Basic Astro-Imaging talk at LUMS (April 20, 2018)

SPADES is a Science & Engineering society at The Lahore University of Management Sciences. They organised a symposium on Astronomy where i talked about basics of Astro Imaging.

Solar Outreach in UMT University

Solar outreach at UMT today in Lahore.  Started with delivering a presentation on our Sun and how to see it safely and then moved out in the ground for the observation session.

Some 100 people showed up.. asked many good questions!

Solar Outreach in UET University

UET Science Society invited us for a Solar Outreach activity at UET, today. Not many people came there, it seems the event was not publicized and organised.

We did enjoy, talking with those who came there!

Solar outreach in LGS EME School

The weather is getting hot now.. In the direct sunlight, it is getting hard to stand and keep talking to hundreds of students.. of course, who cares about that!

Today i met super charged students of LGS EME branch.. Some 400 kids from 6th and 7th grade. They saw the Sun through Solar Glasses donated by CBSAP and my Lunt 152 Hydrogen Alpha Solar telescope; i use this scope with B3400 which gives a bigger field of view of the Sun.

They were shooting questions about every thing they could think of in the entire Universe.. Extra-terrestrial life forms, Black holes, Alien planets, Formation of Stars, planets and moons, Space Missions and what not! I was speaking at the maximum possible speed my sound system could manage with continuously taking water to keep it running. At the end of it all, some 3 hours later, the sound system broke and i am very very happy with that!

Students of LGS EME, you are great!

Solar Outreach at COMSATs

Being under the burning sunlight, standing for hours, constantly talking to hundreds of people, continuously repeating every time to a new observer what to see, how to see and what is being seen.. this all does not drain me at all; On the contrary, it gives me such energy which i cannot explain in mere words.

Just give me a crowd.. hundreds? yes.. thousands? even better! I have been doing it for decades and will do it everyday.. all my life!

Today i went to COMSATS, Lahore and took my Hydrogen Alpha Solar Telescope with me, CBSAP Glasses and spectral rings. Alpha who is new to our Astronomical Society's core group also came and helped a lot!

Astronomy Outreach at LGS, Johar Town.

Ali Khan and i visited Lahore Grammar School even when it rained that day and was cloudy. Their Science teacher Shaista Irfan had arranged a star gazing session there and had brought a Meade 90mm ETX telescope.

We observed Jupiter and M42, also some bright stars as well. Constellations were identified and some of the history of Astronomy and telescope was discussed. Star maps were distributed and used by the students. Good job boys!

A visit to Punjab University, Space Science Dept

Punjab University is a big institute for educating thousands, here in my city. They have a Space Science Department and recently have showed great interest in Astronomy and observing with telescopes.

I got a call from the observer of their department and on 27th February, 2015, i went there to help them with the two big scopes they have in their department. One is from Meade with 14 inch mirror and the other is of Celestron having 8 inch aperture. Both have Alt-Az mounts.

There were some issues with initiating the power so we used it manually. Needless to say, the optics are amazing.. 14 inch mirror always is a treat to use. It was quite hazzy and partly cloudy, but still we were able to see moon and jupiter.

These images were taken by the students of the department and you can see how enthusiastically they were using the scopes. I am sure we will see a lot more coming from Space Science Department in the near future. I wish them all the Astronomical success!

Solar outreach - LGS Astronomy Society

Students of Lahore Grammar School, Johar Town Branch, visited the observatory a few days ago. First i gave them an introductory presentation about the observatory which was followed by a tour of the building, the main telescope it has, Celestron C14 with all its extra gear and the adjacent 'Human Room'.

Fortunately the sky was clear and we first setup Celestron CGEM DX mount, mounted Lunt 152mm Halpha telescope on it, adjusted the pressure tuner, focuser and looked into the eyepiece. There it were.. a few but beautiful Solar Prominences. Lunt152 is an amazing instrument to see the Sun's lower atmosphere. With its big aperture, the details in the view are unforgetable indeed!  

Nothing comes close to a white light telescope setup to see the surface of the Sun, where Sunspots and Granulation can be seen at their best. CBSAP 127mm refractor with Herschel Wedge is such an out of this world combination for observing solar surface... Unfortunately, there were very few and small Sunspots at that day; Nonetheless, these young minds were intrigued by looking 'directly' at the Sun and asked many many interesting questions.

