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The "One Hundred Hours"
of Celestial Sighting

At the Emir Abdelkader Mosque's Plaza
April 3, 2009,
Constantine, Algeria

The First Pictures !

More on the other Algerian observing sites at:

Pictures by Manal, Bakir, Yasser, Radhouane
Note that most of the pictures were taken in subdued light and needed to be intensified, thus their yellowish color.
(Most of the pictures are clickable for higher resolution)

Here at the Ahmed Saadi Youth Complex at Constantine. A series of lectures and workshops was organized in preparation of the evening sighting.

The lectures covered all what needs to be known about the night sky and how to sight celestial objects with optical instruments.

Teaching the art of decripting sky maps to an avid audience
Right after sunset, people started gathering around the telescopes of the Sirius association and some of its members. The sky was quite covered with some openings in the clouds here and there. The Emir Abdelkader Mosque Plaza, one of the largest Mosque in Africa, dominates Constantine. Only subdued light from the Mosque remained that was intensified by treating the pictures.

Going by the Map

The public got denser as time goes on. Unfortunately the clouds were getting thicker too.

Several hundreds of maps of the evening sky were distributed to an unending flow of people with explanations dutifully provided by the Sirius members. It was truly popular astronomy at its best.

Only the Moon at its first quarter could be easily sighted, in addition to some parts of Constellations like the Gémeaux in particular.


Where is it on the map?

In all, eight telescopes were set up at the esplanade, ranging from a 300mm Dobsonian to a 70mm refractor, in addition to binoculars and other small instruments.

Quite few women as well as families and their kids were there too. More pictures here and here.


Taking turn ...

Yet, for most of the onlookers it was a first time experience in looking through a telescope.

Admiring the Moon's craters
Learning how to go by the stars

Moving from one group to the other...


The sky became then fully clouded and then came the rain so that people had to take refuge at one of the Mosque aisle which became an astronomical alley for the next few hours.

Weather obliging
The "Telescope alley" inside the Mosque

Every corner of the Masjid's aisle was used

Here Radhouane Benmehia (holding a camera), a veteran of Sirius from Msila University. He covered a 400 km distance from Ouled Djellal in the Biskra's governorat at the doorsteps of the Sahara desert, to join us at Constantine along with his instruments for this special sighting night.


Nevermind the weather. Explanations were provided under cover by seasonned Sirius members to the successive waves of visitors.

An artful astronomy exposition was set up there where diligent Sirius members were answering the many queries from the public.


...and the Mosque's wall for the screen. Again, sky maps were graciously distributed to follow up the explanations.

Map reading

After the break for the Isha office, the show continued unabated despite the drenching rain. Here explaining the main visible constellations and the art of star hopping .Weather obliging, it was done using a video projector...

Follow the spot...

The "telescope alley". Never before had a mosque such a concentation of telescopes set up at its doors.

The mosque majestuous arches created a unique ambiance. A solemn contemplation of the would be sky as it were, as the rain was pouring down outside.


A warm and friendly atmosphere pervaded the whole evening .In view of the hundreds of people who participated to this special "100 Hours of Astronomy" celebration; the late rain seemed to be but a minor annoyance!

Great show Sirius!