A sky full of stars

Isn’t it amazing when things are already pretty exciting and suddenly you experience something that becomes a moment of a lifetime?

It was the second last day and we were at the bonus location, Dharamshala, as a part of our annual geology field trip. While on the way back to the hotel, in the dark night through the road across the mountain top covered with dense trees; I looked up at the sky. It looked astonishingly unrealistic as if it was “photoshopped”. There were more stars in the sky than I have ever seen. Bright enough to take your breath away. I had never seen the sky this beautiful in my life before.

Tempted by the view, we decided to lie across the sloppy roof in the freezing negative temperature when we realized that there was something more special for us that night. The stars were falling like crazy. All my life I had wished to see a falling star and there it was, the night when stars were falling every minute.

I had always wanted to try astrophotography and this was the perfect night. The thing I like the most about it is the perspective and the extra visual dimension that it gives you. Sometimes you do not realize what you are actually seeing, even after you spend several hours in the dark and after your eyes have adjusted. But while photographing it, it is an extension of your eyes. And it’s a process that requires patience. So after you press the shutter, you get about 20 or 30 seconds and there is nothing to do during that time but to stare up at the sky. During that time its really quiet and there’s nothing else but your own heartbeat, your shivering breath and you, waiting for the click of the closing of the shutter. When you finally see it on the LCD, you realize that the hazy cloud of stars you are staring at is actually a whole galaxy. And then you look back up at the sky- the real thing and realize just how enormous it is. That’s the moment that allows you to see that all from your own eyes. It puts into perspective just how tiny and precious we are for a short time on this little rock slowly spinning through space and there’s nothing else like it.

I have surely fallen in love with the universe. And I will want to pursue it in every possible way.

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