7 Reasons To Ignore The Hype About The ‘Green Comet’ (And Why You Need Binoculars)


So a “once in a lifetime” comet is “lighting up” or even “streaking across” the night sky. Yeah, really? So go outside and have a look. Can’t find it? No, you won’t. That’s because comet 2022 E3 (ZTF)—the so-called “green comet”—is indeed in the northern hemisphere’s night sky, but its faint photons are so faint that they’re not going to get anywhere near your eyes unless you have time, patience and … binoculars.

Even then, comet 2022 E3 (ZHF) will be just a smudge.

There are ways to see the best comet since 2020’s comet NEOWISE before it fizzles out in early February, but behind the wild clickbait headlines there are cold, hard truths about comet 2022 E3 (ZTF).

Here are seven things you need to know about the comet to better help you navigate the weird world of comet-hunting (and comet-hype):

1. Ignore the incredible photos on social media

Those photos that you see on social media and all over the web of comet 2022 E3 (ZTF) are taken using telescopes and cameras. Both of which are a lot more sensitive than the human eye. Astrophotography is largely done by taking multiple images of objects and stacking them together to increase contrast, brightness and color. In reality this comet is very faint—so far. It’s shining at a magnitude of about 6, which makes it visible to the naked eye only under extremely dark skies. In fact, the kind of dark skies that most people have never ever experienced. So you can forget all about seeing this, it with your naked eyes, particularly if you live in any kind of urban environment.

2. The hype has come too early

Despite comet 2022 E3 (ZTF) being incredibly faint, it does appear to be brightening, albeit more slowly than had been predicted. Currently on the cusp of naked eye visibility in dark skies, it is presently getting slightly closer to our planet as it exits the inner solar system. It will reach its closest point to Earth (at 26 million miles) on February 2, by which it’s just possible that it will be bright enough to see with the naked eye. However, that seems unlikely.

MORE FROM FORBESHave You Seen The ‘Green Comet’ Yet? The Inconvenient Truth Behind The Headlines

3. You need binoculars to glimpse the comet

Since you cannot see this comet with the naked eye you are going to need a pair of binoculars. Sure, you can also use a small telescope, but unless you have a motorized GoTo telescope that can be automatically pointed at its coordinates, binoculars are the way to go. A pair of 10×50 or 10×42, or similar, are perfect. The best way to find the comet this week is to locate the Big Dipper in the northern night sky—late at night when it’s on its side with its handle pointing down towards the horizon. Locate the final two stars in that handle, Mizar and Alkaid. Put your binoculars on the stars and range them left. Look around this area and, with some luck, you will find a comet. Be prepared to say something no amateur astronomer ever wants to hear from a non-stargazer—“is that it?” and wonder what all the unnecessary hype is for.

4. You’ll need sky-charts to find it

If those general directions don’t get you anywhere then you’re going to need to resort to sky charts. Sky and Telescope has some fantastic sky charts to help you manually find the comet while Sky Live has its coordinates to punch into a GoTo telescope. As you can see by looking at the sky charts, the comet is currently moving north as it brightens, soon passing the North Star, Polaris, as it heads towards Capella (Feb. 5), and then Mars (Feb. 10-12). That is went to start looking for comet 2022 E3 (ZTF)!

5. It looks like a tiny smudge

Is it worth you spending a lot of time outside in freezing cold temperatures looking for this comet? If you have high expectations, then no, it is not. If you do manage to get eyes-on with the comet through a pair of binoculars or using a small telescope then probably your best view will be of a rather faint smudge of light. Sure, it will look different to a star, open cluster or galaxy, but it’s probably not going to impress you. That is, unless you are an amateur astronomer with all the gear, bags of time and patience, and a desire to see distant cosmic visitors with your own eyes.

MORE FROM FORBESWhen And Where To See The New ‘Comet Of The Year’ At Its Best

6. Saying ‘green comet’ is like saying ‘black and white zebra’

Yes, photographs of comet 2022 E3 (ZTF) do show it to be green. Comets have a nucleus and a coma, the latter being a cloud of gas the envelopes the nucleus. It’s the coma that’s green and that’s typical for comets. So the “green comet” name is a bit like saying “black and white zebra.” Besides, you won’t see anything green if you get eyes-on with comet 2022 E3 (ZTF). Just black and white.

