Saturday, January 07, 2006

Star gazing from a Hill Station

Hello all!
I've been having a fantastic time travelling around the Kanchendzonga mountain foot hills in the north east of India. As some of you might know, the Kanchanzonga mountain is the worlds third highest moutain topping more than 28000ft. So far I've been to Gangtok and Pelling in Sikkim, Lava, Kalimpong, Lolegoun and Darjeeling in North Bengal. I've lugged my Meade ETX105 around with me all over the place and I have to admit the sky from this part of the world is AMAZING! There is almost zero light pollution around here and the shimmer of the milkyway is CLEARLY visible. I can actually see the Great Orion Nebula and the Andromeda Galaxy with the naked eye. I'm amazed at the rich star fields which are visible from around these parts and the altitude is providing some great atmospheric transparency. For the first time ever I've managed to observe constellations such as Vela and Carina. Unfortunately I left my SLR camera adapter at home so am unable to carry out any decent eye piece photography but I've made some first feeble attempts at wide field piggy back photography which has worked out so so. I later discovered I was setting the Autostar to 2005 instead of 2006 which was causing the dodgy tracking and star field drift. Hoping to set up the 'scope again in Jaldapara wild life sanctuary, North Bengal.

Today (8/1/2006) my wife and I went up to Tiger Hill to view sunrise. The dawn colours were glorious and we were lucky to get a grand stand front row view. The actual moment of the sun rising over the mountains, lighting up Kanchendzonga and Everest lasted for a mere ten seconds or so after a wait of almost two hours. Yes we did get up at four o'clock to make the 14Km trek up to Tiger Hill. The Hill is approx. 8000ft high.


At Fri Jan 20, 11:31:00 pm UTC, Blogger Colonel Heffalump J Bandicoot said...

'Shimmering Milky Way, Orion Nebulae, Andromeda Galaxy.' Must be spectacular views! And people wander why our ancestors left so many relics of their fascination with the skies! Better views than fom Middx :-)


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