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Aug 11 15

Gear Up for Perseids Meteor Shower

by vidur

Mark your calendar

The perseids meteor shower peaks on Aug 13th 2015 this year. The best part is there is no moon this time to spoil the show. But wait we live in Delhi, there is always the rains .. which might get the gold medal for this year’s spoilsport, followed by smog which might manage to get a silver. Pfooey!!. Forget what I said. Good things happen to optimistic people. Get out there and enjoy nature’s finest light show.

For the un-initiated, the Perseid meteor shower originates from the debris field of Comet 109P/Swift Tuttle, which visited us in 1992 and will do so again in 2125 when it may potentially slam into us. Nah I am not losing sleep over it. I leave the worrying to the next generation.

Its expected that you might to get see 80 meteor per hr ( ZHR ), which is pretty good. Perseids are called so because they seem to radiate from the constellation Perseus. Hence the name. The radiant ( the imaginary point where the meteors shoot out from ) of the Perseid meteor shower is at around right ascension 02h20m, declination +58°, All of the meteors will appear to be traveling directly outward from this point. The best place to look to see as many meteors as possible is not at the radiant itself, but at any dark patch of sky which is around 90° away from it, since it is at a distance of around 90° from the radiant that meteors will typically appear at their brightest.

courtesy: sky and telescope

courtesy: sky and telescope

Observing Tips

1- Keep warm clothes and waterproofed clothing with you, it does get somewhat cold and damp at night
2- Keep company. Showers can sometimes not be too active as predicted. Its nice to have someone around to chat to till then
3- Contribute. You can time meteors and report them to IMO.
4- Observe from a safe and rural location if possible. City lights almost ruin everything.

Jul 24 15

Dance of the Planets 26th Jul 2015

by vidur

Dear Members,

Earlier this month the close conjunction of the two brightest planets Venus & Jupiter was observed all over the world. The planets came so close to each other that they were visible in the field of view of a telescope. The two planets will still be close together as they move into the morning sky, where both will meet-up with Mars later this year.

This Sunday Noon, let’s take a look at how the planets are moving in their orbits and what face and size do they present to the observers on the Earth in the remaining 2015. We will also look at other great observations that you can make this year like the Geminids Meteor Shower, Occultation of Aldebaran by Moon.

Sunday Noon at the Planee
Dance of the Planets
Date – 26 July 2015,
Time – 12:30 pm,
Duration 90 minutes,
Venue- AAAD room at the Planetarium.

See you at the Planee!

Ajay Talwar

Jul 14 15

Welcome to Pluto

by vidur

It finally here. It really is. NASA’s space probe to Pluto, New Horizons has finally arrived at the most mysterious planet of the solar system. Built by the John Hopkin’s Applied Physics Laboratory, this piece of engineering marvel survived the chill of deep space, and woke up in time to return the most detailed pictures of this planet till date from an altitude of mere 2370 Km above the surface of this planet.

Pluto seen by New Horizon’s LORRI Instrument

New Horizon’s Pluto mission is still bit tricky since its expected to be in vicinity of a large debris field of ice and rocks which is common in the outer solar system. The probe is investigating not only Pluto but also its five moons: Charon, Styx, Nix, Kerberos and Hydra.

Jun 30 15

Jupiter Venus Conjunction Tonight

by vidur

Greetings Fellow Earthlings
Tonight step outside the house for a change and look West at sundown. You’ll be greeted with a spectacular planetary pair of Jupiter and Venus almost hugging each other in a nice visual conjunction. Kind of ironical considering Jupiter is God of War, and Venus is the God of Loveeee. This treat will continue for a few days so do not worry if you’re sitting under the clouds right now.

conjuction of jupiter and venus

Looking West, in New Delhi ( Click to enlarge )

Sky and Telescope astronomy magazine suggested that the event closely resembles the Star of Bethlehem which, according to Christian tradition, revealed the birth of Jesus to the Biblical Magi, and later led them to Bethlehem.

May 6 15


by vidur


Jan 26 15

Happy Republic Day !

by vidur
Happy Republic Day Folks! Lets build a strong and learned Nation!

Happy Republic Day Folks! Lets build a strong and learned Nation!

Jan 21 15

Polaris “Engagement Ring” Asterism

by vidur

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

Jan 18 15

Comet Green Color is Not Cyanogen

by vidur

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.

swan bands

Visible Emission spectra of Butane. The “Swan bands” are annotated.

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

Jan 18 15

How to make a Mini rocket

by vidur

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

Jan 16 15

ESA’s Lost Martian Lander Beagle 2 found intact on Mars

by vidur

courtesy NASA/JPL/MRO

Beagle 2 Image release by NASA JPL

European space agency’s Beagle 2 lander has been spotted by NASA’s orbitter MRO. In a image released by the agency shows the lander to be fully intact with no sign of debris.

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.