Exploring the Night Sky

Watching The Blood Moon at Bay View Academy Karachi

I was so excited to see the first Total Lunar Eclipse of 2018 in Karachi as it was the rarest event happening after 150 years. Due to the combination of three lunar phenomena: a super moon, a blue moon and a blood moon at the same time since 1866.

Being a member of ‘Karachi Astronomers Society‘ I asked Mr. Zain who is also co-founder of  (KAS) if there is any happening event in Karachi where I can see the Lunar Eclipse with telescope, he told that he is conducting a Moon sighting event at Bay View Academy.

I reached the school at 6.29pm as the eclipse reached its peak at 6:31pm but it was near the horizon but after few mins. of searching the sky Mr. Zain finally spotted the Blood Moon.

Sky-Watcher 90/900 AZ3 Refractor Telescope

All of a sudden kids gathered around Mr. Zain and asked that they also want to see the Lunar Eclipse so the teacher asked them to make a queue and they saw the Total Lunar Eclipse for the first time with telescope. Here we have not one but three telescopes with different magnification.

  • Sky-Watcher 90/900 AZ3 Refractor Telescope
  • Sky-Watcher 6″ f/8 Traditional Dobsonian Telescope
  • Sky-Watcher 8″ Collapsible Dobsonian Telescope

skywatcher telescopes

After half an hour Mr. Zain gave the tour of the night sky, told them about the brightest star in the night sky ‘Sirius’ in Canis Majoris  constellation followed by Orion constellation and Oroin Nebula (one of the brightest nebulae, and is visible to the naked eye).

bay view academy

Kids asked some questions about the night sky like, “can we see The Milky Way ?”, “can you point out the Jupiter?”.  It’s too hard to see the Milky Way in Urban City due to light pollution and Jupiter is under your feet (below the horizon).

Lunar Eclipse with telescope

It was so much fun interacting with these kids and answering their questions about the Moon and the night sky. Few of them were screaming after seeing the Moon details in the telescope. For me it was such a memorable event watching the Total Lunar Eclipse in Sky-Watcher 8″ Collapsible Dobsonian Telescope.

lunar eclipse 2018


Astrophotography in 2016

Here are the snippets from all the astronomy I’ve done in 2016.

Waxing gibbous Moon as on 22nd Jan. 2016


On 6th Mar. 2016 I was a part of our usual Urban astronomy session with these awesome people  at Sahal Telescopes and Binoculars headquarter.


From L: Ramiz,Zain,ME,Farrukh & telescope

On 18th Apr. I attended first event of ‘Global Astronomy Month’ by Karachi Astronomers Society at Zamzama Park. It was a public event for viewing Moon & Jupiter via telescope. We have 2 telescopes; 6 inch SkyWatcher Dobsonian telescope & 90mm telescope. Attended by 500 people and lots of them are curious about these telescopes & the objects in the sky.


On 24th April there was another Global Astronomy event where I viewed Sunspots through telescope at ‘Solar Sunday & Jupiter Watch’ held by Karachi Astronomers Society at PIA Planetarium.


On 9th May I had an amazing opportunity  to witness Mercury Transit at the Kastrodome observatory. This event is so rare that it happened only 13 times in a century.


On  18th May, as a premium member of Karachi Astronomers Society (KAS) I received members kit containing a t-shirt, car sticker, membership card, solar glasses & contact card.


On 16th June I captured 87% illuminated waxing gibbous Moon in Karachi. It’s amazing to see the crater details near the terminator.


On 13th Aug. I was so excited for the Perseid meteor shower as it was  the peak night. I spent 5hrs on my roof. First there was some scattered clouds in Karachi then at 4am it was all cloudy. My meteor count was 13 and captured two in my camera.


On 17th Sep. there was Penumbral Lunar Eclipse, which is different from normal Lunar Eclipse. Penumbral Lunar Eclipse is only a semi darkening of the moons limbs, so it’s quite hard to notice with naked eye. I was on my roof from 8pm-1am to witness this. I setup my camera for time-lapse video but then I decided to make a Moon Collage to show  the change with time.


On 6th Oct. I captured 16.2% illuminated waxing crescent moon in Karachi as I love the details of waxing crescent.


21st Oct. was the peak night of Orionid Meteor Shower in Karachi so I was at my roof at 4am it was quite humid but the sky was clear so I setup my camera and luckily just before fajr prayers I captured 2 meteors in my camera. In 1.5 hrs I’ve seen 10 meteors. In the picture you can see the brightest star Sirius, M42 only nebula which is visible with naked eye, Betelgeuse  and of-course the Orionid Meteor. . . Have you seen any meteor shower in your city ?


On 14th Nov. there was  a Supermoon which is the closest supermoon since January 26, 1948 and  the moon won’t come this close to Earth again until November 25, 2034. I shared that photo on twitter and  Maddie Stone from Gizmodo asked me if he can share that picture with credit.


