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.
Check out Tvashtar volcano on Io seen spewing molten material into space, as seen from New Horizons probe in 2007. Io experiences massive tidal forces from Jupiter’s gravity and this kind of volcanic eruption is not uncommon for Jovian moons. For a sense of scale, the volcanic plume is about 330 Km in altitude. New Horizon was built by John Hopkins Applied Phyisics Lab for a mission to Pluto. This photo was taken when it flew past Jupiter for a slingshot course correction towards Pluto.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.