Naked eye and DSLR magnitude estimates for Epsilon Aurigae

Workshop being held by the Nehru Planetarium, New Delhi,The Amateur Astronomers Association Delhi and Science Popularisation Association of Communicators and Educators (S.P.A.C.E.)

Workshop Venue : Sky Theatre, Nehru Planetarium, New Delhi
Time : 9:30 AM – 1:00 PM, 5th of October, 2009
Naked eye and DSLR magnitude estimates for Epsilon Aurigae
Workshop Schedule

9:30 – 10:00 AM A little star hopping in the planetarium sky theatre : Vishnu Rettinam
10:00 – 10:30 AM A discussion on bright variable stars N. Rathnasree and C. B. Devgun
10:30 – 11:00 AM A little about Epsilon Aurigae : N. Rathnasree

Tea – 11:00-11:15 AM

11:15 -11:45 AM Naked eye observations and magnitude estimates : Vikrant Narang and N. Rathnasree
11:45 AM – 12:15 Issues involved in DSLR constellation imaging : Ajay Talwar and C. B. Devgun
12:15 AM -12:45 PM DSLR constellation images and magnitude estimates : Anurag Garg
12:45 – 1:00 PM A little more about Epsilon Aurigae : N. Rathnasree

Lunch 1:00 – 1:30 PM

Continued skytheatre and online discussions
Evening skywatch and Epsilon Aurigae observations on the 10th of October

Night under stars: part-2

Hi all,
After alot of if’s and but’s finally a group of 13 amateurs namely headed to Damdama in Haryana for an overnight observation. We reached Damdama around 6:30 pm where Himanshu and Anindya were already ready with their 10″ Dob and 130/1000 mm reflector respectively. This time the site was a little ahead our usual site which was very close to the lake just behind the HTDC resort SARAS. The advantage of this site was that we had avoided the traffic lights of the local villagers which used to disturb us through the mid-night but the disadvantage was that since the the site was close to the water body, dew formation was more.

Me Puniet, Saumya, Nitika and Neha joined Himanshu and Anindya around 7:00 pm and set Puniet’s telescope. We started observing the Scorpio-Saggitariou s region and spotted the Globulars like M4, M6, M7, M8, M17, M18, M20 and many more in this region.
The we moved towards Jupiter where we also tried to spot the red spot, I have no records if anybody spotted it as by this time me, Puniet and Himanshu had brought their cameras and started taking images of star trails.

Vishnu could’nt make it so we were not having any GoTo telescope so no deep sky astrophotography was possible. Later around 9:00 pm Chandan, Rajeev Ji, Rashmi and Rajeev joined us with the 20X120 Nikon Gaint Binoculars and then the things became very easy. After around 10:00 pm Me and Anindya start clicking Jupiter through his telescope and my canon 500D at prime focus. The shots will be uploaded by Anindya soon….
Around 2:00 am Orion and Taurus were rising from east and we saw M42 or the great orion Nebula which asusual was a spectacular view. M78 and M45 also had a nice view. By 3:00 am Mars was up in sky and so were we ready to grab this opportunity. By 4:00 am we started packing our scopes and returned back home.
I am sorry i couldnt mail about the plan in the group after my last mail as the plan was re-finalised around 4:00 pm. as I was out for work.
Himanshu, Puniet, Neha and Anindya please upload the pics and share with all of us. I will also upload the pics I have clicked as soon as I will get my Laptop repaired and formatted.
Overall it was a nice experience. Last four instances and the plans were finalised at the last moment hope next time it goes well as planned.

Clear skies…
Sneh Kesari

Bhuvan not a Google Earth Killer

Recently, folks at ISRO released its own desi version of Google Earth called “Bhuvan”. Our media people hailed it as Google Earth “Killer”, boasting a image resolution of upto 10 m. The images incorporated in the tool are from a host of IRS satellites including Resourcsat-1, Cartosat-1, and Cartosat -II. It is intersting to note that some of these satellites have less than 1 m resolution.

So we decided to put it to the test. One of the biggest problems with the tools was initially to get it to run. Well okay it is still in Beta stage, but you have to admit, this qualifies as gamma or delta stages if software quality.

Well a few weeks after the launch those issues were seemingly rectfied.

The platform runs on TerraExplorer, a visualization suite for 3D terrain, landscapes and maps. The interface is neat, much like Google’ earths and did seem to run smoother than Google Earth on Windows Vista Home Edition. Terraexplorer plugs into Firefox or IE

Now for the acid test, can I peek into my neighbors swimming pool..

I did a comparison of the IGI international airport terminal building between Bhuvan and Google Earth at their best resolution…see the results for yourself

IGI Terminal 2 in Bhuvan

IGI Terminal 2 in Google Maps

Clearly Google offers way more superior quality images compared to what Bhuvan has to offer and I cant really see how our great media thought it could kill Google.

Now you would be asking yourself why did NRSA even bother with this project spending taxpayers money into a seriously useless project . Google offers upto 0.1 m imagery in many places around the world and 1 m pictures of many places of interest in India.