I am thankful to their Science teacher Shaista Irfan, who planned and organized it all. I am sure many more students of this school will be coming here after their exams.

Solar Observation for Madrassa Students

This was one of the most memorable outreach session for me. The students of a Madrassa literally came running to the solar telescope as soon as they saw an odd looking machine near their mosque.

First i gave them the solar glasses. Now just look at them smiling with these on their faces :) I gave them all the glasses i had in my car and requested  to take these to their homes and show their class fellows, siblings and parents. Next they saw the sun through the halpha telescope. Everyone just glued himself with the eyepiece; i was requesting for others' right to see the sun.

Nothing was planned there. I actually went to see my friend and when we ordered the food, the thought came to my mind. There is a Madrassa right there so why not show the kids the wonders of the universe. Wherever i go, my halpha telescope is always in my car trunk. So there i was, showing them the 'fire' on the sun and how much they got excited is beyond the words i can write.

Another solar outreach.. another happy day :)

Saint Peters School

One of my astro buddy, Ahsan Khursheed requested a solar outreach at Saint Peters School a few days ago. Maroof Ahsan and I went to the school on 7 May 2014.

It was an amazing experience indeed.. we showed the sun through halpha telescope and solar glasses to more than 400 students and the teaching staff.. these pictures show all the enthusiasm they showed for the sun.. It was more than 100 F and they still wanted to see more of it!

By far the best part was when we showed 12 mentally challenged students (pictured in red shirts in the last pictures) from the adjacent school. They were not speaking clear words but the expressions of joy on their faces made me so happy. I have so much respect for the teachers who are teaching these students!

LAST's observation session

Last Saturday, Lahore Astronomical Society took its members to 'Changa Manga' which is one of the largest man-made forest in the world. It has much better sky than the heavily light polluted conditions here in lahore and just an hour drive from my city.

On Saturday 22 March, i left home for Changa Manga forest at 10:30am. My solar telescope, Celestron mount and power tank, Laptop bag and projector were in safely put in my trunk. On my way i picked up Behzad, Mateen and Mr. Raza of tourism department who actually made our booking of the resort in the forest.

When we reached there, other members had just arrived. I informed them of our plan: First i will present a keynote lecture on the sun and halpha viewing, then we will all have lunch which will be followed by the solar viewing session.

The presentation went quite well.. lots of information was shared and many interesting questions were asked. In the observation session, many of us were the first to see through the halpha telescope. I distributed Charlie Bates' Solar Glasses to everyone there.. also to the staff of the resort.

For night time session we had four telescopes and some binoculars.. saw quite a few galaxies, clusters and usual planets. Clouds came in, as predicted, around 01:00am and we went to our rooms for a good sleep.

These are the pictures taken from many members of the astronomy society:

Solar outreach at LGS, Johar Town

What a wonderful solar outreach experience! .. the whole experience was one of the best in the past many years of my public observing sessions. Maroof Mian and Ali Khan were kind enough to accompany me on the occasion.

"Lahore Grammar School' Johar Town Branch is one of the best in lahore and the students i interacted with, proved it well. I started out by giving a 30 minutes lecture on the basics of Sun and what they will view from an hydrogen alpha telescope, using a keynote presentation in the school hall. The target audience were six classes of grade 5.

Then moved out to the football ground where Ali Khan and Maroof Mian helped me out with setting up Lunt 60 on Celestron VX mount. It just took me minutes to polar align the mount and see the sun in the eyepiece. Stephen Ramsden, founder of 'Charlie Bates Solar Astronomy Project' has been very kind and has sent me hundreds of 'Solar Glasses' absolutely FREE, which i took with me there at LGS along with a cool poster.

Each class came with a teacher.. I first gave them Solar Glasses and when they saw the sun.. they got so excited: "AALAA (meaning: super awesome).. WOW.." Some jumped on their feet with joy :) Then i told them that these glasses are sent from Stephen of CBSAP which is in USA. They said to please convey their thanks to them.. so thank you CBSAP from all those fifth graders!

In the end, students' science club gave me a hand made and a very beautiful 'thank you' card with all the members' signatures.. sweet :)

Thank you for coming on such short notice Maroof Mian and helping me in the very exciting solar viewing session. Special thanks to Ali Khan for staying with me till the end and explaining many students at the telescope how to observe better. Thank you Science teacher Mrs Shaista Irfan and other LGS folks for making this event such a success!