After a instant noodle meal, I rested in the tent for a bit and decided to head out with my tripod to test my luck. I put on all the warm clothes I brought with me. At 5200m above sea level, it could get below freezing temperatures and gusty wind even in the summer nights. Luckily the coldness was bearable, at least for a period of half an hour that I stayed outside. I didn’t venture far but just returned to the rocky path behind the Tent Village. At 9pm, the sun was long gone but there was still a tiny bit of twilight light behind Mount Everest. With a tint of lilac colour on the snow-capped summit, Chomolungma (ཇོ་མོ་གླང་མ 珠穆朗瑪峰) or Mount Everest appeared to be even more mystical than two hours earlier. Fortune was on our side as it was a clear night with the new moon, offering one of the darkest night of the month. It also coupled with the right season that the Milky Way was already high up in the sky at the particular time of the night. If not the frequent interruptions from other travelers who either walked by with strong flashlights or those overly curious ones who urged me to show them my photos and taught them how to photograph the night sky, I could have stay longer to enjoy the peaceful starry night in front of the mighty Mount Everest.
I came out a little late. There were only a few minutes of purple twilight light. Away from any source of light pollution, the sky over Rongphu Valley was filled with stars and shooting stars.
A moment later, the purple light was gone and the tone darkened. The Milky Way appeared to be brighter but the mystical aura faded away.
As I stood silently, other tourists kept on coming with strong flashlights. There were a few similar to me who brought out tripods to try their luck shooting the night sky. Surely they had the same fortune as I did with the perfectly clear sky and magnificent Milky Way.
Without the purple twilight, Mount Everest remained as a recognizable silhouette in the background. The true protagonist of the night sky was undoubtedly the fascinating Milky Way.
After half an hour standing in the wind, I thought it was time to call it a day.
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More blog posts on Tibet 2017:
JOURNEY ABOVE THE CLOUDS, Tibet 2017 (西藏之旅2017)
DAY 1: TOUCHDOWN ON THE ROOF OF THE WORLD, Lhasa
DAY 1: TRICHANG LABRANG HOTEL (赤江拉讓藏式賓館), Lhasa
DAY 1: KORA AT BARKHOR STREET (八廓街), Lhasa
DAY 2: FIRST GLIMPSE OF POTALA (布達拉宮), Lhasa
DAY 2: KORA OF DREPUNG MONASTERY (哲蚌寺), Lhasa
DAY 2: DREPUNG MONASTERY (哲蚌寺), Lhasa
DAY 2: JOKHANG MONASTERY (大昭寺), Lhasa
DAY 2 : SPINN CAFE (風轉咖啡館), Lhasa
DAY 2: NIGHT VIEW OF POTALA (布達拉宮), Lhasa
DAY 3: POTALA PALACE (布達拉宮), Lhasa
DAY 3: SERA MONASTERY (色拉寺), Lhasa
Day 4: KORA OF GANDEN MONASTERY (甘丹寺), Lhasa
Day 4: GANDEN MONASTERY (甘丹寺), Lhasa
DAY 4: TEA HOUSE AND FAMILY RESTAURANT, Lhasa
DAY 5: ON THE ROAD IN TIBET
DAY 5: MORNING IN SHANNAN (山南)
DAY 5: SAMYE MONASTERY (桑耶寺), Shannan
DAY 5: SAMYE TOWN (桑耶鎮), Shannan
DAY 6: YAMDROK LAKE (羊卓雍錯)
DAY 6: PALCHO MONASTERY (白居寺), Gyantse
DAY 6: WORDO COURTYARD (吾爾朵大宅院), Shigatse
DAY 7: ROAD TO EVEREST BASE CAMP (珠峰大本營)
DAY 7: EVEREST BASE CAMP (珠峰大本營)
DAY 7: STARRY NIGHT, Everest Base Camp
DAY 8: PANG LA PASS (加烏拉山口), Mount Everest Road
DAY 8: SAKYA MONASTERY (薩迦寺)
DAY 9: TASHI LHUNPO MONASTERY, (扎什倫布寺) Shigatse
DAY 9: ROAD TO NAMTSO LAKE (納木錯)
DAY 9: EVENING AT NAMTSO LAKE (納木錯)
DAY 10: SUNRISE AT NAMTSO LAKE (納木錯)
DAY 10: LAST DAY IN LHASA, Tibet
EPILOGUE: FACES OF LHASA, Tibet