Yeah! So it was last month and our astro club had planned for a trip to a mountain called Wu Shan in Tainan. It was not just my university, there were around eight other Taiwanese universities including NTU and NCTU. This trip was meant to observe the night sky. Well, to be honest, this would be quite normal for the people who are active in the club but for a lad like me who had not opportunities enough to witness the night sky closely, it was once in a years opportunity (I am 21 so yeah, saying once in 21 years won’t be unfair). Not to my surprise, I was the only Non-Chinese speaker among a group of around hundred astro enthusiasts. While we arrived the destination in noon, we had to set up our camps and tents for the night and had an introduction and some games to get us acquainted. It was followed with a Taiwanese style hot pot which I remember I ate too much.
Now it came to the main part, night. Everyone had set their telescopes pointing up towards the different parts of sky. There was a lecture (of course in Chinese) about the various stars that we were going to observe that night (someone told me so). At around 10 or so, we started observing endlessly. First came the evening star, Venus. It was first to disappear as well. It moved all across the sky before fading out into the horizon. About Venus, it is bright enough to recognize in the evening. It is first of the few stars you can probably see around 7 and that is why it is called the evening star. After it, was the turn of giant Jupiter. We were not only asked to see it, we also had this chance to look at its moons. I could spot three of them around it. Honestly, all the planets look like our moon through telescopes. Difference being, when you turn your eyes on them, you can not really see them. But a telescope is powerful enough to resolve even its moons. Thanks to science! The most wonderful part of the night was the Saturn observation. Saturn looks incredibly beautiful! I have been seeing it in textbooks and yes, textbooks are right. Saturn ring makes it different from others. Because I did not know how to distinguish between constellations, I had to asked my mates to let me have some idea about the position of Saturn. I remember, I just kept looking at it for quite sometime before one of my friend started telling me something about other stars.
The bad part. I gave up quite early. I remember I went back to bed around 2.30 AM and many people made it till 4. After sometime, I was feeling kind of different (or separated) from the astro crowd. They were enjoying it their way and I was in my mood. My telescope was free but without the knowledge of where it was pointing at. I did not know much about starts anyway. It was a beautiful experience overall followed with Taiwanese food the next morning.