7. Ignore the ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ and ‘last chance to see’ claims

Headline writers are being extremely economical with language in promoting this comment. It’s not a lie to say that comet 2022 E3 (ZTF) was last in the Earth’s night sky during the Stone Age nor is it inaccurate to state that this is our last chance to see it. However, that applies to almost all comets! Sure, 50,000 years is a long period comet, but it’s no more “last chance” that anything else unique that happens.

Why to ignore the hype about comet 2022 E3 (ZHF)

The upshot is this: if you are a casual stargazer who only wants to see the very best and brightest objects and events in the night sky, then forget almost everything you have read about comet 2022 E3 (ZTF). Wait until early February when comet 2022 E3 (ZTF) might—just might—be bright enough to see naked-eye. Right now it’s too early for most people to go looking for a faint smudge in the northern sky.

Wishing you clear skies and wide eyes.

The New ‘Smart Telescope’ That Lets You Stay Indoors While It Shows You Spectacular Images


It’s a telescope, but not as we know it. Meet the eVscope eQuinox 2, a new so-called “smart telescope” unveiled this week at CES in Las Vegas that adds planets to the roster of what it can image in the night sky.

The annual tech show is mostly known for huge TVs, drones and electric cars, so what is a diminutive telescope doing in the halls of the Sands Hotel?

The eVscope eQuinox 2 is not like most telescopes you will have seen before, probably gathering dust in a friend’s spare bedroom. The eVscope eQuinox 2 has no eyepiece. You cannot look at the night sky through this telescope. Instead of your own eyes collecting the light from distant galaxies, nebula and star clusters those photons go directly to a Sony IMX347 sensor.

The eVscope eQuinox 2 is all about astrophotography, not stargazing—and you can sit indoors while it does its thing and just wait for its images to be delivered to your smartphone.

It’s modelled by French company Unistellar on professional telescopes that are found the world over, usually on mountain tops, which collect light using the giant mirrors before focusing those photos on an image sensor. Hey presto, you get image date of galaxies and anything else astronomers care to point these behemoths at. This is also essentially how space telescopes like Hubble and Webb work.

The follow-up to 2021’s eVscope eQuinox, this second-generation version is not like those professional telescopes, but it is way more slick. A 4.5-inch/114mm reflector telescope with a focal length of 450mm, focal ratio of f/4 and 50x magnification, the eVscope eQuinox 2 weighs 9kg, has a motorized alt-azimuth mount, an 11-hour rechargeable battery and 64GB of storage. It produces 6.2 megapixel images in JPEG or RAW formats. They’re easy to share and easy to post-process, if that’s your thing, but the whole point of the eVscope eQuinox 2 is that it’s autonomous.

You literally just put this smart telescope in your backyard—or even on your balcony in a light-polluted environment—and it gets to work plate-solving, comparing the stars it can see in the sky with a database on its on-board computer. Within a few minutes it’s ready to use.

Using an smartphone app it’s possible to choose from a list of deep sky targets you want the eVscope eQuinox 2 to observe. Each object in its database comes with baked-in settings for exposure times and ISO, so all you really have to do is wait (though you can tinker with the settings if you want).

In fact, you can actually leave the telescope outside and go sit indoors because the live image it produces is shown on the app and continually refreshed. It depends on what you are looking at, but for faint objects such as nebulae, the longer you leave the telescope staring at it, the better the finished image will be. That’s because it’s taking an image every 30 seconds or so, and stacking it on top of the last one, thus producing a cleaner and brighter image as time passes. It’s these algorithms and machine learning that are the secret sauce inside the eVscope eQuinox 2.

I’ve used the original eVscope eQuinox extensively—adoring it mostly for its skill at completely bypassing light pollution—and this new version looks interesting. At $2,499 it’s the company’s most affordable model yet. It now has a new sensor and a slightly wider field of view (34×47 arc minutes). The latter means it can fit larger objects into its field of view, chiefly the Andromeda galaxy and the Moon (though until a firmware update arrives it won’t be primed to take images of our only natural satellite).

