There are a lot of exoplanets around us

It is an exciting time indeed!
I stumbled upon this pic a year back, and I thought it was really cool – cause when you hear the figures of all the exoplanets, the numbers don’t really register (for me at least!). But this pic got it registered – we’re on to something big. And can you imagine the prospects of life on those tiny circles!
Never managed to retrace this pic from the first time I saw it a year ago, but a few days ago, I stumbled upon it again.
And here it goes! It’s gonna be an epic time!

ps. I’m thinking of studying Aerospace Eng, to make interstellar travel a reality – but really, to get on that flight to space (and to meet aliens).
Any thoughts on the prospects of majoring in this? See ya then!

exoplanets

Categories: Exoplanets, Misc, Planets | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Observation Log: 1

I’ve been trying to keep a record of my observations on sheets of paper. But unfortunately, these papers sometimes go missing.
So now onwards, I’ll be recording my observation on this blog (sketching will still be on paper though ;) ).
But besides my making sure they’re all in one place, you’ll get to read them too!
They’re pretty boring right now (viewing conditions from home are far from good)…but I’ll be heading off to Boston in fall, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed for some clearer skies!

 
Date: Monday, 13/05/2013

Location: Balcony (latitude: 3.03, longitude:101.57)

Sky conditions: Slight wind, heavy haze on the horizon, medium haze overhead, crescent moonlight.

Equipment: Skywatcher 10″ Dobsonian, 24mm and 10mm Plossl.

Time: 9.0opm

1. Saw a binary star for my first time. Location: Ursa Major.

2. Saw Saturn, which was as peachy and beautiful as ever. Location: Virgo

Time: 9.40 om

M3 on the hunting dogs (Canes Venatici), next to the herdsman (Bootes).
Used Arcturus and 3 stars of Ursa Major’s tail for reference.
Not enough visible stars to starhop to M3.

Categories: Observation Log | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lyrid Shooting Stars

So I’ve got the orange skies, the moon glare, and clouds – it can’t get any worse!

For all you lucky ones out there with clear skies, here goes:
NatGeo’s Sky-Watchers’ Guide: How to See Lyrid Meteors This Weekend.

I’ll be keeping a lookout till the 25th though…Ohhh it’ll be great to catch something – it has been so many years since I last saw a shooting star and it a lovely sight – so speedy!

Categories: Amateur Astronomy, Observation Tips, Shooting Stars | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Words from the Gita

Just something to ponder on – on souls and solstices.


“The path pursued by those who have no return is as follows:
Fire, light, day-time, the bright fortnight, the six months of the northern solstice; following this path, men who know BRAHMAN go to BRAHMAN.

As contrasted with this path of no-return there is the path of sure-return which is explained in the following:
Smoke, night-time, the dark fortnight, also six months of the southern solstice, attaining by these to the Moon, the lunar light, the “YOGI” returns.”

These are words from the Bhagavad Gita, a book on Hinduism.
Those who have no return are those who have found Moksha, those who will unite with God (Brahman)
Those who return are those who die, who go to heaven, and then return to Earth for yet another life (these are the Yogis).
These are the two paths that the soul takes when it leaves the body – according to the Gita.
My mum has been reading the Gita. She stumbled upon these words, and told me to take a look.
And I just felt they were so mysterious….

Whether or not you believe in the afterlife and souls and paranormal activity (which I have to admit I find all quite intriguing),  I’ll leave you with a clip on the solstices – it’s scientific, so wary not. I wasn’t quite sure myself what the solstices meant (the last time I studied these was back when I was 15 – and my mind has forgotten everything since, besides meeting Good Charlotte for autographs, and fist-knuckling Bill). So I did some reading. And it’s all quite easy actually. The earth moves around the sun in a plane, the Ecliptic.
But Earth’s rotational axis is tilted at 23.5 degrees. So that means, 6 months in a year, the northern hemisphere will have longer days than the south, and the next months, the southern hemisphere will take over. Solstices happen on the peak of these: The northern solstice when the sun is directly above the Tropic of Cancer (a latitude line). The longest day happens in the entire northern hemisphere happens then; and the longest night happens in the Southern hemisphere. And the southern solstice, when the longest day is in the Southern hemisphere (to be more specific, the Tropic of Capricorn); the longest night in the northern.

Solstices and Equinoxes

ps.
I couldn’t help but google spirits and solstices, to see if there was really a link. And I found it!: The Best Times for Paranormal Activity, by the Crawford County Illinois Ghost Hunters Society.

Categories: Misc, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A map which tells the age, origins, and ingredients of our universe – from The Planck Mission

Isn’t that one interesting map – never seen anything like that before – and those dots of blues and yellows reveal so much!
Basically, the mottling in the map represents small changes in the CMB background, which permeates the universe. The cool part is, these deviations are essentially the “seeds” of the stars, galaxies, and clusters we see today – the “seeds” of matter.
I guess the density differences amplified with time – but that’s just me making sense of it…
And the pattern: the age, shape and contents of the universe.
But if you still can’t decipher the map (like myself), check out the picture below. Took this snapshot from the newspaper I was just reading – and I think it’s a wonderful summary of the breakthroughs of the Planck Mission, and also of the timeline of our expanding universe.

