When Spring has not gone far away, and the spring sky is still inviting stargazers to enjoy the twinkle of countless brilliant stars, ExploraScience can’t stand waiting for a better chance to camp out under the stars. Therefore, from last February 15th to 17th we decided to choose Gia Lai, a province in the Central Highland of Vietnam, as the destination for our 3-day trip. According to this trip, apart from enhancing the staff’s knowledge about observational astronomy, we also would like to survey some locations outside of Binh Dinh province to organize outdoor activities for the public in the future.

Taking part in our journey, in addition to ExploraScience’s staff, there were some volunteers from Physics Department of Quinhon University and a very special guest – a member of Ho Chi Minh city Amateur Astronomy Club – Mr. Nguyen Tuan. We departed for Gia Lai on February 15th morning with our first stop – Kong Chro district – and then arrived in Pleiku city on the next day.

Kong Chro – Photo Nguyen Tuan

Our sky parties were taken place in the suburbs of Kong Chro district, and  Pleiku city. Despite the long distance, we brought along us a couple of telescopes and some pairs of binoculars in order to observe the night sky more clearly. Having pitched our tents, we set up telescopes for our sky party.

Pitching Tents

Setting up Telescopes

Our group is looking into the sky.

Thanks to our specialists, some of the staff whose major is not related to astronomy did enrich our mind after this trip. We could recognise many star clusters, namely Taurus, Leo, Ursa Major (also known as the Great Bear), Ursa Minor (also known as the Little Bear)…; some planets in our Solar system, such as Jupiter, Saturn, Venus… Through the telescopes, we were also able to see a few galaxies, for example, M81, M82, M83…

During our trip, we mostly spent our time in shifting, and observing the sky. However, on  February 15th morning, we also had a short talk with Mr. Hung – a representative of the Education and Training Office of Kong Chro district- about our intention which is mainly about organising outdoor activities related to science for the students there. At the meeting, Mr.Hung not only expressed his interest but also promised to strongly support our idea. Therefore, we hopefully will be back to Gia Lai soon in order to put our future plan into action.

The trip ended with the unforgettable image of the sunset in Ia Pa.

The sunset in Ia Pa – Photo by Nguyen Tuan

After this journey, ExploraScience really expects to organise many such Stargazing events in order that we could partly share our knowledge with the public, and contribute to shortening the “distance” between us and those far-away stars. 

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