Yelagiri Star Party 2013

By naveenln; Published 16 Jan 2013

Unlike other star parties, this one had good mixture of celestial objects, kept the participants occupied, utilized all the telescopes and also provided the platform for learning to everyone.
About 20 participants and volunteers travelled to the location “Yelagiri”, an hill station in Tamilnadu. YMCA was identified by Dr.Suresh Mohan as the best place for star party, which turned out to be the best indeed. With an early start, we reached the location by 5 pm.
As the equipment was transported to the observation location and being setup, participants were encouraged to discuss with the volunteers to understand how to setup the telescopes. Subhankar introduced the astrophotography setup to all participants as set his equipment for the night. Star charts were distributed to the participants.
Followed by a short self-introduction session people shared their expectations for the night. There were 5 telescopes for observation arranged at comfortable distances for observation. Planet Jupiter and Andromeda galaxy were observed and broke for dinner.
Later, Naveen Nanjundappa setup a white board on the walls to explained the basic terminology required, important directional concepts, the Alt/Atz co-ordinate system and clock convention for observation. He later explained the variety of objects that were planned to be observed during the night.
Introduction to night sky and constellation tour by Naveen familiarized the participants with at least 18 constellations in an easy way to remember them.
Instructions and objects were given to the telescope owners based on their personal agenda and goals, without any delay, 5 telescopes were operational and participants were busy observing various objects and discussing about them. Lots of objects were observed throughout the night, the sky conditions were good.
M51-Whirlpool Galaxy, M104 Sombrero Galaxy, Comet C-2012 K5 and Galaxy cluster steal the show.
Over 35 objects were seen through 17.5 inch telescope and about 25 objects in the smaller telescopes. Participants were distributed to free telescopes, so that they don’t waste time waiting in the queue. Binocular objects tour was done for binocular owners.
Some of the beginner’s telescopes used by Sanath, Viswanath SK and Sankaranarayanan were put to the limits and performed well. As always 17.5 inch telescope was the show stopper.
Next day morning, a catch up session and discussion summarized the objects observed during the star party and the feedback from the participants concluded the star party.

Participant’s feedback and comments
Akarsh Mishra says “Being a complete newbie to this field I personally feel that this star party was just perfect and the most important thing was people were actually interacting with each other in a healthy way and even hats off to the organising committee they were just perfect and answered each and every query no matter how vague or stupid it was, I definitely attending all the star parties and will recommend others also.”
Sankaranarayanan prepared a detailed summary of the star party quoting “I had attended the star party. Overall, it was well planned and well executed. The organizers had a very clear plan of the objectives, how to go about it overall. Nobody was left idle. If there was a long queue at one site, attendees were sent to other telescopes or binoculars. All volunteers were extremely courteous and respectful to all participants. This is important because everybody comes with a different background and people have different levels of knowledge and expertise in astronomy. There were also good interactions and Q&A. Overall there was great engagement between people.”
Flying Officer Rohit Singh says “It was my 1st star party at Yelagiri, and so had a lot of expectations from it, and I’m happy to say that BAS totally fulfilled it. There was a time when i could literally sense the messier marathon going on”
“This was my first star party and, thus, was a lot excited. I'd say that the experience was really nice and it, undoubtedly, boosted my interest in stargazing. Hope to see more objects in the upcoming star parties.” Quoted Saurabh Manchanda.
“As a BAS volunteer, this is my second Star Party. This Star Party was well structured, well started, and finally at the end a perfect finish! As a student and volunteer I have learnt a lot of things from this party. I believe this Star Party will become a perfect example for our future star parties. Credit goes to all Participants, Volunteers & Organizers.” Said Viswa keerthy
Dr Suresh Mohan commented “BAS star party was the best I've seen, it had all the enthusiasm, the credit goes to Keerthi Kiran and Naveen Nanjundappa, I was most impressed by the way they went about showing objects and final icing on the cake was the review session held in the morning. Kudos to BAS for this great effort, I sincerely recommend any newbie and intermediate astronomer to join further BAS events.”
“Ouch.........I missed this great meet” – Leela.
“I missed a great chance, but lessons learnt. I will confirm my participation early for the next star party...”- Raghuram Devanur.