yesterday night. There are total of 40 frames, here running at 10 frames per second. Each frame is of 30 seconds exposure in Astrodon V filter.
My back on the hand calculation says, it is moving at about 400 km/sec..Thats fast! Is that right?
Equipment: Celestron C14 Telescope
Mount: Losmandy Titan
Camera: SBIG ST9XE CCD Camera, internally guided
Software: FocusMax, MaximDL, Pinpoint, SkyX Pro
Here is a stacked image of all these ~ 40 frames. The streak is the path it took while imaging.
Here is a huge prominence visible at the edge of the sun. Compare it with the size of the Planet Earth! This prominence is solar plasma being held by the loops of complicated structure of solar magnetic fields.
I have started submitting variable stars' data to AAVSO (American Association of Variable Star Observers), the largest group for variable star observers in the world; it has more than 20 million observations and counting.
This image is the screen shot of my submission report on AAVSO homepage. So happy to see 'PK' there at the website :)
The equipment and softwares i am using are as follows:
Telescope: Celestron C14
Mount: Losmandy Titan
CCD Camera: SBIG ST9XE
Filter Wheel: SBIG CFW-8
Filter: Astrodon Photometric V Filter
Softwares: Maxim DL and Maxpoint