Five BAS Members - Hemant, Naveen, Rakesh, Amar and I (Pavan) Made it to TANASTRO's star party last saturday. The event was preceeded by an eventful and cheerful journey to the venue Ramanjeri Village, About 20KM off Thiruvallur enroute to Chennai. The journey spanned about 9 hours owing to heavy traffic in Bangalore and approximately 350KM in all.
While we reached the venue at about 7PM finally, there was quite a big TANASTRO gathering already. Ironically, the skies were not too kind.. The transparency was poor and the sky glow was pretty bad. We however, set up our 12" f/4.5 Dob hoping for some clear windows. We did manage to find some and although the views were through quite a thick layer of haze, the views of bright objects of like of M42 - The Orion Nebula, M79 - The globular in Lepus, M1 - The Crab Nebula were still satisfactory. Around the same time, the common man amongst both the groups - Dr Suresh Mohan made it to the venue along with Akarsh Simha.
The skies taking a turn for the worse, we retired for dinner with Dr Suresh, Mr Vijay Kumar, Dr Anand and co. Dinner was again followed by Observing in breaks and clear windows throughout the night. The Leo Triplet of Galaxies, M81 and 82 in Ursa Major, M3 in Bootes, M51, Saturn .. All sported fairly good views with the 12" telescope.. This inspite of the seemingly poor skies. Had we been fortunate enough to have more transparent skies, we probably would've come to realise the real darkness of the site. At about this juncture, the skies took a turn for the worse and the lot of us retired to a Midnight conference featuring a talk by Dr Anand about the evolutionary trends of the solar system. The talk ignited quite a few questions and answers and a fresh new flurry of thoughts..and I daresay it probably was the highlight of the whole event. By the end of the talk, Most would've felt that Dr Anand's thoughts deserve more recognition. We hope Dr Anand continues his research on the whole topic.
The observational highlight of the whole night was about to follow shortly. Jupiter in the early morning skies provided a stunning view with the aperture power of the 12". The planet was viewed at 270X with a 4.8MM Nagler on and the view was crisp, sharp and potentially dumbfounding ! The gas giant planet sported atleast 6-8 central cloudbands and the 4 galilean moons. Meanwhile, Dr Suresh and Akarsh were at the Telescope webcam-imaging Saturn. They've managed to obtain a really crisp image of the ringed plant ! The image has been posted by Dr Suresh on astronomyclubindia. After a satisfactory night at observing, We all hit the sack.. or rather the seats in the car before the break of Dawn. Dr Suresh and Akarsh took leave from us early in the morning followed later by the rest of the TANASTROers. Devoid of sleep and the long journey ahead, we took our time longer to sleep for a while longer. We left Ramanjeri Village at around 11AM and reached Bangalore at around 3PM. The healthy interaction between the two regional astronomy clubs was extremely pleasing. Contact information between individuals, mailing lists alike were exchanged freely.
We've also invited our friends from TANSTRO to join us this March which has been accpted by them We do hope they will join us in big numbers. Just a word of mention about the organisers of the Star Party.. The event was organised and coordinated to the most minute of details. Arrangement of food and sanitation facilities was of the highest standard and the people management was excellent. The venue chosen was again and great pick ideal for astronomy. The efforts of TANASTRO towards amateur astronomy certainly deserve all appreciation and applause.\t\t\t