All posts by vidur

Total Lunar Eclipse On 8th Nov 2022

Astronomers gear up. A Total Lunar eclipse is coming up on Nov 8. The eclipse will be visible late afternoon in India around 4:30 pm IST. But observers in India will see that the moon after the peak eclipse.

The moon is expected to rise in New Delhi around 17:28 IST, past the peak eclipse point

Penumbral eclipse begins at 08:02 UTC on November 8 (13:32 IST).
Partial eclipse begins at 09:09 UTC on November 8 (14:39 IST).
Totality begins (moon engulfed in Earth’s shadow) begins at 10:16 UTC on November 8 (15:46 IST).
Totality ends at 11:41 UTC on November 8 (17:11 IST).
Partial eclipse ends at 12:49 UTC on November 8 (18:19 IST).
Penumbral eclipse ends at 13:56 UTC on November 8 (8:56 IST).
Maximum eclipse is at 10:59 UTC on November 8 (16:29 IST).
Duration of totality is about 85 minutes.

Draconids Peak 9th 0ct 2022

The Draconid meteor shower will peak on Sunday (Oct. 9), offering a chance to see fireballs appearing to originate from the dragon of the Draco constellation

However, the meteor shower peak coincides with a full moon that can make it difficult to observe

The comet responsible for the Draconid meteor shower is called Giacobini-Zinner which orbits the sun every 6.6 years.

C/2020 F3 Neowise is now an Evening comet

Comet Neowise is now a evening comet. Now you can get your entire family to see it because nobody apart from you wanted to get up early at 3 am!

The comet is visible at dusk, after sundown from 8:30 ish looking North by North-West. So all you need is unobstructed view looking North, clear skies and low light pollution.

If you live in Delhi, good luck with that. published a nice star chart that shows the daily progression of Comet Neowise through the night sky. The chart shows the comet’s path from July 2nd 2020 to July 31st 2020

Clear Skies


Comet neowise C/2020 F3

Comet neowise is the latest attraction of the night sky. Rather it is the latest attraction of the morning sky.

To watch it, wake up around 4 am look east/north-east just before daybreak, the comet is currently just outside the constellation Auriga. Its easily visible to the naked eye at an outstanding magnitude of 3.

But you must hurry, because its hurling towards the sun at a very high speed and may not be visible in a few days when its completely overwhelmed by the sun

Comet Neowise C/2020 F3, image taken by V. Parkash, Minnesota, USA

Sky theater session at nehru Planetarium, 16.01.2020

Greetings! Nehru Planetarium, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, is providing an opportunity for students to attend a sky theater Astronomy session at the planetarium, on Thursday, the 16th of January 2020, at 5 PM. The session will have discussions “under the stars” inside the sky theater, and would cover basic positional Astronomy onwards to glimpses of cutting edge multiwavelength/multimessenger Astronomy where we are now poised in our understanding of the Universe. The discussions will be for basic awareness. We request you to bring this to the notice of students. They can send a mail to and be there at the planetarium by 5 PM on the 16th.

Interested students are also urged to see the website to know about some of the cutting edge mega projects in Astronomy. Students can register as volunteers at . Some students may have already registered as a potential volunteer in an exciting exhibition in this connection, which will be at the National Science Center, Delhi from the 21st of January to the 18th of March 2020. This will be a tremendous learning opportunity to the students, if selected for volunteering for any of the megaprojects.

First Picture of Kuiper Belt Object

NASA’s deep solar system probe “New Horizons” made history in 2015 being the first space probe to visit Pluto, providing stunning images of the planet beloved by kids all over the world. After its mission completion on sending over the enormous volumes of data it collected, the probe’s mission was extended to do what no probe had done before. It was repurposed to now visit the Kuiper belt.

What is the Kuiper Belt?

For those of you who do not know what the Kuiper belt is, it is just a big cloud of protoplanetary material or giant space rocks that orbit the sun outside the orbit of Neptune. This bunch of space rocks are essentially the remanants of failed planets. The same stuff the solar system planets are made out of. It is thought that these rocks ( actually solidified ice, methane etc ) failed to become planets because they were too sparsely spaced to form stable planets. Pluto itself is thought to be a Kuiper Belt Object or KBO

In 2016, using the Hubble Space Telescope, a few KBOs were identified that NASA engineers and scientists thought could be suitable for New Horizons to visit and return data, given the amount of fuel left on the craft and the life of its radioisotope generators. Finally a space rock dubbed “Ultima Thule” was identified

New Horizons Reaches asteroid 486958 (2014 MU69) “Ultima Thule”

On Jan 1 2019, New Horizons made its closest flyby to Ultima Thule making it history as its the furthest object any spacecraft has visited. New Horizons came withing 2200 Km of the KBO. Reaching this Kuiper Belt object is truly and outstanding feat of mankind.

New Horizons LORRI instrument took this picture of Ultima Thule on Jan 1 2019
Asteroid 486958 (2014 MU69) taken by LORRI Instrument on board New Horizons Spacecraft on its Jan 01,2019 flyby. Image: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

As you can see, the asteroid has a snowman like structure. Scientists think the two parts of the ball were distinct objects before, until they collided and coalesced togther. the asteroid is approx 20 miles by 10 miles

Astronomy Night observation for the coming weekend Sept. 2018

Dear All,

The monsoon the receding and the season for stargazing is about to start. I would like to propose a night observation on the upcoming weekend Sept 15 (Saturday) at a campsite near Tijara. Rajasthan. We have conducted three such observations here in the past and the sky has been very supportive combined with rural skies which gives a limiting magnitude of 5.5 visually. You are welcome to bring your family and friends to enjoy the fist stargazing of the season.

The place is located about 75 KM from gurgaon and 110 KM from delhi. It is located 10KM off the Delhi – Alwar highway which makes it an optimum place within the driving distance from Delhi NCR. In last 3 observations organised, there have been 25-30 members participating each time. Age group of participants have been between 13 and 85 years.

The weekend of September 15 will show Moon, 4 planets, summer milky way along with plenty of DSOs in the evening whereas late in the night, winter constellations will show up making it a perfect setting for stargazers. We may also get to see the fading comet 21P/Giacobini–Zinner as it will be at its closest and brightest tonight.

The venue, a campsite used by my company for astronomy observations for school kids is absolutely safe with boundary wall, dark skies, tented accommodations, evening and mid night snacks along with dinner and breakfast. Tea coffee shall be provided in the evening and near mid night for us to keep going. Tents are provided for people driving their own vehicle to snooze for a couple of hours so that they are well rested and can hit the road in the morning. All you need to do is to pay Rs 1,850/- per person to avail the facilities and enjoy the night sky.

The weather seems promising with clear skies over the weekend. Temperature is expected to be between 22 and 34 degrees. Warm clothes are advised to be carried for the night. Carry your telescopes, cameras, star maps and any other thing you may require to explore the night sky.

Those of you interested in joining me can contact me at +91-9560338860 or simply reply to this email with your confirmation.

Hope to see many of you next weekend.

Clear skies
Sneh Kesari