Its the Year of Astronomy Folks!

Greetings Bohemians, its the international year of astronomy,…. so hurray lets go partying =)

That apart on a serious note the International Year of Astronomy 2009 is a global effort initiated by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) and UNESCO to help the citizens of the world rediscover their place in the Universe through the day- and night-time sky, and thereby engage a personal sense of wonder and discovery

As a part of the global celebrations, is going to bring to you a great series of news, information and articles related to astronomy and science.

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Skywatch: 31-Jan

Continuing our regular Satuday evening programs, we have another mini-observation this Saturday at the planetarium.

Start Time 6 p.m. – End time – 9-10 p.m.

Necessities – Warm clothes, covered shoes, red torches, star maps, snacks

On Sunday, Mayank will facilitate an interactive session on Black Holes at 3 p.m. Before that, we will have a regular Sky lecture

Partial Solar Eclipse Day, Mon Jan 26th 2009

Greetings Earthlings…

This to let you know that today, on Jan 26th, the moon will partially eclipse the sun as seen from south India. The eclipse is however a total eclipse with the path of totality passing through parts of Indonesia.

So if you find yourself in South India, do take the time to have a look at the sun which will look like someone took a bite out of it

The eclipse will begin at 1026 hrs though it will be visible in India only from the afternoon and end at 1630 hrs tomorrow, passing through various stages.

The first city to witness the eclipse in India will be Kanyakumari at 1408 hrs while it will be visible from 1417 hrs in Port Blair, the last Indian territory in which the celestial phenomenon will continue till 1625 pm.

Stories from the Bohemian Archives: Occultation of Venus 04′

This is a page I’m dedicating to the Occultation of the planet venus by the moon on 10th November 2004. A beautiful spectacle to see in an early winter morning in New Delhi.


LOCATION : Nehru Planetarium, New Delhi, India
India Gate, New Delhi, India

…The most spectacular & beautiful event you can ever dream of. For the first time in my life I felt like a trigger happy press photographer. I took shots bracketed with random exposures ranging from 1 sec to 20 sec! The view would put solar eclipses to shame!

aaaah! LX200 capture as venus appears from behind the moon captured egress of venus from behind the moon
off to india gate…shots from Rajpath using a 50mm  lens and 3 sec exposure on ISO 100…great view cool silhouette of India Gate. Venus and moon adorning the monument.

It’s 3 a.m Nov 10 2004. The day has arrived. After a exhausting night of setting up telescopes namely a Meade LX200 a 6″ CELESTRON and a NIKON binocular;- Saturn is our primary training target; at the planetarium we get up from a late night nap in the open. Not suspecting any foul play by the weather, we suddenly found our limbs frozen & jaws shivering as we got up. A few gulps of hot tea & some warming up found us back to full energy. As we prepare a small media crew also joins us for the sky party.

At 4 am. the anticipation of the event causes quite an excitement among AAAD members. There is some concern if our view will be potentially be obscured by some distant trees. To be double sure that our equipment has been stationed in a proper location, we train our eyes on Jupiter, rising today around 12 minutes before the moon & Venus do, A few frantic minutes later, we have spotted Jupiter rising, after some time Jupiter has easily cleared the distant trees at a 7 degree altitude. A sigh of relief. However the LX200 & the Celestron are getting obscured by trees. So in a rush the bulky equipment is moved to a better location a few yards away.

Its 4:30 am, Dr .N Rathnasree catches the first sight of moon-Venus pair hidden between distant tree leaves. The adrenalin begins to rush now. The moment of truth is finally arriving. All members make final checks. People are seen rushing, making fine adjustments to their equipment, finalizing things etc. Its like a scene from Star Trek….ALL HANDS ON BATTLE STATIONS……5…4…3…2..1…

4:47 am…We have contact, Cameras start clicking, Digi-cams begin recording what is truly a very majestic view. No man-made instrument seems to do justice in capturing what the human eye can. Indeed most of us preferred to watch the spectacle un-aided by a telescope. There is a distinct flow of oooohs… and aaahs….. and heartbeat palpitating!

A few minutes later Venus which was distinctively more bright than the moons more soft crescent ,disappears behind the moon’s disc. Suddenly the tension evaporates…Time for a commercial break! PHEW! I look at the number of snaps I took by now, the meter reads 20 /36 …in just under 3 minutes!

Meanwhile Murphy’s law has swung into action & we discover that the LX200’s tracker -power cord is broken…What a damp squib.

At 5:30 am Venus appears back from the dead, And this moment is truly breathtaking. Cameras roll until I find that I’ve exhausted my film!. …

In a hurry I & Vikrant grabbed another camera, with 20 shots remaining & rush to India Gate to catch this event from a truly Monumental Perspective….Very beautiful indeed.


NIKON SLR 50 mm lens + 70-210 mm zoom ~ f/4 – f/5.6
KODAK ASA 100 color film

AAAD TEAM Ajay Talwar, Vikrant Narang, Vishnu Rethinam, Shubham Garg, Vidur Parkash & Dr N Rathnasree

…Blog Article by

An AAAD & TWAN Presentation

Scientists Discover extrasolar planets… directly

Researchers at Berkeley, and Caltech have used the Hubble’s images to finally detect the presence of extrasolar planets directly though imaging.

The discovery was made about the star Formalhaut in Pisces. The new planet candidate designated Formalhaut B was time an extrsolar planet had been observed directly

(top) Location of planet around Formalhaut,(above) Inset Enlarged

Approximately 15% of nearby stars are surrounded by smaller bodies that produce copious amounts of fine dust via collisional erosion. These “dusty debris disks” are analogues to our Kuiper Belt, and can be imaged directly through the starlight they reflect or thermal emission from their dust grains. Debris disks may be gravitationally sculpted by more massive objects;

Image shows relative motion of Formalhaut B over time

Dust clouds around Formalhaut were first photographed in 2004 using the Hubble’s coronagraph apparatus. In early 2008, interferometry using the Keck scopes in Hawaii were able to directly confirm Formalhaut b as an object displaying Keplerian motion about the main star.

The planet is estimated to be three times massive as Jupiter

Ref: Kalas, Paul; et al. (2008). “Optical Images of an Exosolar Planet 25 Light-Years from Earth”. Science 322 (5906): 1345–1348