However, what’s really interesting about the eVscope eQuinox 2 is a much-anticipated new ability to study and image planets. In stark contrast to the long exposure images it uses to find objects, the incredibly bright orbs of Jupiter, Mars and Saturn are snapped using something called “lucky imaging”. Another technique used by huge ground-based telescopes, this is when astrophotographers continually snap away at an object in the night sky hoping that Earth’s turbulent atmosphere will, just for a split second, settle enough for them for the image to be perfectly exposed, sharp and without any distortion.

“The eQuinox 2 smart telescope puts incredible power in the hands of the general public and inspires a new generation of urban stargazers who can now enjoy an amazing voyage to the universe from their balcony and within minutes. Thanks to its unique technologies and its smart design choices, we are putting space within reach from anywhere, even from light-polluted cities,” said Laurent Marfisi, co-founder and CEO of Unistellar. “Now, novice stargazers and amateur astronomers can enjoy stunning clarity, color, and hard to see details like the striking colors of the Dumbbell Nebula.”

The Unistellar eVscope eQuinox 2 can be pre-ordered now, with shipping expected from mid-February 2023.

Wishing you clear skies and wide eyes

Summer travel: NZ’s best places for stargazing and sleeping under the stars


Suspended high over Lake Wakatipu, Jagged Edge is just a 10-minute drive from Queenstown. Photo / Supplied

Balmy temperatures and no work to get up early for the next morning are the perfect combination for sleeping under the stars. Here are some of the best places in New Zealand to marvel at the night sky.

Stargazing

Aotea Great Barrier Island

Good Heavens offers cosy and light-hearted experiences for small groups, with “moon chairs”, hot drinks and blankets. Suitable for all ages, a guide uses a laser pointer to identify constellations, everyone has binoculars to gaze at middle-distance objects and an 8-inch telescope allows a closer view of faraway stars and planets. Great Barrier and Stewart Island (see below) are two of the world’s 15 Dark Sky Sanctuaries.

Good Heavens will guide you through our solar system from a beach on the Dark Sky Sanctuary, Aotea Great Barrier Island. Photo / Carmen Bird

The Coromandel

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Stargazers Lodge guests and visitors can book a night-sky tour of the observatory and planetarium in the light pollution-free zone overlooking Kuaotunu. Its solar-powered, rotating-dome observatory houses a research-grade set-up, perfect for the astro-curious and photographers.

Wairarapa

Just an hour north of Wellington, Wairarapa wants to become the world’s largest and most accessible dark sky destination. Here you’ll find Stonehenge Aotearoa, built on the same scale as some other place on Salisbury Plain in England.

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It’s not a folly. Open-air, hands-on Stonehenge Aotearoa is a modern observatory connecting people with the sky and cycles of nature, covering solstices, equinoxes, Matariki, ancient Egyptian, Babylonian and Indus Valley astronomy, Polynesian navigation, as well as Celtic and Māori lore.

Under the Stars runs bespoke events for schools or house parties, and every weekend, Star Safari opens the universe with powerful telescopes, planetarium tours and space science communicators. It’s a social enterprise from Milky-Way.Kiwi, an online platform for space and astronomy news with a New Zealand flavour.

Mackenzie

At 4367sq km, Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve is a master of the universe, covering Aoraki Mt Cook National Park and the Mackenzie Basin, the townships of Tekapo, Twizel and Mt Cook. This rugged, isolated land, dominated by large sheep stations for more than a century, has some of the world’s clearest, most spectacular night skies.

As well as a great camping spot, Lake Tekapo is in the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve, making it one of the best spots in the world for stargazing. Photo / Miles Holden

Scientifically, it’s important because it protects the University of Canterbury’s astronomy research at Mt John Observatory.

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A world leader in astro-tourism, there’s no end of inventive ideas here.

Alpha CruX provides private astronomy tours and astrophotography lessons throughout the region.

