Chapter One: Stargazing
Roshni fixed her telescope to its stand. Excitement buzzed through her. “I really hope I see it tonight,” she said to herself.
She was on the shore of Pangong Lake in India. The water seemed almost as still and quiet as the surface of the Moon. Roshni’s parents were talking in low voices over by the campfire. The vast Himalayan.
Mountains loomed in the distance, their great dark shapes blotting out part of the sky. Overhead, thousands of stars shone like glittering dust.
It was chilly, but Roshni didn’t mind. She wasn’t scared of the dark, either. She loved it!
In fact, the less light there was, the better. You couldn’t see the stars as well in a city, because of the streetlights. But out here, so far from the nearest town, the stars stood out in brilliant pinpoints. This is the perfect place to stargaze, thought Roshni.
She finished setting up her telescope and peered through the lens. It wasn’t a toy – it was a real scientific instrument, and almost a metre long. Roshni was very proud of it. Down the side, she’d written her favourite saying: The night hides a world, but reveals a universe.
She carefully adjusted the telescope and a planet shone brightly against the dark.
“I can see you, Jupiter!” she whispered, and grinned. “Hi there, big guy.”
It was June, the time of year when Jupiter’s orbit brought it closest to Earth. Roshni had seen Jupiter before, but never this clearly. She could even make out its coloured bands.
What Roshni really wanted to see was the enormous storm on Jupiter’s surface. This was called the Great Red Spot. Roshni imagined that it would look like the eye of an angry giant! But she couldn’t zoom in any further.
She sighed. Her beloved telescope just wasn’t powerful enough.