Tag Archives: planet

Tonight’s Sky: June 2016 – Saturn in Opposition

Saturn in Scorpius
Looking South 2131 IST
Summer is here and one cannot miss Saturn and Mars in the night sky. Looking south-east, Saturn is a stunning magnitude 0 star right now, appearing towards the west limb of Scorpius ( more in Ophiuchus ). Saturn hits opposition tonight so its really bright. Also its rings are tilted 26 degrees to us earthlings, which means that small telescopes can get a really good viewing including the famous gap in the rings called the Cassini division. Mars also hit opposition a few days back so both planets should make backyard astronomers and enthusiasts extremely happy

Now don’t just sit there and read this. Grab your gear and get out and have fun under the sky.

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 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.

Jupiter Venus Conjunction Tonight

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.

Earth Like Planet Discovered

Using NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope, astronomers have discovered the first Earth-size planet orbiting in the “habitable zone” of another star. The planet, named “Kepler-186f” orbits an M dwarf, or red dwarf, a class of stars that makes up 70 percent of the stars in the Milky Way galaxy. The discovery of Kepler-186f confirms the long held theory that planets the size of Earth exist in the habitable zone of stars other than our sun. This means that with similar climate profiles like earth, life similar to earth may exist elsewhere in the universe.

The “habitable zone” is defined as the range of distances from a star where liquid water might pool on the surface of an orbiting planet. While planets have previously been found in the habitable zone, the previous finds are all at least 40 percent larger in size than Earth and understanding their makeup is challenging.

Joys of Astrophotography – A Stellar Pastime Presentation by Ajay Talwar

The Amateur Astronomers Association Delhi invites you to

The Transparent Dome of HCT. Image courtesy: Ajay, Vikrant, Raghu

Joys of Astrophotography – A Stellar Pastime

Presentation by Ajay Talwar

Time: Sunday, January 9, 2011 ยท 1:30pm – 4:30pm
Location: Nehru Planetarium, Teen Murti House, New Delhi-11

This is a short presentation which intends to convey the joy and satisfaction the author feels while pursuing astrophotography and hopes to instill some excitement of astrophotography in the audience.

Today all astronomy and the associated science is conducted with astrophography. Apart from being a scientific pursuit, the business of collecting celestial photons is also an art form. The presentation covers both aspects of astrophotography.

Ajay Talwar has been pursuing this stellar pastime for more than 20 years. Presently astrophotography has become the passion and fashion of the times. The advent of digital photography has become a boon for astrophotographers, ANY camera can be used to take beautiful shots of the heavens.

This movie was presented at the recently concluded 10 day festival of astronomy, Kalpaneya Yatre at Bengaluru.

For further Info and RSVP : Click Here


Total Solar Eclipse 2009, Amateur Astronomers Association Delhi

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Mark your calendars folks, its surya-grahana time in India again. Come July 2009 the moon will eclipse the sun as seen from India, Bhutan,Bangladesh,China, Japan and the Marshall Islands. Its going to be the longest solar eclipse for over a century and guess what, this time the path of totality passes through India. This eclipse pass over India comes after almost a decade. The last two eclipses happened in 1999 and 1995.


The eclipse begins on the 22nd of July 2009 at around 5:30 am IST in India and spends almost two hours passing the subcontinent. The path of totality will pass through central India passing over Surat, Ujjain, Baroda, Bhopal, Patna, Darjeeling, and Dibrugarh in the far east. Rest assured the Bohemians will be out there somewhere chasing the eclipse.!!!!

Click to Enlarge

Circumstances of the Eclipse
For a full list of Eclipse circumstances CLICK HERE

Eclipse Safety : Observing Eclipse Do”s and Don”ts

warning Before we go on I must warn you to NEVER EVER look at the sun especially the PARTIAL PHASE through unprotected eyes or homebrewn filtering mechanisms.

The use of homebrewn filters is recommended to seasoned astronomers only who understand the risks involved! There are however very simple ways to observe an eclipse without putting your eyes in harm”s way

One of the simplest method to observe the sun safely is through a pinhole projection camera. This can be used for viewing the partial phases of the eclipse. During totality however, it is perfectly safe to watch the eclipse naked eye.

To learn how to make a pinhole camera CLICK HERE

Alternatively you may use a solar filter
solar filters

The first thing you must remember is that the human eye has no nerve endings, so if you burn your retina, it will not hurt. ๐Ÿ˜› , which is all the more reason that caution is advised while observing the sun

It is never safe to look at a partial or annular eclipse, or the partial phases of a total solar eclipse, without the proper equipment and techniques. Even when 99% of the Sun”s surface (the photosphere) is obscured during the partial phases of a solar eclipse. This is primarily because nearing totality the ambient light levels become so less that our pupils dilate and the iris tries to allow in more light into the eye.

During the partial phase any surge in sunlight, like the one seen during a diamond ring formation can cause excessive solar radiation entering the eye and causing a burn on the retina.

In spite of these precautions, the total phase of an eclipse can and should be viewed without any filters whatsoever. The naked eye view of totality is not only completely safe, it is truly breathtaking



Update: May 29d 2009
AAAD Observation Plans

Update: March 3rd 2009
The Solar Eclipse: Facts, Fiction and Pregnant Women
Update: March 2nd 2009
Average Cloud Cover along the Central Line of the Eclipse