After that conversation that image has been featured at Gizmodo.


All the images can be found at #fnastronomy hashtag on instagram.



Stargazing trip to Kund Malir Beach

2016 ends with meeting a foreigner and 2017 starts with meeting a foreigner. Last month I met Cassandra de Pecol aka Cassie is an American woman  who wants to break the Guinness  World Record for the  fastest  female to travel to all 196 Sovereign Nations and on 6th Jan. 2016 I met an astronomer Steve Bonnar, who was invited by YPO to conduct an astronomy session. 

I was invited by Ramiz Qureshi to be a part of the team of Karachi Astronomers Society  to conduct an Astronomy session at a private trip of Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

For the first time I had an opportunity to travel with the legendary Sir Hanif Bhatti  (Founder at PakWheels.com) in his Pajero.  Our trip  starts at 10:30am we reached Kund Malir beach at 3:30pm. Here we met the organizers of YPO’s trip, they introduced us to Steve Bonnar who is Dubai based photographer, physics teacher and loves astronomy.

Hanif Bhatti

From L: Steve Bonnar, Waqar Ahmed, Hanif Bhatti

We were so delighted to meet a fellow astronomer. He showed us his Stellarvue 115mm APO Triplet Refractor Telescope  with CGEM Computerized Mount and Iron Meteorite which has some magnetic properties.  For the first time I hold  a meteorite in my hand and I can’t explain that feeling.

Iron Meteorite

Iron Meteorite

Then we spend our evening at the beach with coffee watching beautiful sunset. As the sun goes down Steve and Waqar set his telescope for telescopic viewing.

Steve Bonnar with Telescope


When we started the trip from Karachi, it was hazy  and we were afraid if it will be the same weather conditions at Kund Malir but  sky was clear  after the sunset.  I climbed to the mountain and capture the jewels of the night sky.

Taurus and Orion Constellation

Taurus and Orion Constellation

M42 (Orion Nebula) located in Orion Constellation is the only nebula visible to the naked eye while Aldebaran is the brightest star of the Taurus Constellation.

Astronomy at Kund Malir

In the above shot first I thought it was a meteor but later realized it was some satellite passing by.

Steve started the telescopic viewing session with the little sky tour and showed Moon with his telescope while Waqar bhai introduced them to the Karachi Astronomers Society and showed Venus and Orion Nebula with the  SkyWatcher 6″ Dobsonian Telescope. People were so amazed to see amazing details of the night sky objects. We answered all their queries about the stars and the planets.

Farman Shams

Steve Bonnar and I

After the dinner we left for Karachi, on our way back at 11pm at Makran Coastal Highway we hit by sand storm which lasted for 30mins.

We reached Karachi at 2:30am. Overall it was one memorable experience.

A little Journey to the Heavens Above – Throwback

A throwback! We usually do our Urban astronomy sessions with Ramiz, Shaheryar and Zain Bhai. This session happened on 4th Nov. 2014. Original post can be found here.

To explore the Heavens above recently I’ve done two stargazing sessions in one week thanks to my astro friends. Here are the details Why, Where, How we do these sessions.


People frequently asked me ‘Why am I doing these stargazing sessions ?’ , ‘Why are you interested in Astronomy ?’ , ‘What can you see above, it’s just same old sky ?’. Okay first let me clear what Astronomy is coz most of the people mistaken it with Astrology. Astronomy is the study of celestial objects like stars, moon, planets and the galaxies and the physics and the chemistry of these objects while Astrology is the study of the movements and relative positions of celestial bodies interpreted as having an influence on human affairs and the natural world. So both are quite different. Fours years back when I was new on twitter I met first person via twitter and he was @ramizq1 . He was the one who introduced me to this hobby as he is the member of Karachi Amateur Astronomers Society and also the first person to receive a tweet from ISS in Pakistan. With him I’ve attended many public astronomy sessions and done 2 stargazing sessions when he newly bought SkyWatcher 6″ Dobsonian Telescope. On our first session I’ve seen Sunspots, Orion nebula, Polaris and planet Mars, rest of the details of that session are here. For me these stargazing sessions give me an opportunity to explore the sky above and wondering how nature keeps everything in balance including all the stars and planets.

Where ?

I’ve done my first stargazing session with Ramiz at his roof back in October 2013 while these sessions we have done at Zain Bhai’s building roof which give us best view of east and west horizon.
astronomy in karachi

our view from the roof

How ?