Big Sky Stargazing’s tour uses the naked eye, astro-binoculars and state-of-the-art telescopes, delivered from an outdoor viewing platform or, if the weather’s unkind, New Zealand’s first 360-degree digital Dome Planetarium at the Sir Edmund Hillary Centre in Mt Cook Village.

Here, science meets entertainment. Families “leave Earth, fly to the edge of our galaxy and far beyond to the reaches of our known universe” and get home in time for supper.

Chameleon Stargazing is a more budget and family-friendly tour in a near-zero light pollution location in Tekapo (with hot chocolate and a fire bowl with roasted marshmallows).

Ngāi Tahu Tourism’s Dark Sky Project is the best-known experience. Its observatory tours are boosted with explanations of Māori navigation, planting, significance of lunar cycles and observations.

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West Coast

It’s fair to stay the West Coast’s skies are stunning on a clear night. Paparoa Nature Tours in Punakaiki take guests to explore the Milky Way and southern constellations through a computerised 260mm telescope while being serenaded by great spotted kiwi, morepork and weka from nearby rainforest.

Queenstown

A Starry Nights Queenstown photography tour with astro-photographer Simon Williams includes a trip around spectacular Whakatipu Basin locations in a Land Rover, a professionally curated photo session and tips on shooting stars.

Dark skies, southern lights – Rakiura Stewart Island is now a sanctuary for stargazing. Photo / Supplied

Rakiura Stewart Island

A Unihedron Sky Quality Meter reading of 16 indicates a light-polluted city and 21 a very dark sky. Stewart Island’s readings have ranged between 21.51-21.93 since 2017. Twinkle Dark Sky Tours are one of several local operators helping you see everything from craters on the Moon to the centre of the galaxy.

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Accommodation

PurePods

These luxury cabins can now be found in nine locations, stretching from Banks Peninsula to the newest on Rakiura Stewart Island. Each off-grid cabin has uninterrupted views of the night sky, but you don’t have to worry about people looking in — they’re all in secluded spots far from light pollution, with the exact location revealed only after you book. purepods.com

Night skies over the Manakau Purepod at Kaikōura. Photo / Supplied

Galaxy Boutique Hotel

Tekapo’s Galaxy Boutique Hotel is a traditional hotel with some stand-out features — namely, large splayed skylights that allow views of the mountains and night sky beyond. Make sure to nab a room on the upper floor for the best seat in the house. galaxytekapo.co.nz

Skylark Cabin

Hidden in the foothills of the Ben Ohau range is Skylark Cabin, which quietly opened in 2020, yet is the type of place that visitors can’t stop talking about. Designed by award-winning architect Barry Connor, it boasts a huge circular window directly over the bed, positioned so guests can spend a night under the stars. An outdoor stainless steel bathtub with gas-heated hot water can also be found on the property, making it possible to soak while you soak it all in. skylarkcabin.co.nz

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Wai Dome O, Waikato

Wai Dome O (a play on “Waitomo”) is one of Canopy Camping’s properties — and it’s only a few minutes away from Waikato’s famous glowworm caves.

The geodesic dome is positioned at the top of a steep hill with views over rolling farmland, meaning it’s in a prime position for stargazing. But if you want to be even more immersed in the landscape, it also has an outdoor tub. canopycamping.co.nz/wai-dome-o

Nightsky Cottage

Side-by-side soaker tubs at Horopito’s award-winning Nightsky Cottage are positioned to look out a large window. The aptly named two-bedroom cottage also has skylights, so you can find constellations without stepping outside. But if you’re keen to get outdoors, there’s a clearing just 50 metres from the cottage, where you can watch the sun go down over Mt Ruaephu. nightskycottage.co.nz

Jagged Edge

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Suspended high over Lake Wakatipu, the ultra-modern Jagged Edge is all sharp lines, softened by its use of floor-to-ceiling glass. The glass walls jut out from the base at an 18-degree angle rising to over 9 metres, resulting in 270-degree views of the night sky in each of the luxury retreat’s three bedrooms. But that’s not the end of your stargazing options. There’s also a heated infinity pool hanging over the lake, alongside numerous outdoor seating areas. It’s just a 10-minute drive from Queenstown.

