A Trip to Sariska Astroport
This session, we had a Space Club organized in our school and we got a circular for the same in April 2015.
The first thing I noticed was that there was also a trip for all the students who wished to join the club and it was to the Sariska Astroport which is very dark and you can see stars, planets and constellations easily and clearly.
As soon as I went home I showed the circular to my mom and she agreed right away.
I registered for it the next day and everyone who had paid got excited for the trip.
10 Months Later
We are told that the trip is from 5-6 Feb and we all were excited.
We get instructions that we are allowed to bring electronics but at our own risk.
I go home and pack my clothes, telescope, space kit and all the other stuff I needed in my school bag. We were also told to bring bedsheets so I packed one but it was no use there.
I wake up at 7 a.m., took a bath, got ready, ate my breakfast and checked if I had packed everything I needed to and then my mother dropped me to my friend Yajur’s house so we both could go to school together. Yajur’s father dropped us both to the school and we went in our class’ line. There were 3 buses there, and there were 3 different clubs consisting of different sections of 6th, 7th and 8th class. So there was 1 bus for 1 club. In every bus there were 2 teachers also. We boarded our bus and as we were the first in the bus, all the children of our classes sat down in the last seats. As soon as the bus started everyone took out their headphones and phones and started playing Uno! and much more. In an hour, we reached Sohna Road, Gurgaon. I opened my packet of chips and shared it with everyone and then called my father as we were on the same road as his other office was. Coincidentally my father was, at the time in the same office! Everyone was immersed in different activities, some were playing Uno! Till now, some were listening to music and one child from our class was watching movies on a tab. After another 1 hour, we reached McDonalds. I bought a McAloo Tikki Burger with iced tea and small French fries for Rs. 150. We then came back to the bus. As I had bought an earphone splitter with me, me and my best friend, Ishaan both could listen to music at a time from the same device. For another hour we just relaxed and talked. Then we saw the Aravalis and we started looking outside. Then after 20 more minutes, we reached Astroport. It was just next to the Sariska Tiger Sanctuary. From the entrance we saw a dining hall, a small garden, 7 tents on each side of the garden and another wide observation site. We were allotted tents. In one tent there were 4 beds and on 1 bed 4 people could sleep, so there were 16 people in our tent. We got fresh after 6 hours in the bus and kept our bags on the sides of the beds. The beds were really comfortable, there was a bathroom, 2 Air Conditioners and even cupboards in the tent. We were then called out to the observation site where a cultural dance was being performed and even though cellphones and any other electronic device was not allowed outside the tent, many children had bought their phones with them and were making videos. We then were sorted out by our sections and were allotted different teachers from SPACE, the organization which had made the astroport and hosted the Astronomy sessions in our school. We were also given torches, 1 torch for 2 children. The torches had red light in them because it is due to the light filled in our eyes by which we cannot see stars clearly in the city and red has the least energy of all the colours. That’s why white light is also banned on the observation site. First they told us how to find pole star by finding Cassiopeia and where they made an angle, the pole star was diagonal to it. The pole star helps us to find direction by zenith and horizon. We were then told about the house. 1st house is from North to East, the 2nd is from East to South, the 3rd one is from South to West and the 4th and last one is from West to North. We were then told to go back to our rooms, relax and then bring our planisphere to the next tent in 10 minutes. We did as told and then we opened our planisphere in the tent. It consists of 2 rings one of paper and another smaller one of transparent plastic. On the paper disk there were dates on the outermost ring and on the plastic disk there were different times of the day. We had to match the time and date we needed and it would show through the plastic ring how the sky would look like if viewed from a completely dark place. We then went for dinner straight from that tent. First we had sweet corn soup which was average and had no corns in it and too much salt. Then we had main course. There was Matar Paneer, Aloo Gobhi, Naan and rice. It was neither good nor bad. Then came Dessert, Fruit Custard which covered up for the main course and soup. We were then told to go back to our tent and take our telescope and tripod and come back at 10:45 p.m. it was 10:20 p.m. so we got 25 minutes to rest. I called my parents in the time and wore all my warm clothes as it was getting cold outside. We then went to the dining hall again where they told us how to find planets and their rise and set time using the planisphere. There was a long thread going throuh the center of the planisphere and it had a bead in it which could move. We had to check the coordinates of the planets given at the back of the planisphere and allign the bead so that it passed through the coordinates given at the back, the Zodiac line and the eastern horizon to find the rise time. We had to check the date we needed and the time it had. That time would be the approximate rise time. We have to do the same for finding set time but instead of aligning it at the eastern horizon, we had to align it with the western horizon. We then went outside and we saw Ursa Major or Big Dipper. Its bottom was like a question mark, also known as the Saptarishi but when you looked at the whole of it, it is a bear lying on its back. We were told how to find pole star using the Big Dipper. We then had to find other constellations like Orion, Taurus and others. We were also told their stories sidewise about how they are connected with mythology. Orion is a hunter with its bow pointing towards Taurus, a Bull and there is also Orion’s hunting dog above him trying to save him from Taurus.
We were then sent back to the dining hall for Coffee and Tea. All the children took coffee but it was so strong that we had to add double the amount of sugar than coffee powder to make it sweet. When the coffee was finished half the glass was still filled with coffee powder and sugar. We then went back outside and were shown some planets and constellations through big telescopes. Then we had to find other constellations on our own from these telescopes. Then we had a Bonfire and it lasted relatively less time. Then we went back to our room and it was 3:00 a.m. and no one was feeling sleepy so everyone listened to music or played games and Uno! After 30 minutes there was a howling sound outside the tent and someone was hitting the door forcefully. We were already warned that there were big dogs in the area so we called the teachers and as soon as the dog saw teachers approach it ran away. As we had to go out after 20 minutes no one slept the whole night! We then went back to the dining hall for breakfast and we ate our breakfast and then went back to the observation site to see different planets. We then took our luggage and went back to the bus. I just kept my bag on the seat and slept as I was feeling very sleepy. After 3 hours I woke up and we were at Rao Vaishno Dhaba for snacks. I took a Choco Chip Ice Cream in a cone as there wasn’t anything else to eat because it was still 9 a.m. when we came back to the bus, we talked and after 2 hours we reached school. My father picked me up and took me to Auto Expo 2016.
It was a very nice experience in the Astroport and I would like to do it again.