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‘In this universe, we are all made of stardust’

The sky is way more interesting than most of us think it to be. When we look up, we are actually looking across two-and-a half million light-years of space.

Yes, you can do that without using any instrument. Now, imagine what could be on offer if we knew where to look, and also had a telescope or a binocular. This is what I have learnt from spending hours under the night sky. I am not an expert on this, but I ask you to trust me on this. I am a lawyer by profession, and the things I know about stars come from my school lessons. The only piece of equipment I own as an amateur stargazer is the Celestron Astro Master telescope—touted as “ideal for novice and advanced” astronomers.

“Nothing beats stargazing after lawyering all day,” I tell my colleagues at work.

I decided to buy a telescope as I thought it would be romantic to look into stars with my girlfriend (got this idea from the books I read). I really wanted to show her the moon and stars—thought it would be amazing. So I visited shops around Kathmandu and checked online stores for the telescope.

stargazin

It only took me a few days to learn my first lesson as a soon-to-be stargazer in Kathmandu—there isn’t any store in town which sells stargazing instrument (at least I could not locate one).

I found what I was looking for on amazon.in and it took me a month, and a few desperate Facebook posts to get my telescope flown to Kathmandu from India. The telescope was big, so I lied about its size. I mostly use my balcony as my observatory. Maybe Kathmandu, with its reputation of being one of the most polluted cities in the world, may not be a stargazer’s paradise but it is not that bad, at least not for an amateur. When I first assembled it and tried to look at the stars, it was out of focus, and after half an hour of fiddling, I thought it was a damaged piece.

At times I remind myself, “The universe will not bend to your wishes; you must take it on its own terms,” especially on the days when things don’t go the way I like.

I learned to use the telescope watching Youtube videos, and by reading articles relating to telescope and stargazing. Once you get hold of the instrument, it will just do magic.

I am yet to figure out how stargazing works as idea for romantic date night but each different day, stargazing gives me different experience. The stargazing experience for me comes in different contours varying from inspiring, relaxing, exciting, calming, fulfilling and frustrating at times.Someday with focus on magnificent moon, it is about beauty.

At times you have those ‘awe’ moments—like the time I discovered that the brightest star was actually Jupiter.But some days will be different. Even after repeated attempts, you won’t be able to locate a celestial body. A wait till dawn to locate Saturn at one of my parties proved futile because of the clouds.A good stargazing session always ends up with a good smile in my face and a much needed peace of mind.

At times I remind myself, “The universe will not bend to your wishes; you must take it on its own terms,” especially on the days when things don’t go the way I like.

I believe stargazing is for everyone and the time you spend looking up will offer everyone something in return. I don’t think we’ll need motivation to look up, for a start, at night but in case someone feels the need to spend time looking at starts, just remember, “We all are made of stardust.”

 

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Few handy tips for stargazing in Kathmandu

* Research about stargazing and the ideal equipment for you and buy it. It will take some effort to buy it and get it delivered as you cannot buy it in Kathmandu

* Sign up for stargazing newsletter and download apps related to stargazing. This will motivate you more in stargazing as hobby

Most important, go out during the night and look up!


Published on December 26th, Saturday, 2015 6:30 AM


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Related News Two-time space traveller Sandra Magnus: Our planet is so special, don’t take it for granted From the Kathmandu Press: Friday, November 10, 2017

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