This is an amended version of previously published stories by Ewan McDonald and Jessica Wynne Lockhart from Herald Travel. For more great travel inspiration, go to nzherald.co.nz/travel

Tinian ‘Astro Dad’ captures the magic of the night sky | Lifestyle


Tinian’s skies are an astronomy lovers’ dream. With the island’s absence of light pollution, the night sky lights up with constellations and glimpses of majestic beauty.

Since 2020, astrophotographer Joshua Brazzle has refined the art of capturing photos of space.







Joshua Brazzle is shown with his wife, Mary Hocog-Brazzle, and their daughter, Ke’alohi Lani Brazzle.




Brazzle had been interested in astronomy since childhood, but he took his passion to the next level after stumbling upon YouTube videos about astrophotography, which morphed into his lockdown hobby when the pandemic prompted the community to stick closer to home.

To create his photographs, Brazzle uses an Orion 8-inch Newtonian reflector telescope, and sky view pro-mount using a DSLR camera.

The mount “tracks the rotation of Earth once you switch it on,” Brazzle explained.

Using the DSLR camera, which is screwed on to the telescope’s eyepiece, Brazzle takes numerous photos.

“So what you’re doing is pretty much taking faint light, that’s millions of light years away, and then you have to take so many exposures,” he said.


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“There’s a setting on the DSLR, usually you can take that first photo up to one second or longer, as long as you want it. The longer you take the photo, the more light you’re sucking in. For example, if you take 15 seconds of 300 photos, whatever object you’re taking a photo of, a galaxy or a nebula, or a star cluster, and then you go to your computer and edit it. It becomes clearer in detail because all of those photos are pushed into one,” he said.

He usually takes the photos from his house in Carolina Heights, but occasionally will bring his astrophotography set-up to another location for a better vantage point, or when the occasion of a lunar eclipse calls for it.


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Of the many stunning photographs that Brazzle’s produced, his personal favorite targets to capture are the Orion Nebula and Andromeda Galaxy.

“If it’s a really dark area, like where I live, you can actually see it (the Orion Nebula) with the naked eye,” Brazzle shared.

For budding astrophotographers, Brazzle recommends using what you have — he started out using his cell phone.

“There’s certain apps and … phones are now developed to where you can do long exposures through it. For example, the iPhone, I think iPhone 11 to 14, if it’s lowlight, it’ll have a delay on it and it’ll say three second, ten second pause. It’s a similar process to long exposure, it’s sucking in more light. You just need a simple tripod and an iPhone,” he said.


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He urges everyone to take time to do some stargazing in a dark place. To fully appreciate the wonders of our island skies, Brazzle recommends downloading an app like Stellarium, an astronomy app which helps users to identify and search for certain targets.

Brazzle hopes to begin selling his photographs by 2023, and stargazers can keep up with his work by following him on Instagram at @tinianfitastrodad.

Travel trend: Why Astro Tourism is growing among domestic travellers in India? | Travel


Travel enthusiasts, who crave a holistic astronomy experience to give voice to their curiosity about the vast skies beyond our stratosphere, can gain an integrated astronomy experience through Astro Tourism, a trend that has seen an increasing number of travellers who are keen to get to experience activities such as stargazing, sun observations, stargazing parties with friends, experiential science activities and much more. The spike in Astro Tourism could be a result of the post pandemic world where many people are looking for less crowded and nature driven experiences or the offer of a sense of discovery as when you look up at the sky, you may see a big white moon or two bright stars that never twinkle but when you look at them through the telescope, the moon suddenly has massive features (craters, flat grey surfaces, highlands, etc.) of varied colours and the two bright stars are no longer stars – one is Jupiter, a big disc with a giant red dot on it (which in itself is a storm three times the size of the Earth) and the other is Saturn, with many rings around it.



