Scotsabroad's Weblog

June 28, 2011

Goodnight Cairo

Filed under: School trips — scotsabroad @ 6:59 am

It took a bit of organising this one – but well worth it. We all returned yesterday morning from an over-night visit to the Kottamia Observatory just off the Ain Sokhna Highway. Twenty three  students from Year 5 spent the night under the stars. Lucas and Shona came too. We left after school on Sunday, arrived around 4:30 pm, set up camp, explored the site and watched a beautiful sunset. A BBQ and a camp fire for roasting marshmallows prepared us for an evening of star gazing. A rather wonderful, enthusiastic and expressive host and guide, Dr. Fady Morcos, had arranged for telescopes to be set up to view certain stars. One was pointed at Saturn – it was amazing to focus through the lens and see the rings of Saturn. A few constellations pointed out – Scorpio’s body and tail. The highlight was being allowed access to the telescope (built in 1955) housed in the observatory. We watched the ceiling panels open and the telescope turn. Unfortunately, the telescope was unable to be used on this occasion – something to do with nitrogen gas.  We were in our sleeping bags and asleep by 11:30pm. A night of shooting stars and meteorites stitching the black sky. The night so clear and light-free that the Milky Way powdered the sky above the observatory for most of the night. The temperature dropped significantly around 3:00 am and condensation formed on our sleeping bags and camping mats. The camp was awake by 5:00 am – Nina awoke to find a scorpion crawling over her sleeping bag. Buses left at 6:30 am to get us back to school and back into our school uniform. Sleepy smiles throughout the school day. Brilliant.

We leave our flat tonight and relocate to the Sofitel in Maadi. Goodbye Cairo.


1 Comment »

  1. what a night – to see the stars in good company, on the edge of a major megacity – you lucky people
    Ian and Linda

    Comment by linda — June 28, 2011 @ 8:33 am | Reply

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