Category Archives: Uncategorized

Dance of the Planets 26th Jul 2015

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

Welcome to Pluto

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_lorri_new_horizons
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.

Comet Green Color is Not Cyanogen

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
lovejoyspectra

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

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

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.

Monthly Skywatch 2015

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
https://www.facebook.com/groups/902063246494403

Images from the Partial Solar Eclipse of Oct 23rd 2014

[slideshow_deploy id=’2343’]
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

Partial Solar Eclipse, Oct 23rd 2014

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

Lunar Eclipse, Oct 8th 2014

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 )

path720
Totality Map of the Eclipse, shamelessly copied from timeanddate.com