There is a planned monthly skywatch every month, co-ordinated by the outreach committee of the Astronomical Society of India.
After some discussion with interest groups, the third Saturday of every month was decided as suitable for the year 2015. The first of these co-ordinated skywatch activities is centered on the 17th of January. It is planned that an online hangout will take place the Sunday before this event every month, which will include discussions for the planned observations and so on.
Some related discussions/help for beginner groups in the form of writeups and video uploaded to Youtube will also be undertaken by the community.
It is not necessary that everyone conducts the skywatch strictly on the third sunday of the month. For very good reasons – both Astronomy or weather dictated – groups might be undertaking skywatch activities on dates a little staggered around the main date. All groups conducting/having conducted skywatch activities in this countrywide co-ordination, are requested to place a small report (even a few words will do) here.
Starcounts for light pollution measurements are encouraged. Groups undertaking these measurements are requested to update this community page with limiting magnitude measurements with locations specified.
Jab sari duniya soti hai, hum tare ginte rehte hain
Link to Facebook group
One of the very few known asterisms in the night sky is the Polaris engagement ring asterism. When seen from a dark sky site you may be able to observe a ring like pattern with 2nd magnitude Polaris itself forming the ornament on the ring. The stars that are a part of this are either in Ursa Minor or Cepheus. Approximately 10 bright stars and a few fainter ones (of magnitude 7 and 8), form an obvious circle, the ring, with Polaris as a diamond. This really is a beautiful asterism to observe with small telescopes with a low magnification! Because Polaris is part of this asterism, The Engagement isn’t hard to find. Recently this asterism got the attention of Canadian music producer Deadmau5 who named a track called HR8938 Cephei after one of the stars in this asterism.
Image Courtesy: The Polar Project
Did you take a picture of this object, Email it to vidur_itm at yahoo dot com and we’ll publish it here
If you’ve read a lot of material out there on comets or seen some lovely images of Comet Lovejoy C2014/Q2 lately, you’ve noticed beautiful green colors in most of these images. Most astronomers and astronomer magazines ( NASA included ) attribute it to emissions from a chemical cyanogen. Cyanogen according to astronomers is radical containing one carbon and one Nitrogen atom . In reality it is NC-CN. The C & N molecules linked by triple bonds. What is more funny is that the green does not come from cyanogen. Here is a picture of what the visible spectrum of Comey Lovejoy looks like. Thanks to Vikrant Agnihotri of Cepheids Astronomy Group for this
Compare this to work done by physicist W.Swan in 1856, who researched emissions from C-C dimers and published their visible spectrum.
As you can tell the images are an exact match. Emission Peaks appear at 520 nm with satellite bands on either side. This wavelength corresponds to what we perceive as “green”. Astronomers seem to have gotten their chemistry totally wrong and its surprising how long this myth has been propagating
Disclaimer: AAAD doesn’t take any responsibility for any sort of damage that could potentially arise out of following this video. Use at your own risk
The lander was supposed to land on Mars and deploy its solar panels like “petals”. From the image it seems like all the petals did not unfurl. “Without full deployment, there is no way we could have communicated with it as the radio frequency antenna was under the solar panels,” explained Prof Mark Sims, Beagle’s mission manager from Leicester University.
Its rare for one to live in a place where the heavens just decide to show you their wonder. The path of Oct 23rds eclipse wen right through Minneapolis, USA where I currently live. Not to miss this, i loaded my scope and filter in the car, and set it up at my workplace’s parking lot right after work. The sight that made the eclipse special was the massive sunspot AR2192 which is as big as Jupiter. As seen from here. the maximum of the eclipse about ~ 50% was able to obscure some part of the sunspot.
Another thing that was interesting was the ability to resolve surface limb features on the moon. Contrary to what one would imagine, the moon has a very rocky terrain, since there is no wind, water or volcanic activity to smooth out the surface. Looking carefully we can see this detail in the images above
Some EXIF info
Taken using a Canon Rebel XT at prime focus on a 5″ MCT telescope F/12
ISO100, 1/2000 s exposure
Baader Astrosolar safety filter
A partial solar eclipse is going to occur on Oct 3rd, 2014 and unfortunately will not be visible from India. Skywtchers in the United States Mexico and Canada are going to be able to witness this event. The maximum of the eclipse is expected at 9:45pm UTC
The eclipse will make a good photo shoot event with Venus in the background
Check out this dramatic time lapse footage of earth seen from the int’l space station at night. Pretty darn cool
You can see all the air glow, auroras and thunderstorms. The city lights are not real but an overlay captured using a special IR camera called Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS)
All in, a pretty spectacular video.. the music is quite dramatic too
A total Lunar Eclipse will occur on Oct 8th 2014.The penumbral phase begins at 8:15:33 UTC during broad daylight in India. Moonrise in Delhi will occur at 5:14 IST ( 11:44 UTC ) when the moon will be phase past the U3 umbral-penumbral contact. That means that the maximum extent of the eclipse would be over by the time the moon is visible. However stargazers in India may be able to see the partial phase which will extend into the sunset. The moon will finally come out of the umbral shadow at 7:03 pm ( 13:33 UTC )
Nehru Planetarium, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, in collaboration with the Amateur Astronomers Association, Delhi, will be organising a Telescope Open House on the 4th of October 2014, with a sky theater interaction from 5:00 PM to 7PM and a skywatch with telescopes following that.
This event starts in the sky theater of the planetarium, ‘Under the stars”, with interactive discussions using full dome visuals, to be followed by an evening skywatch through telescopes. The sky theater interaction and discussions will be related to telescopes of all apertures – from a Galileoscope to the TMT. There will be presentations live as well as recorded. You will get to hear and interact with – seasoned amateur astronomers as well as professional astronomers working with cutting edge research in optical Astronomy.
During the day : From 12:00 Noon to 2:00 PM, there will be some simple sun observing activities with amateur telescopes (through projection and also using solar filters).
The sky theater interaction will be a combination of live and recorded segments of content related to telescopes. The presentation will be aimed at an appreciation of gains in understanding celestial objects, from each substantive jump in aperture – through history – to contemporary times.
Evening skywatch will be through 8″ and 14″ aperture computerized Go To Celestron telescopes facilitated at the planetarium, by the National Council of Science Museums.
12:00 Noon to 2:00 PM : Observing the Sun through projection and through solar filters
Location : In front of the planetarium
5:00 PM to 7:00 PM : Telescope Open House in the Planetarium sky theater
On the Panel ; Ajay Talwar (AAAD), C. B. Devgun (SPACE), T. V. Venkateswaran (Vigyan Prasar), co-ordinated by Rathnasree (Nehru Planetarium, New Delhi).
Skype interaction with Prof. Tushar Prabhu (Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore) and Arvind Paranjpye, Director, Nehru Planetarium, Mumbai.
Recorded Presentations ; Prof. Gordon Squires (Communications and Education Head, Thirty Meter Telescope), Prof. Eashwar Reddy (Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore) and Prof. A. N. Ramprakash (IUCAA, Pune) and Prof. Chris Impey, University of Arizona
Inputs in this interactive session, are invited from all interested participants, and in particular, from those who have worked with telescope making/assembly/usage
7:00 PM to 8:00 PM : Evening skywatch with telescopes.
Please try and be present from 5 PM onwards, at the planetarium, on the 4th. Bring any questions you have on telescopes, to the planetarium.
Rathnasree, Nehru Planetarium