I lost the horizon

Today afternoon I checked Human Space Flight sighting, and amazed to see, there were 3 chances to see it. One was in the early morning (5 o’clock – WTH, who wakes up at this time?) and another two were in the evening. I quickly checked Stellarium and wrote details down. Maximum elevations were approximately 14° and 21°. (Hmm.. okay.. I will spot ISS this time.) Sunset was at 18:00. Second sighting was around 10 minutes later. I went up on the building roof… and I glanced at sky. It was still blue I could spot Venus and Jupiter. I turned to South, ISS was about to approach. Alas..

Where am I standing?? It is the same terrace where I played, watched most scenic sunsets during my childhood. I remember watching meteor shower – first time from this terrace. Those were the days when sky used to be clear and horizon.. yes Horizon… horizon used to be visible.

When I turned to south, here is tall building blocking half of sky. I revolved round myself. Everywhere tall buildings are erected and no horizon. Somewhere in the middle of this cement jungle there are gaps glowed by city lights. But this is not the first time I am watching all this…

What am I thinking?? Anyone will tell that it’s hard to see the object below 25° from cities. Irony is I wrote this in last blog and still I am expecting to spot and track ISS.

I guess this is because of the impression of dark sky I had in past couple of weeks. Two weeks back I was at Panshet for star-party. I am not a regular sky observer but I am watching night sky since 2002. That night I saw which I hardly got to see for few times in these 9 years. Belt of the Milky Way: Right from Cassiopeia, Perseus, Taurus & Auriga, Orion to Canis-major and this happens only in truly dark sky. And last Saturday I was at Manchar to watch Total lunar eclipse. Eclipse already started when the Moon rose up on the horizon. I experienced most amazing thing about total eclipse that glowing of stars as if its no-moon for small period of time, before and after lunar eclipse stars get washed out like every full-moon night.

So this ‘evening’ has brought me back to city. And now I realize in city one can literally count stars sitting up on the terrace. I realize it’s vain to try watching objects below 25°. I realized – I lost horizon.

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