It had been a while I bought a couple of telescopes but I had not used it outdoors yet. I had been using them only from my building terrace which is full of light pollution. I wanted to go out , at least with the small table top telescope. With encouragement from couple of my friends Srini and LSP we went to a nearby place where sky was relatively dark and one could see stars up to magnitude +4.5 (Naked eye limit in the darkest sky is about 6). This was just enough to see the the couple of stars (mu And and nu And) in Taurus which can be used to locate the M31 (Andromeda Galaxy, the only naked eye object outside our milky way ). We reached around 11pm on 17th Jan at the spot. I was expecting the moonrise at 12 midnight but to my surprise, the horizon was so low (we were at a higher place) that moon appeared at 11.30 itself. It was large and orange colored. We started setting up telescopes quickly to avoid moon light glare in sky. We only spotted very few objects as it was 1st session of this kind.
LSP immediately got busy shooting moon with his excellent photography skills and professional camera and lenses. Here is a 10 minutes exposure photo taken by him. All of us appear as faint shadows as we kept moving around , in front of the camera
A long exposure photograph for 10 minutes. One can see our setup of telescopes and the rising moon in the background. I guess the trails in the top right are produced by the stars of the Orion constellation.
We looked at Moon, Jupiter , four of its moon , Orion Nebula , M45 through the telescope with various magnification e.g. 50X and 125X, 225X using various eyepiece. Everybody except me were lucky enough to see some meteors of annual leonid shower also. I managed to take some long exposure photos of Orion , Canis Major , Canis Minor , Persius Taurus and Cassiopea.
We also tried some afocal photography with highest magnification. LSP was successful in taking a very sharp picture of moon and its craters after several attempts.
This is by far the closest I've seen of our Moon. Now count the craters there!! -LSP
Finally when constellation Leo rose , we expected some more meteors but shining moon made lot of them invisible. Then the red planet Mars rose very close to Regulus (brightest star in Leo).
There was an unfinished trek of mine a couple of weeks back.Today it was time to complete it. Thanks to GHAC for giving the opportunity again. This was my 3rd trek with GHAC. The place was same, the starting point was same as well, just the company was different and very friendly as usual.
We started at 6 AM in the morning and took a more difficult path to enter the area adjacent to the Mumbai road. We had to climb rock and bushes at the starting point itself , so we did decent amount of body warm up at the starting point. We did scrambling at the medium sized rocks which was a new experience for most of the new comers. GHAC founder Diyanat explained the difference between rock climbing and scrambling (where only limbs are used to climb). He also said during scrambling one should always make sure that 3 of the 4 limbs are attached to rock/ground and make movement with the otherp one. Some up us also tried chimney climbing.
After an hour we went downhill through the medium size boulders where we had to warn (by shouting) the person in front/below in case we make any stone falling down accidentally. At the bottom we reached the lake side where a lot of eucalyptus trees and few peacock feathers were found. We walked along the bank of the lake and took a bushy path to reach the dargah. Somebody explained the reason why the lake is called “secret lake”. It was called so because it was surrounded by small hills/rocks , hence could not be seen from from outside until one climbs the rock surrounding the lake. However now a days APIIC had done a lot of construction activities and blown the rocks away. We also discovered the concrete tunnel through which water is supplied to Golconda Fort. Everybody rested for sometime at the small concrete dyke and socialized a little bit. Finally we headed to the main road in a walkable plain path, which took around 15 minutes.
Last Sunday I went for the exploration trek near Durgam cheruvu. As it was incomplete for me, I decided to join GHAC again for another beginners’ trek near Khajauda. This time a lot more people tuned up and there was hardly anybody common with the previous trek. This was first time I was going for a trek on a week day when I had to join office afterwards. It was a great experience to meet new people and climb small rocks. Unfortunately I did not try to do the chimney climbing like many others but I did some practice in a smaller chimney (climbing through the gap between vertical rocks).
Finally after climbing many rocks ,enjoying breeze and the view of Hi-Tech city from the top we returned back .Here is the trail of returning patch , all the way till my house (as I forgot to stop recording the track)
While looking for an astronomy meetup group around Hyderabad I had come across GHAC (Great Hyderabad Adventure Club ), which was also highly recommended by friend Kunal. I discovered there is no astronomy group yet so wanted to create one. However I did not go ahead as I became skeptical about how many people would be interested and it was a paid service. Last week when I came across the newsletter of GHAC meetup group, I saw there was a trek being organized by them at a very familiar and near by place of mine.It was Durgam Cheruvu : A Head To Tail Exploration Hike . I had already been to the IT park side of the lake where there are boating facilities and lake side benches ( I has seen some people sitting their with their iPods and Kindle/Tablet). Hence was very excited about the rocky side.
As per schedule we started at 6.30 PM from the meeting spot after introduction and warm up. 23 out of 31 RSVP turned up. Most of the guys seemed to be working in Delloite Consulting. We had Vamsi as organizer.While entering to the area we found out that they were going to blow the rocks up in few hours. So most likely it was last time were were seeing the rocks. I hope Save the rock society could have taken action but land is privately held .
After 15 minutes we climbed few small rocks and one of my friend got hurt her leg while attempting to jump from one to another (which is always a bad idea ). Hence I stopped climbing any further and helped her getting down to the plain path. Pappu and Sukumar were very kind enough to provide first aid and accompanying us right till the end of the trek.It was great fun meeting them , they were one of the most experienced. Now we chose a relatively plain path and avoided rocks. Rest of the group kept on climbing rocks.
Finally we headed towards home at 9.30 AM. We were questioned by the guards of the private firmed about purpose of our visit. So I would recommend to inform them before hand when going to this place. Few more photos can be found here. I have also played around Miscrosoft Photosynth and created the following.
As part of my new year resolution I had slept (relatively)early on the 1st day of the new year. This gave me a chance to material a planned hiking on the early Sunday morning of 2nd day of 2011.When I woke up it was little late for watching Saturn (rise around midnight and at zenith just before sunrise) however I was quite impressed with crescent Moon and Venus.