Night under the Stars: Part 2

The monsoon is almost over and there is no moon in the sky on September 19th giving an opportunity to observe the glory of night sky. The sky is getting clearer and the stars are shining brighter than before. Its time to unpack your telescopes and head to a good dark site this time Amateur Astronomers Association chose the famous Dumdama lake on the road to hotel saras besides the lake . This day provides a great opportunity to witness the starry skies and therefore an observation has been scheduled on Saturday, September 19th at Dumdama.

Date of observation: September, 19th, 2009
Day: Saturday
Observation Time: 1900hrs onwards
venue: Damdama lake, Sohna, Haryana, near hotel Saras

Please feel free to join us at Dumdama

Essential things to carry during an observation

1.Carry your dinner and snacks (bring some extra so you can share with others)

2. though it is summer temperature near a lake can reach 20* C(68*F)so carry warm clothing

3. Carry chocolates: they are very helpful as they keep you awake and give you energy

4. VERY IMPORTANT!! always carry a torch covered with red cellophane sheet, any light source(torches etc) without a cellophane sheet is strictly prohibited .

5. Carry your equipment with you(if you don’t have telescope you may join us anyways night sky is very beautiful when viewed naked eyes, though we will bring our telescopes)

6. cover you camera flash with black tape so no light comes out and always keep the flash on off mode

7. We are not providing any transport so you will have to come on your own

if you wish to join us please feel free to do so, if possible let us know that you will be joining, so we have a tentative idea about participants, write to us at below mentioned contact

Raghu Kalra

AAAD is not responsible if the observation is canceled because of cloudy conditions though we will try and put information on this website if observation is cancelled so check the website or preferably by calling the above mentioned phone number before leaving for Damdama

Sunday Meeting

Dear members
this is to notify you that as per schedule Sunday meeting will take place on Sunday, 13 september 2009 , 1:30 pm onwards

the major agendas are:
1. Night obervation from damdama / nuh on Saturday, September 19, 2009.

2. Discussions on Epsilon Aurigae by Dr. N. Rathnasree

If possible we MIGHT as well have a documentary show on 13th September

be there!!

ISS Discovery Flyby

Image Courtesy: Jill Witt, Houghton, MI, United States

On September 8th, space shuttle Discovery STS-128 undocked from the International Space Station, and was orbiting the earth side by side. This picture was taken from Michigan shortly after undocking

Sky Watch at the Teen Murti House

As part of the International Year of Astronomy activities and celebrating Teachers day, a sky watch will be conducted at the Teen Murti House, collating the love and enthusiasm for the skies that is shown by members of the Amateur Astronomers Association, Delhi, and the staff of the Nehru Planetarium, New Delhi. The sky watch will be organized as collaboration between the Amateur Astronomers Association, Delhi, ( and the Nehru Planetarium, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library.

Amateur astronomers will be bringing their telescopes and energies for sharing their love of the skies with all present, and the Delhi citizens are urged to take advantage of this availability.

One of the aims of the International Year of Astronomy is to draw attention of people towards views of some celestial objects through small aperture telescopes. It is 400 years since Galileo first trained a small handmade telescope towards these celestial objects and made startling discoveries that had crucial implications for the understanding the position of the Earth within the Solar System.

When Galileo turned his telescope towards the stars, they remained points of light – he could just see many more of them as fainter and fainter stars started being visible through the telescope. When he trained his telescope on the Moon, it showed rugged craters and many other intriguing physical features which was being studied so thoroughly through the Chandrayaan payloads.

When he trained his telescope at Jupiter – it appeared as a small disk – not a point of light! More interestingly, four tiny points of light appeared clustered close to it – what are now known as the four Galilean moons of Jupiter: Io, Europa, Gannymede and Callisto – so closely studied through many recent space missions.

His views of Saturn were even more intriguing – with what appeared to his as Saturn with two moons on either side – with their relative positions and aspects strangely varying. A few decades after Galileo, it became known that these puzzling aspects were observations of the rings of Saturn observed with very small telescopes.

And then, there was Venus. It showed phases like the Moon, when viewed through a telescope! All of these observations helped in a revolutionary way towards understanding and accepting the heliocentric nature of the Solar System: the Earth was just one amongst a number of planets revolving around the Sun.

Now, 400 years later, there are so many of us yet unaware of what these views are like and their inspiring nature.

Be there by sunset, at the Teen Murti House front lawns, on the 5th of September 2009 to get some of these views through telescopes, for you.
This time we will also be screening ‘400 years of telescope’ a documentary on the history and future of telescopes around the world from 6pm to 7pm after which the public watch will begin.

Jupiter will rise later in the evening and its views with three Galilean Moons on one side and another on the other side – Callisto, Europa & Io on one side and Gannymede on the other, should make interesting views.

The almost full Moon will rise a little early in the evening too. And then there will be the wan remnants of stars that struggle to remain visible through the extremely light polluted surroundings of central Delhi. Well, be there to make friends with those wan remnants of stars and then try and go to a location far away from the city, to enjoy their soothing presence in dark village skies filled with myriads of these friendly beacons.

Be there!!

for further information write to us at