You literally cannot believe your eyes and you realise that the universe is so much more complex than what you see, with so much left to discover hence, a number of resorts and hotel chains are now offering stargazing as one of the activities for their guests to treat them to a flashback to their childhood. For a large number of people, the last time they looked at the skies and enjoyed the stars was when they were kids and ever since they turned into adults, they moved to a city and neither got the opportunity nor the time to experience the cosmos but looking up at the skies lets them relive their childhood.

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Paul Savio, CEO and Co-Founder of Starscapes, revealed that Astro Tourism is seeing a spurt for three reasons:



(1) With higher disposable incomes and a more liberal view of living a wholesome life, people are on the lookout for new and exciting experiences that are beyond the usual offerings available. Anything new piques a huge interest, and today people are more willing to try them out than before.

(2) Millennials have, due to access to the internet in their formative years, a much more global exposure to life and career than previous generations. As parents, this demographic is open to encouraging their kids to look at radical career options, and therefore get exposed to such experiences that could kindle an interest in the kids becoming astrophysicists, aerospace engineers or even astronauts.

(3) Space is in the news, with NASA going back to the moon (Artemis), India sending humans to space (Gaganyaan) and space tourism kicking off with private enterprise (SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, Blue Origin). So it is currently top of mind.



He shared, “Lots of people, especially in metros, are beginning to step out to nearby dark sky locations to get a glimpse of the starry sky. Apart from the usual suspects (Ladakh, Spiti, Kodaikanal, Kutch, Coorg, Jaisalmer, etc.), myriad sites exist within 2 hours of all metros which can give a great dark sky experience. However, daytime astronomy as a concept is slowly picking up too.”

According to Neeraj Ladia, CEO of Space Arcade, there is a lot of interest in Astro tourism all over India. He said, “One major reason is social media. More and more people are showing people where they can travel. Places which were accessible for very few people earlier, like mountaineering and trekking, are now common among people. There are videos, reels on social media accounts where there is a lot of conversation around offbeat activities such as astro tourism. People have become more aware of these kinds of things. Astro tourism has gained more popularity post lockdown mainly because people want to be closer to nature and want to do something new and offbeat. Similarly, like wildlife photography/nature photography, people are developing an interest in astro photography too.”



Talking about some of the common activities under astro tourism, Paul Savio highlighted stargazing, sun observation, astrophotography (where you learn how to photograph the night sky and even deep sky objects using different cameras and mounts), astro tours (trips to dark sky locations for an enhanced night sky experience), workshops and activities to understand different phenomena associated with astrophysics and space exploration.

For a person who has never experienced astro tourism, Neeraj Ladia suggested stargazing as one of the most exciting activities to do. Secondly, he recommended, “If it is a starry clear night, guided telescope view of planets and deep sky objects along with an astrophotography session can be quite exciting. With astro tourism, people have an opportunity to see and learn the names of the stars and constellations. They can also go much deeper into understanding these concepts.”



Paul Savio concluded, “Astro Tourism is the sunrise segment of the experiential tourism industry. Massive interest is being shown by luxury resorts across India to incorporate astro-experiences in the bouquet of offerings for their guests. Today, the customer base is overwhelmingly of people who are looking for a new experience and not necessarily an astronomy experience. We expect this to flip in the next 3 years – people will travel with an intent to have an astronomy experience. This will be driven by the springing up of dark sky parks (the astronomy equivalent of national parks) and other dark sky places equipped to service this interest.”

Star trek, a passion sky-high- The New Indian Express


Express News Service

CHENNAI: The white, tiny dots winking their eyes up above the sky are posing with a bright smile on their face. Lying on the terrace of his house, with the back of his head resting on palms, Bhavanandhi Babulal tells himself and the astrophotography camera lying nearby: “It’s time to sleep. Come on, let’s go.” But as usual, agony of indecision kicks in. He lies there gazing at the skies as if he is under the influence of a strange force, and, like that in a movie, his entire life starts playing in front of him, episode by episode.

“It’s captivating,” 31-year-old Bhavanandhi’s eyes gleam with joy whenever he speaks about his bonding with the celestial objects. For this resident of Kolathur in Chennai, stars and the moon are the best companions and stargazing his world.

