Beautiful Dawn in Bangalore - 25/09/07.

By amar_universe; Published 27 Sep 2007

Even though the following account contains no observing report as such, why I posted it in detail is because of the sense of bliss after coming back to the sky after a long time, after 5 whole months. You can understand...

The dawn of 25th Sept. was one of the most amazing skies from city. At 5:00am, on way to home when I looked up, I saw a slightly light polluted but black sky with pretty many stars fixed on it's plane. It was a different, sort of mesmerising sight seeing stars literally after 5 whole months! The different coloured pin-points called stars looked awe-inspiring even from a city.

I was returning from my night-shift at work and I dont know the sky condition before that throughout the night. I was in a moving cab, so couldnt do much sky gazing. First sights fell on Sirius and Canis Major and Canopus in the south. Venus shone resplendently like a bright beacon, like an approaching airplane. It's current magnitude of -2.6 appears less, it should be -3.6 or something. Above it were Castor and Pollux, Cancer was not visible. Saw two vertical stars below Venus closer to the eastern horizon, didnt know what they were, Hydra or Leo? Had forgotten the relative position of these two constellations due to not being in touch with the late-rising constellations. Later on confirmed these two stars to be Regulus of Leo and Saturn!

After reaching home at 5:30am, the first thing I did was get out of my door with the 10x50 Olympus binocs. Even though many stars were visible, but by then bright blue twilight (along with what extreme frustration!) had just started to build up. Hence I didnt use the binocs at all, only naked eyes to review the basic constellations. Must have seen the pentagon of Auriga with bright Capella in the North. Looked overhead and saw Gemini's foot and couldnt make out Taurus initially! I wonder how I didnt see Aldebaran, Hyades (the V-shape) and Pleiades that day! Saw a "new" bright red star between horns of Taurus and foot of Gemini, what else could it be, immediately judged it to be Mars. Aaahh..what an enchanting feeling it was to see it after few years! It's quite bright currently. It's actual magnitude now is 0.0. I judged it's magnitude to be comparable to Rigel (0.1) and close to Betelgeuse (0.5). That converts to magnitude ~0.3...pretty close estimation.

I can just wonder what details we would be seeing in it with amateur scopes this year end as it gets closer during opposition. When I saw it in August 2003, the details were simply amazing even with a 8-inch scope...polar ice caps and surface features mainly Syrtis Major!! With a 12" scope and filters, now we would see more.

Very soon after some minutes, my naked eye observing had come to an end. The sky had turned a deep blue with hardly any stars visible except for Venus, ever-radiating alone in the entire sky. By now, the very clear sky and the eastern twilight colour had aroused the deep urge for comet hunting in me, something I've longed forever. This place is just the hunting ground for bright comets.

Now skies are back to worse. Waiting for permanent clear skies after 5 long cloudy months. I have announced New Moon observing sessions on 6th Oct and a big BAS event on 13th Oct. Check the Calendar. Hope for the best.