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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.

Jan 14 15

Monthly Skywatch 2015

by vidur

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

Oct 26 14

Images from the Partial Solar Eclipse of Oct 23rd 2014

by vidur

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

Oct 12 14

Partial Solar Eclipse, Oct 23rd 2014

by vidur

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

Eclipse as Seen from Minnesota, MN, USA at 17:50 CDT

The eclipse will make a good photo shoot event with Venus in the background

Oct 8 14

Dramatic Time Lapse Video of International Space Station at Night

by vidur

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