Hello adventurers, Amna here. I had the pleasure of taking a trip to Mirpur Sakro, Sindh for a night of star gazing and astro-photography. The trip was arranged by the amazing Karachi Astronomer Society.
I absolutely love astronomy and all things space as well as photography so you can imagine I was in heaven (no pun intended). I mean I have seen Interstellar for the 1000th time now and have tried convincing people I am an alien (they don’t believe me but just you wait). This was my second time with the KAS and it was as brilliant as ever. This time around we went to a different location and got to see a few new things.
Around 10:00 am on Saturday Jan 9, all the participants were asked to report to a specific location and from there we all departed on the 3-hour journey to Mirpur Sakro. On the way we stopped for lunch at a local hotel, where the chai was simply divine.
After lunch we made our way to the destination and reached around 3:00 pm. The place was situated in the middle of fields. There was a hut with a washroom and basic amenities one would need for the night. What I liked about this location was that it was near a water body so there was time to squeeze in a little sight-seeing before nightfall.
KAS had an introduction session with all the participants. Since there are people of all ages, its fun to know people from different backgrounds and occupations and bond over common interests. After the introduction, the KAS team started setting up telescopes for the long night, and me and my friends took a long walk to the lake.
Upon nightfall, we were given a briefing of what we were going to do in the night. A thorough understanding of the night sky helped in reading constellations and planets. Then as the stars started rising, we were introduced to the major constellations of the southern night sky where we spotted, satellites, nebulae and the Andromeda Galaxy. I was thoroughly nerding out by now.
Throughout the night we were served chai which was not tea-bag chai thankfully (which as we all know is an affront to chai) and we studied and found constellations and galaxies on the telescopes.
The best feature of this trip is learning astro-photography. Due to light and pollution in the city, it is rare to see such a clear sky. So setting our DSLRs at 25 to 30-second exposures produced detailed constellations in pictures.
Most of us passed out around 3:00 am after viewing Jupiter, but got up again at 5:00 am to see Saturn.
Then my friends and I headed to the lake to watch the sunrise. Cannot even begin to explain how amazing that was!
Then we got back, had tea and everyone packed up to leave at 8:00 am. We had breakfast at a local hotel, and reached Karachi at noon.
What you need aka my personal survival kit:
- Toilet paper
- Camera and tripod (if you plan on doing photography)
- Sleeping bag/blanket
- Extra sweaters (it gets pretty cold at night)
- Chewing gum
- Wet wipes
Find out more about the amazing Karachi Astronomers Society and when they are having their next trip here.