Okay so let’s discuss how we are doing these sessions. We have following things to see the celestial objects in the sky.
1. SkyWatcher 6″ Dobsonian Telescope
2. Few eyepieces for the Telescope including 2x Barlow lens for magnification
3. Nikon 8 x 40 Binocular
4. Nikon Action 12×50 Binocular
5. Pocket Sky Atlas
6. Google Sky Map Android App
7. ISS Detector Android App
With SkyWatcher 6″ Dobsonian Telescope we can easily see Jupiter and it’s 4 moons and different galaxies while these binoculars can be used to see the Moon and some Messier objects. Pocket Sky Atlas is an ideal guide to explore the night sky it provides very detailed data about stars and galaxies with charts while Google Sky Map can give you name and location of the stars, planets and the galaxies visible from your location and with ISS Detector app you will know when and where to watch for the International Space Station (ISS) and Iridium Flares.
Watching the Jupiter with SkyWatcher 6" Dobsonian Telescope

Watching the Jupiter with SkyWatcher 6″ Dobsonian Telescope

What We Have Seen ?

On our first session which was on 4th Nov. we have seen the Moon, Jupiter and it’s four moons, NGC 2244 which is an open cluster in the Rosette Nebula,Winter Albireo aka 145 Canis Majoris which is most colorful double star in the winter sky and different Messier objects like M35, M36, M37, M38, M41, M46, M47 and M93. Messier objects are set of astronomical objects which include galaxies, nebula, planetary nebula, open cluster etc. List of Messier objects can be found here. On our next session which was on 8th Nov. we have seen the Moon, Jupiter and it’s three moons, Beehive (M44), Double star in Polaris or Pole star, M42 (Orion Nebula) which is a diffuse nebula situated in the Milky Way south of Orion’s Belt in the constellation of Orion and Iridium flare. We are also taking notes about the objects we have seen so we can discuss them.
Captured with SkyWatcher 6" Dobsonian Telescope and my mobile

Captured with SkyWatcher 6″ Dobsonian Telescope and my mobile

Both sessions were planned by Ramiz and Zain Bhai was too kind to provide us the telescope and the sleeping bags. He is a member of Karachi Amateur Astronomers Society and owner at Sahal Telescopes and Binoculars and he has the best telescopes in Pakistan including 6″, 8″, 10″ and 12″ telescope and he also deliver telescopes throughout the Pakistan. 12×50 Binocular belongs to Shaheryar and 8×40 Binocular belongs to Ramiz.

All The FUN!

On our both sessions we had so much fun discussing about the stars and the planets. We invited some of the people to our session from the roof who were there and told them what we are seeing through the telescope.
From Left: Ramiz, a boy and Khalid Bhai who lives there

From Left: Ramiz, a boy and Khalid Bhai who lives there

 A curious boy come to us and asked ‘What we are doing here for hours ?’ We replied ‘See it for yourself’ and he was like ‘Moon looks so beautiful from the telescope’ and he was surprised when we told them that Jupiter has 67 Moons. Khaild Bhai has become our friend now and he always asked what are you seeing right now ? On our 2nd session there was a Barbecue going on on the other side of the roof and Khalid Bhai invites us to taste it.
From Left: Shaheryar and Ramiz enjoying the beef boti

From Left: Shaheryar and Ramiz enjoying the beef boti

As I tweeted earlier with twitter I’ve found so many great friends including Ramiz, Alhamdulillah! With these sessions my love for the astronomy has increased as it can help you in many ways like stars can tell you the direction and the season and I think the nebula and the open star clusters are the most beautiful things you can see through a telescope.

Stargazing and Astrophotography trip with KaAS

As we usually do our Urban stargazing sessions with Ramiz and Shaheryar on Zain Bhai’s building roof but recently I got an invitation to the Stargazing and Astrophotography trip with KaAS. I was so excited for my second stargazing trip and Astrophotography trip with Karachi Astronomers’ Society (KaAS). At my first trip with KaAS in December I couldn’t see the Milky Way clearly cos galactic center of the Milky Way is visible from March till October as we are in the Northern Hemisphere. This time we have Talha Ghouri who will be giving us Astrophotography tips to us and to his students.  It was quite hot at that time in Karachi as 40C was predicted temperature for that day. As I reached the pickup point. I see this

our coaster

our coaster

We left at 1pm and reached 3pm at Mirpur Sakro. On our way I’ve seen these beautiful sunflower fields. These trips provide us an opportunity to get close the nature and escape to our hectic schedule.

sunflower fields

sunflower fields

The weather took a dramatic turn while we were on our way and it was all cloudy and windy by the time we reached Mirpur Sakro. After we reached our final destination we put down our bags and introduced ourselves to each other then they distribute certificates followed by a group photo.

From left: Hanif Bhatti with Ramiz Qureshi holding his certificate

From left: Hanif Bhatti with Ramiz Qureshi holding his certificate


A Group Photo - photo courtesy Abubaker Siddiq

A Group Photo – photo courtesy Abubaker Siddiq

After that we had lunch then we went on a short trip to the fields to find some birds but they were all flown away. We were back at the venue before the sunset. It was all cloudy and we thought we can’t see anything tonight. So we were praying for the clear skies. After 8pm clouds were scattered and the Moon appeared and we witnessed this breathtaking very rare Moon Halo.

