29 April 2012

Stargazing in Trivandrum 2: Shanmugham Beach

Due to the limitations of my rooftop, I decided to take my telescope to relatively open space like the Shanmugham Beach. What I did not realize was the presence of huge floodlights and of course dozens of curious onlookers! The reflection from the multiple floodlights did not make viewing possible even as a small crown jostled for a peek. Then on a weekend break I took the equipment to Neyyar Dam. Here, the sky was immensely overcast leaving not a speck of the sky. Therefore I concluded that the best place for stargazing was my rooftop and I only have to wait for better viewing conditions. And one such opportunity arose yesterday when after nearly a week of heavy overcast skies was a relatively cloud free night. I saw the Venus, Mars, Moon (focussing on Crisium crater), Betelgeuse, and after much waiting for it to come out of the Coconut trees, the Saturn. It is indeed a spectacular sight even with a small telescope. Also realised something else, prolonged viewing through the telescope can really strain your eyes!

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