APRIL 2023 STAR PARTY OBSERVATION LOG
Updated: May 7
Venue: Jungle Mount Adventure resort (12.213611° N, 75.608333° E) Date: The nights of 22 and 23 April 2023
This is an observation log of the star party attended by a group of us consisting of 12 adults and 6 children. Main objective was to observer the Summer Milkyway.
A late afternoon shower left behind some clouds and haze, but the sky cleared up after sunset, though it was not completely transparent. There was a bit of light pollution on the North West corner, but the sky was dark on all other corners.
Observation started at about 6:30PM with a look at 1 day old crescent Moon and Venus: We started the observation admiring the 1 day old Moon with Earth Shine lighting up its dark side. Brilliant Venus was a bit high up in the sky away from the Moon, but the Moon was on course for a conjunction the next day.
Orion Nebula: Not as great as what I have seen in Kavalur during Feb 2021, due to the sky not being completely transparent.
The binary stars Alcor and Mizar (Arundati and Vasisht) in the handle of the Big Dipper could be easily resolved, though naked eye resolution was not possible due to light pollution on the North West sky.
Mars: The red planet was way too small. No details could be resolved.
Sky became increasingly hazy and we decided to pack up for the day hoping the following night to be better.
A brilliant sunny day promised an equally brilliant night. And brilliant it was for a summer sky! The team had a great time visiting a historical monument, an arduous hike up half-way to Tadiandamol peak. Few of them went all the way up to the peak as well!! Those who returned earlier had a great time playing in a nearby stream.
7:00 PM: Observation started soon after sunset with a look at 2 day old crescent Moon in conjunction with Venus.
7:35 PM: Serious observation started after the Moon set at 7.35pm.
7:45PM: Orion Nebula: A bit more clearer than previous night, though still not as great as what I saw in Kavalur in February. Four stars in the trapezium (Orionis A, B, C and D) were easily resolved.
8:00 PM: The binary stars Alcor and Mizar (Arundati and Vasisht) in the handle of the Big Dipper could be easily resolved. Alcor could be barely resolved through naked eye.
8:30 PM: Centaurus begins to rise in the south.
9:15 PM: M41 - Little Beehive Cluster. An open cluster in Canis Major.
9:39 PM: M44 - Beehive Cluster. An open cluster in Cancer. Much brighter than M41.
10:13 PM: M51 - Whirlpool Galaxy. A spiral galaxy in Canes Venatici. Extremely faint. No features could be resolved. We could barely see it as a smudge.
10:43 PM: NGC 5139 - Omega Centauri, the famous globular cluster in Centaurus. Most brilliant DSO (Deep Sky Object) observed that night. The grains (from the millions of stars in it) could be resolved.
1.30 AM: Summer Milkyway began to rise with Sagittarius and the famous Tea Pot. Milkyway continued to rise till about 3 AM, giving a great view to the observers. Timelapse photography started with a tripod mounted DSLR with a 10mm Sigma Lens and Intervalometer (see the pictures and video below).
1.40 AM: M6 - Butterfly Cluster - An open cluster in Scorpio. Looked bright and brilliant.
3.00 AM: Increasing haziness and dew. Photography had to be stopped due to dew formation on the lens.
3.00 AM: Observation is stopped and packed up.
3.30 AM: Sky gets clearer but since telescope is packed up, decided to end the observations.
Main stars identified:
Credits: Swati Kamat for providing supporting details of the observation.
The star partiers!
Star trails in front of the Milkyway
Timelapse of 60 images, with each frame exposed for 50 min at f/4, ISO 800, Sigma Lens 10mm