Moon Halo with Jupiter

Moon Halo with Jupiter

That was an optical phenomenon where a circle with a radius of approximately 22° formed around the Sun or the Moon. We have seen the Planet Jupiter and the star Procyon of Canis Minor and Pollux and the Castor the heads of the twins in the Gemini constellation and the star Alhena left foot of the twin Pollux in the Gemini constellation. Now there was some clouds in the west rest of the sky was clear. After that I tried to spot the Polaris to make the star trail. In the dark skies its bit hard to spot the star you are looking for. So I found the Polaris – the star that never changed its position it. In ancient times people used this star to find their location when they were lost in the sea or in the desert.

Polaris with Ursa Minor and Ursa Major

Polaris with Ursa Minor and Ursa Major

So there was the Polaris with Ursa Minor and Ursa Major (Big Dipper) on the left corner. After that I spin those stars….

Star Trail

Star Trail

As you can see that the Polaris doesn’t change its position. There was a public stargazing session going on the other end with the 6 inch & 8 inch Skywatcher telescopes where I’ve seen Saturn rings, Omega Centauri or NGC 5139 which is a globular cluster in the constellation of Centaurus and other star clusters.

6" Skywatcher Telescope at the venue

6″ Skywatcher Telescope at the venue

After 3am the Milky Way Galaxy was starting to appear in the South near the Scorpius constellation so I moved my camera towards it and start capturing its beauty.

Our Milky Way Galaxy with Planet Saturn

Our Milky Way Galaxy with Saturn (not stacked)

Alhamdulillah! I’ve seen this breathtaking view of Milky Way Galaxy. Later we went to another trip to the fields to find some good location to photograph the Milky Way but it was bit cloudy again but we managed to get our group photo thanks to Ramiz Qureshi.

A group photo with the Milky Way thanks to Ramiz

A group photo with the Milky Way thanks to Ramiz

I really had a great time on this stargazing trip with KaAS. Finally I’ve seen the Milky Way Galaxy. It was so good to meet people with mutual interest as we have more than 70 people on this trip including a SIUT surgeon. All were so amazed after seeing the stars in the dark skies and KaAs members helped them to understand the deep sky objects such as star clusters, nebulae and the galaxies. Looking forward to more stargazing trips with KaAS.

Photos from this trip can be found here.

Karachi Astronomers’ Society (KaAS) usually conduct public stargazing and sun viewing sessions in the city to educate people about astronomy, cosmology and astrophotography using everything from ordinary binoculars to high end astronomical equipment.

You can find more details about upcoming public sessions and stargazing trips on their facebook page: www.facebook.com/KarachiAstronomy


Exploring the Night Sky

Over the years I have explored so many beautiful objects in the night sky with telescope, binoculars and dslr thanks to my twitter friend Ramiz he was the one who introduced me to the Astronomy. I usually spent my nights on my roof just looking at the stars and try to capture some pictures, If the sky is clear cos sometimes it bit hazy or too much light pollution. Here are some of my best photographs and some of them has been featured on different websites or on their facebook or twitter accounts.

Venus and Mercury Conjunction on 11th Jan. 2015

Venus and Mercury Conjunction on 11th Jan. 2015

First one is the Mercury and the Venus conjunction at the beginning of this year. This was the first time I’ve seen Planet Mercury. I’ve seen the path of Mercury and on the 11th Jan. they became close enough so I took an early off from my office just to capture this beautiful picture from my roof.

Waxing Crescent captured on 25th Jan. 2015

Waxing Crescent featured on EarthSky Twitter

I posted this picture on Karachi Amateur Astronomers Society (FB Group) but no one liked it. Here is the link. But when I submitted that picture on Earthsky website and they posted it on their twitter account, it got 21 RTs and 31 favs. and that was my picture featured on any website and I was so excited about this.

After that I captured an ISS (International Space Station) pass in Karachi and I posted it on my instagram from their ISS on instagram liked my picture

And after that they posted it on the album featuring all the photos of the pass from around the world mentioning my instagram handle and the place. This was something huge for me, official account of ISS on facebook has included my photo from instagram. Here is the link

ISS pass through my roof

ISS pass picture featured on Official ISS Facebook page

Then I submitted Mars and Venus conjunction with the crescent moon photo on Earthsky and they featured that photo on 20 favorite photos of February 20 planets and moon This is one lucky year for me, Alhamdulillah!

Mars and Venus conjunction with the crescent moon

Mars and Venus conjunction with the crescent moon featured on Earthsky Website