Report - Star Party at Melkote

By p6; Published 22 Aug 2007

10 of us - I, Rakesh, Hemant, Amar, Akarsh, Vivek, Shweta, Shashank, Utkarsh and Naveen attended the star party at Melkote, Mandya on 11th / 12th August 2007.

The chance of getting any respite whatsoever from the clouds always seemed bleak and there were no miracles in store for us. The sky remained overcast throughout the night, seldom did a few stars pop out and no observations could be possible. Nonetheless, Vivek and Shweta managed to spot a couple of what seemed like perseid streakers but could well have been very bright fireballs considered that not even the brightest stars were visible.

Tme ticked on and we soon realised that there was no realistic chance of getting lucky as fog came in. So we settled down at a rather spooky place near a lake in the middle of the night and played a little astronomy game! While this not only kept us awake, but also helped get rid of the boredom and disappointment of missing out on the Perseids. The group was divided into teams of 5 and each team would think of some astronomical entity, which the opponent team would have to guess within a maximum limit of 20 questions. The game was fiercely contested and provided the necessary entertainment on a rather dry night for observational astronomy.

After 2AM or so, we got back into our cars and made it back to our rooms. The game however continued until 5AM in the morning as all of us insomniacs stayed awake. Only after that did most people head to bed. The sleep wasn't too long for we rose early in the morning for a rather typical Melkote breakfast of 'Pongal' after which we headed to the cheluvanarayana temple. This was followed by visiting the temple of the deity on top of the hill too wherein we got to witness some wonderful landscapes around this scenic part of the world. Finally by noon on sunday, and rather reluctantly..we headed back down to drive back to Bangalore. We would all reach Bangalore by late evening as the traffic on Kengeri Mysore Road made life difficult for us.

Earlier, on the previous day - Hemant, I, Amar and Shweta had made it to Melkote at around 8:30PM in the late evening of Aug 11th 2007 after a day at BAS official work in Mysore. The other party consisting of Naveen, Akarsh, Shashank, Utkarsh and Vivek had started rather late at 6:30PM in the evening to reach Melkote at 10:30PM. Dinner and Accomodations at Melkote were arranged courtesy of Akarsh and this made up quite a bit for the futility of the trip otherwise. The 'Puliyogare' & 'Mosaranna' for dinner coupled up with the Pongal for breakfast the next morning calmed twitchy tongues and hunry stomachs for good. We're very grateful to Akarsh and the folks at Melkote for all the hospitality.