Some beautiful prominences on 20 April 2014.
Members of 'Lahore Astronomical Society' brought up their handy telescopes. People in the park came to us after seeing some nerdy folks with strange equipment. We were honored to have with us Khalid Marwat, who is a veteran amateur astronomer in Pakistan, known by almost everyone under the stars. He explained in detail some very basic and important concepts of observing the night sky to the beginners there. LAST is thankful for his presence with us that day.
But by far the most important moment for me was to see this young fellow. This 10 years old is selling coconut in the park and trying to make his living. There he sees us with our telescopes and comes to us, probably to sell his coconuts. We encourage him to see through our telescope and he sees Jupiter with his moons!
This is what we do here folks! This is what defines us. We love to take our telescopes to the people who will always be neglected here. Seeing this image makes me so happy :) We are doing something right here!
Thank you to all the members of LAST for taking some time out and making this day a memorable event for all of us.
(These images are taken by members of 'Lahore Astronomical Society')
It was cloudy and very windy today but sky gave me some time to get a few videos.. This is the best i could image today.. a huge prominence on the edge of the Sun and look how small our planet Earth is!
It is mostly cloudy today but i kept trying taking videos of the sun through hydrogen alpha telescope and DMK21 camera. Could get only one decent video to finally get this image.
Sun captured.. day well spent!
Last night meeting of 'Lahore Astronomical Society' was great.. We had two presentations: Syed Roshaan was to talk about basic astronomical imaging skills with simple equipment that anybody can have.. next Maroof Mian was talking about Life cycles of stars.
Maroof did a great job in explaining details of each steps involved in stellar life, from birth to death. He also talked about why a star behaves the way it behaves, using HR diagram. We and those who are new to astronomy loved every bit of it.
The content in Syed Roshaan's talk was arranged in such a way that he managed to teach many different ways of his own learning curve in a very simple way. I was very impressed with his skills and the deep passion he has for imaging with such simple tools. I should be doing much more than what i currently am Roshaan :)
Oh and last but not the least, my son was there and he just loves this stuff.. We have much more in common other than our genes :)
Telescope: Lunt 152mm
Camera: Imaging Source DMK21 mono
Barlow: Televue 2.5X
Telescope: Lunt 152
CCD Camera: DMK21
Barlow: Televue 2.5X
Last Saturday, Lahore Astronomical Society took its members to 'Changa Manga' which is one of the largest man-made forest in the world. It has much better sky than the heavily light polluted conditions here in lahore and just an hour drive from my city.
On Saturday 22 March, i left home for Changa Manga forest at 10:30am. My solar telescope, Celestron mount and power tank, Laptop bag and projector were in safely put in my trunk. On my way i picked up Behzad, Mateen and Mr. Raza of tourism department who actually made our booking of the resort in the forest.
When we reached there, other members had just arrived. I informed them of our plan: First i will present a keynote lecture on the sun and halpha viewing, then we will all have lunch which will be followed by the solar viewing session.
The presentation went quite well.. lots of information was shared and many interesting questions were asked. In the observation session, many of us were the first to see through the halpha telescope. I distributed Charlie Bates' Solar Glasses to everyone there.. also to the staff of the resort.
For night time session we had four telescopes and some binoculars.. saw quite a few galaxies, clusters and usual planets. Clouds came in, as predicted, around 01:00am and we went to our rooms for a good sleep.
These are the pictures taken from many members of the astronomy society:
In this month's LAST's meeting, i delivered a keynote presentation on 'Space Race', a historical review on decades long struggle between America and Russia, to put man in space and later on the moon.
I first showed the society, a 10 seconds animation of a beautiful solar loop and a solar flare and if you were not in this meeting you would have to wait to see this because i have yet to upload it. All enjoyed a lot to see the burst of plasma coming out of the solar surface in such a short time. I talked in detail about everything happening everywhere in this animation so the viewers would better able to understand the magnetic activities happening on the solar limb.
I talked about Van Braun and Sergey Korolyov passion for rockets and dreams of man's travel to the planets and beyond; how they managed to put their countries' abilities to build rockets after World War 2 and the problems they faced.. and finally the flight of Yuri Gagarin, the first person to go to space in 1961.
Meeting was scheduled to end at 20:30 but we continued it till 22:00.. Ali Khan gave us a pair of lenses for a ready to work 'telescope in our pockets'.. Thank you Ali! Thanks you Rizwan Butter for always hosting us and the treat you always provide.
If you want to know what we talked, in detail.. go to the following LAST FaceBook page and there you will see Ali Khan's thorough report on our meeting:
Next meet up will be in the field.. under the stars!
'Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute of Engineering Sciences and Technology' is one of the most respected institute of engineering in Pakistan. On 16th February, 2014, i represented Khwarizmi Science Society (KSS) in the Science Fair which had attracted students from all over Pakistan.
For me, it was a 500 km of travel so i started a day earlier and slept a night in Islamabad. My presentation and hydrogen alpha observation, according to the invitation letter i received, was supposed to be from 10:00am to 12:00pm. I reached at the GIKI gate half an hour earlier. But when i asked a person at Science Fair desk to show me the program, there was nothing about my event. Ok.. so i had packed up my telescope and mount with all the other gear.. travelled 500 km from my home a day earlier.. now standing here at this Science Fair desk and my presentation is nowhere to be found!.. this did not look good. KSS people contacted the Science Fair folks and after waiting for 30 minutes i was told that they have allocated a slot for me from 11:30am to 01:30pm.. now i just had to wait for another hour.. perfect.
In 2010, i also came here with Celestron C14 telescope, it was such a pleasant experience then. Folks then at Science Society were much more welcoming and very well organized.. missed them all dearly, this year.
Anyways, i waited because there were about 300 students from all over Pakistan and i really wanted them to experience hydrogen alpha views from the sun.
It was a good solar observing session.. I handed over 100 solar glasses, which were so kindly donated to me by Stephen Ramsden of 'Charlie Bates Solar Astronomy Project'. This way these solar glasses were distributed to many corners in Pakistan and that.. just made me happy.
While traveling through Swabi, i saw many Rickshaws without number plates.. when i asked a driver why there are no number plates on these vehicles; he said traffic police does not stop us for this so we do not bother with the plates.. very friendly folks in Swabi Police :)
I also saw many police officers' photos on the electricity poles (the picture is in front of a Police Station).. they were Shaheeds (martyrs) of Swabi, died in terrorists attacks.. sad indeed.
What a wonderful solar outreach experience! .. the whole experience was one of the best in the past many years of my public observing sessions. Maroof Mian and Ali Khan were kind enough to accompany me on the occasion.
"Lahore Grammar School' Johar Town Branch is one of the best in lahore and the students i interacted with, proved it well. I started out by giving a 30 minutes lecture on the basics of Sun and what they will view from an hydrogen alpha telescope, using a keynote presentation in the school hall. The target audience were six classes of grade 5.
Then moved out to the football ground where Ali Khan and Maroof Mian helped me out with setting up Lunt 60 on Celestron VX mount. It just took me minutes to polar align the mount and see the sun in the eyepiece. Stephen Ramsden, founder of 'Charlie Bates Solar Astronomy Project' has been very kind and has sent me hundreds of 'Solar Glasses' absolutely FREE, which i took with me there at LGS along with a cool poster.
Each class came with a teacher.. I first gave them Solar Glasses and when they saw the sun.. they got so excited: "AALAA (meaning: super awesome).. WOW.." Some jumped on their feet with joy :) Then i told them that these glasses are sent from Stephen of CBSAP which is in USA. They said to please convey their thanks to them.. so thank you CBSAP from all those fifth graders!
In the end, students' science club gave me a hand made and a very beautiful 'thank you' card with all the members' signatures.. sweet :)
Thank you for coming on such short notice Maroof Mian and helping me in the very exciting solar viewing session. Special thanks to Ali Khan for staying with me till the end and explaining many students at the telescope how to observe better. Thank you Science teacher Mrs Shaista Irfan and other LGS folks for making this event such a success!
In the last week of December 2013, i went to Buraq Planetary Society's camp in Chak Shehzad, Islamabad. I carried with me lunt 60 hydrogen alpha solar telescope.
It was a wonderful experience.. Buraq Society selects a number of students across Pakistan and expose them with many lectures, demonstrations and hands on activities for about 10 days. They have been doing it for the last 20 years now and it was their 10th Space Camp.
In the afternoon, I mounted the solar telescope on Celestron VX mount and showed the sun to all 40 students (ages 14-16) with a Televue 9mm eyepiece. They were amazed to see a couple of sunspots, prominences and the textured solar surface. It was there first experience and they were totally mesmerized to see the sun in so much detail. I was asked many questions about solar magnetism, sunspots and prominences.. as well as usual WOWs and Oh my God.
I am thankful to Buraq people for inviting me over there and for their wonderful hospitality. I will be taking the big Lunt`152 in their next space camp!
About Buraq Society:
No luck for me today for imaging sunspot 1944. Forecast is clear for tomorrow and i do hope i could image 1944 one last time before it disapperas.
Seeing was fair today.. this is a mosaic of 11 frames from today's session.
Sunspots are not the only things happening on the sun these days. Here are a few prominences:
Active Region 1949 has appeared with one sunspot but it looks like a twin pair in this image.