A Little More Zoom-in: Report of the Ninth Falakyati Mela

Ali Khan

After reading the email at the office, I left early to reach lums on time. At home, I readjusted my honda 70 tapped clearance from 0.25 mm to 0.125 mm. The larger clearance was giving engines sounds like tick tick tick just like those which come from diesel engines. I was distracted by that clatter and wanted the better and more peaceful dub dub dub. I changed in shalwar kameez, grabbed my helmet, and was on road at 4:30 pm.

Soon I saw the ring road going across GT road. I thought maybe this could help me reach lums so I called Umair and asked him. He confirmed my hunch. I would take the ring road till Bhatta Chowk and ask anyone fro lums from there.

As it was my first use of the ring road, I didn’t hesitate to ask everyone I could about Bhatta Chowk. I asked all cyclists and even a pedestrian. I wanted to ask two kids but they wanted to hitchhike. So I let them hop on and they knew the area well. After some more questions, and anxious waiting, the road narrowed to a single lane and we were passing through a populated area. At the Bhatta Chowk the kids got off and I asked a heavy built Punjab Policeman for lums and he told me to keep going straight. Asked another fellow but he wanted a lift so I gave him a ride. Asked two kids walking with a 70 and they directed well but they wanted Rs 30 to fix their puncture. Gave them 20. My Passenger hopped off and I turned left from a signal crossing.

Lalik Chowk was very pretty with about four cement circles making an interesting sculpture. Asked Umair again and he told me to ask the security guards for Library. At the gate, I asked for the library. They asked if I was to attend class but I told them that I was here to attend Falakyati Mela. So they guided me. I asked two or three students. All helped in directing me to the building.

There I found a parking place and walked to the lawn where everyone was gathered. There was one more multimedia besides the one with Umair. One group made a wire and ball model of the solar system. It was great to see so many faces there.

I was delighted to see Umair after so long. I saw many members of KSS whom I had the pleasure of meeting at GIKI. While I was watching Umair assemble his C14 and balance it wonderfully with the counterweights, Maroof Sb bumped into me and we teamed up to set up the 5″ a little to the west of Umair. We were asked to shift a couple of times until everyone was happy with the location. I had to fetch the Umair’s phone compass a few times to point our dec axis towards N.

As I held the OTA, which felt quite warm, Maroof Sb set about leveling and such stuff. Soon the OTA was attached and the red spot finder was up too. After some adjustments Maroof Sb decided to use the 6×36 finder instead, so that was attached. He has the tracking on and scope pointed to the Moon when he had to leave for Magrib prayers. I set about aligning the finder on to the moon, where OTA was pointed and tracking. By turning it around I was able to get it secured and the adjusting screws took the cross-hair to Moon center.

As soon as people saw that I looked set they came near. One by one they started peeking at the moon. I fished for the 15mm eyepiece and replaced it with the 25mm to fill the for with Moon. People were amazed. One lady, late in her 40s, brought her mom too and the granny had a good look at the moon after taking off her reading glasses.

Children of all ages came. One dad showed the craters to his son.

Umair was beaming the live video of Venus onto the multimedia screen. Venus was not visible from our location. It was hidden behind trees. Omer and Behzad took no time in setting up the 8″.
When Umair was on the Moon, the same 40+ lady asked me why the moon was b/w and not colored on the screen. I explained that it was because moon showed no colour. She looked much disappointed.

While Umair took a break to change his camera, Dr Sabieh took the microphone and explained about the melas of KSS. In no time I found myself holding that microphone and telling them about this atm Asad at Okara and his feat of grinding and polishing a 6″ f11.5 with total success. I was amazed by the attention the audience gave to my inspirational talk. One young fellow later asked me to visit lums and demonstrate grinding. He planned to set up mirror fabrication factory.

There were all sort of latest questions, even about string Theory, origin of solar system and the Universe. There was great interest in Dark Matter and energy. LHC with its mini black holes was discussed also. While I was at the microphone, Isha Azan came. The observation queues at the 5″ and 8″ were long. Maroof Sb had gone back to the 25mm eyepiece as it was much better and Moon was easily visible as a whole.

After Azan I explained about Galileo and his discoveries with his first telescope.

Waleed explained that he had spent frustrated hours bringing M31 into view with his 5″ f12 refractor at 40x. I asked him to try again at 10x. M. Ali told us about his near entrapment by the furious clouds up in the hills and how his judgement made him turn around and reach Abbotabad while many hundreds got trapped near July end. He said that his wife said that next time she would prefer to stay at home instead of facing some landslide.

Apollo landing site was also sought out by Umair on someones request. He explained how soft the lunar dust was and how they left behind all their equipment to shed weight and how its impossible to see their equipment from anything other than a lunar orbiter. He told us about Indias plans to send a Moon rover and then a man there.

Then Jupiter was on the screen with three Moons. Fourth was out of the picture. One belt was missing too but the remaining belts and coloration was clearly visible even at altitude below 45 degrees.

We were taken to an air conditioned dining room where we enjoyed the food and chat.

I was amazed by the student community there.

Internal References:
Ninth Falakyati Mela in LUMS (Lahore)

External References:
9th Falakyati Mela at LUMS on 17-09-2010