Call it the tryst with destiny. Otherwise, an ex-banker who pursued his bachelor’s degree from Loyola College in Chennai would not have entered into the world of stars, Milky Way and the universe, ultimately leading him to establish a startup –  Starvoirs – six months ago. Bhavanandhi has a friend of his to thank for the initiative, as he is the one who kindled the passion in him during a camping trip to Nagalapuram in Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh seven years ago, in 2015.

He was so engrossed in the beauty of the new-found world that he decided to gather interested people and organise star-gazing trips. “I quit my banking job in 2018 as I was finding it difficult to juggle my job and passion,” he says. During the second wave of Covid-19, he went a step ahead and started teaching stargazing free of cost.

To see the stars and planets clearly, Bhavanandhi says, a place free of light pollution is required. “That’s why I organise several trips to Ramanathapuram, Sayalkudi, Chidambaram, Kodaikanal, Ooty, Kodaikanal, and Poomparai after collecting lowest-possible amount from interested people as the telescope I use is very expensive,” says the star-lover who has read astronomy books despite being a commerce degree holder.

“I want more women and children to develop interest in the heavenly bodies as it would help mould a knowledgeable future. The trip fee for women is cheap and for kids it’s free,” he points out.Ask Dharmadev Kumar Singh, a staff at the hotel where Bhavanandhi stayed during Covid, he would say he considers learning from the “master” about stars as a big achievement. “It gives me immense pleasure to watch Saturn and the Milky Way,” says the man who studied only up to class 10.

Bhavanandhi suddenly woke up from the half-sleep and looked around. His camera is still lying there, with its lens pointing upwards. It’s past midnight. He stood up on the terrace, thinking about the excitement he had seen in the eyes of people after he showed them the bands on Saturn’s rings and craters on the moon.
“I should try bringing all those interested in stargazing under one roof and make it a grand movement,” he resolved while drowsily walking to his bedroom.

“It’s captivating,” 31-year-old Bhavanandhi’s eyes gleam with joy whenever he speaks about his bonding with the celestial objects. For this resident of Kolathur in Chennai, stars and the moon are the best companions and stargazing his world.

Call it the tryst with destiny. Otherwise, an ex-banker who pursued his bachelor’s degree from Loyola College in Chennai would not have entered into the world of stars, Milky Way and the universe, ultimately leading him to establish a startup –  Starvoirs – six months ago. Bhavanandhi has a friend of his to thank for the initiative, as he is the one who kindled the passion in him during a camping trip to Nagalapuram in Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh seven years ago, in 2015.

He was so engrossed in the beauty of the new-found world that he decided to gather interested people and organise star-gazing trips. “I quit my banking job in 2018 as I was finding it difficult to juggle my job and passion,” he says. During the second wave of Covid-19, he went a step ahead and started teaching stargazing free of cost.

To see the stars and planets clearly, Bhavanandhi says, a place free of light pollution is required. “That’s why I organise several trips to Ramanathapuram, Sayalkudi, Chidambaram, Kodaikanal, Ooty, Kodaikanal, and Poomparai after collecting lowest-possible amount from interested people as the telescope I use is very expensive,” says the star-lover who has read astronomy books despite being a commerce degree holder.

“I want more women and children to develop interest in the heavenly bodies as it would help mould a knowledgeable future. The trip fee for women is cheap and for kids it’s free,” he points out.Ask Dharmadev Kumar Singh, a staff at the hotel where Bhavanandhi stayed during Covid, he would say he considers learning from the “master” about stars as a big achievement. “It gives me immense pleasure to watch Saturn and the Milky Way,” says the man who studied only up to class 10.

Bhavanandhi suddenly woke up from the half-sleep and looked around. His camera is still lying there, with its lens pointing upwards. It’s past midnight. He stood up on the terrace, thinking about the excitement he had seen in the eyes of people after he showed them the bands on Saturn’s rings and craters on the moon.
“I should try bringing all those interested in stargazing under one roof and make it a grand movement,” he resolved while drowsily walking to his bedroom.