I went up last night to see if my CCD camera could do a long exposure of the Orion Nebula. This was my first attempt at deep sky imaging. As I set up my telescope, an old lady in her 50’s approached and told me ” Ang laki naman ng telescope mo, patingin ako ah.”
. At that time, the Orion Nebula was already in the West. I had a few hours left to try to image it. Without hesitation, I gladly said yes. While setting up the telescope, we talked about her friend’s claim about a star, which when seen through a telescope, has another two to three stars with it. She discussed this with enthusiasm and pointed the bright yellow star in the east. It was Arcturus. She also mentioned the dark skies of Bohol and invited me to come with her next week. When the telescope was ready, I told her about my plan to observe a nebula and explained what it was. I know most people would rather love to see the Moon and planets than observe a nebula. So, I decided to ask her if she wanted to see Saturn because it was right above us. She was amazed, said yes and was very pleased. According to her, this would be her first to see a planet. I can’t describe her happiness when she finally encountered Saturn. She called her husband, who was just walking around the place too see it too. The old guy described the planet as a flying saucer (hehe). Afterwards, I told her it would be great if they also observed the moon. They were amazed at the brightness of the moon and at how marvelous its craters and ‘seas’ looked up close. Later, the old woman asked if she could also call her daughters to see the moon. The whole night was spent taking pictures of the Moon, observing Mars and Saturn, and finally checking out Orion Nebula.
It was indeed a wonderful night – full of enthusiasm, wonder, amazement, laughter and learning. If it wasn’t for astronomy, I wouldn’t meet my neighbors and share with them the wonders of the night sky. They’ve also asked a lot of questions and suprisingly I was able to answer them in layman’s terms. Everyone had their “firsts” experience of Astronomy. The touching part was that they thanked me for everything. And one of her daughters called me Teacher Erika :).
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