Source: The STAR, TUESDAY 26 MARCH 2013, Malaysia

Source: The STAR, TUESDAY 26 MARCH 2013, Malaysia

Though I must add, the Planck Mission (by NASA/ESA) has also proved that temperature differences in the opposite hemispheres of the sky (it’s the first I’m hearing the universe has hemispheres – must read up a bit about this!) are not anomalies of measurement (as they were once thought of), but the real deal…and there’s something about a “cold spot” as well: it’s now proven to be bigger than predicted.
Cool stuff right.

Here’s some links if you’ll like to find out a bit more:

Planck Mission Brings Universe Into Sharp Focus

New View of Primordial Universe Confirms Sudden “Inflation” after Big Bang

The first link is NASA’s article, and has much more detail. The second is by Scientific American, easier to digest ;)

ps. The CMB (cosmic microwave background) is essentially light, the earliest light in our universe, produced when the first elements, Hydrogen and Helium were formed. This was 380 000 years after the formation of our universe. But as the universe expanded, the wavelength of these light waves lengthened, and now it is of the microwave radiation wavelength – wonder if it will ever become radio waves!

Categories: Misc, Physics, The Universe | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

equatorastronomy:

Stumbled upon a really useful article on my Astronomy reader – written by the CuriousAstronomer…every “telescope-user-beginner” has got to read it! And voila, my first reblog! ;)
These are really the essentials you’ve got to know when collimating your scope. If you need to collimate the secondary mirror of a reflector, you’d need to adjust the bolts on the spider to get the mirror aligned to the focuser (you’d need a sighting tube for this)…but mostly you’d only need to adjust the primary (the rear) mirror – and for that, just tweak the screws on it, till you get an out-of-focus star that looks like a doughnut :)) (pic is below). Here as well, a sighting tube or a laser collimator come in handy (though they’re not altogether necessary).

Heyyy thanks Rhodri for posting this up – been great meeting you! — who knew the world was so small!

Originally posted on thecuriousastronomer:

I was on the BBC last week recording an interview which will go out this week. One of the topics discussed (in addiition to how to take a pee in the dark) was how to collimate a telescope.

Two types of telescopes – Refracting and Reflecting

There are two basic types of telescopes, refracting telescopes (which use lenses) and reflecting telescopes (which use mirrors). Either type of telescope can become mis-aligned, usually through the telescope being knocked. Putting it back into alignment (technically called collimation) is not a difficult process, and should be the kind of thing anyone can do with a little patience.

There are many expensive gadgets available to help you align a telescope, but none of them is really necessary. The easiest way to do it is to simply point the telescope at a star and then de-focus the image. You will end up with a…

View original 297 more words

Categories: Observation Gear, Observation Tips, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Astronomy gear that tempt me ohhh so bad.

After a year and a half of OptCorp and Cloudynight/Astronomyforum reviews, here’s what I’ve come up with.

My “Must Have” or rather ‘Futilely Desire” list:

1. A Barlow (would love a Televue 2″ 2x Powermate)
2. A Wide Field Eyepiece ( aVixen 1.25″ 40mm NLV seem like the best bet! – would love the 2″ 50mm, if not for the extra 100 dollars!)
3. A Devoted Planetary Eyepiece (William Optics anyone?)
4.A Stellarvue (yes you heard it!) 10x60mm Finderscope – that’d also serve as a mini portable refractor for the planets, with its 2″ focuser, and 1.25″ adapter.
5. A pair of binoculars (less than 70mm aperture, so I wouldnt need a tripod) ….or should I get a monocular? Waterproofing is great as well! Any recommendations?
6. A Baader Planetarium Moon & SkyGlow filter.

And yes, you must know my scope and viewing conditions.
I have a 10″ Dobsonian Skywatcher.
And the basic set of accessories that come with it, a 24mm and a 10mm Plossl.
Heavy light pollution and haze from my side. Viewing is mostly limited to planets.
But occasionally the skies are clear – and I get to catch the brighter nebular. Still a dream of mine to catch the Horsehead Nebula someday.
Thinking of getting a wild-field eyepiece to starhop. Do you think it’ll work? There really isn’t much point in starhopping with a finderscope, as the stars are too dim from where I’m at.

So let me know what’s your favourite pick? And if you’ve got any other suggestions, that’ll be great!

Till then, cheers!

ps. This is THE best article I’ve read on planetary eyepieces. Learnt so much from it – and it wasn’t a tad bit boring at all!
6mm Lunar/Planetary Eyepiece Comparison – by Bill Paolini

Categories: Amateur Astronomy, Observation Gear, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

And if you can’t catch DA14, here’s what you do:

Wow! That’s one speedy asteroid!

You can see it through your computer at
NASA’s JPL Streaming:
http://www.nasa.gov/topics/solarsystem/features/asteroidflyby.html

It’s passing by Australia now! —on its path to the Northern Hemisphere.

Categories: Misc, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Brief Observing Guide for Asteroid DA14

The best pic I’ve seen thus far, for catching asteroid DA14.
All times are in GMT, on Feb the 15th. The asteroid begins from the bottom of Leo and moves to the Plough.

You’d need a pair binoculars (50mm aperture is the minimum, I believe) to see it. It’s too faint for the naked eye, about 250 times fainter than the stars of Ursa Major (the Plough). If you’ve got a telescope, all the better!

Sadly, I can’t be catching it today…Ohh why (said in anguish!)
The clouds are too heavy down here. I can’t see a single star – so there’s no way I could navigate the constellations.

And if you’re from the Americas, you won’t be able to catch it too, as its daytime. But, if you’re at the Eastern Hemisphere, keep a lookout.

This is the view from home. Not the best pic, but the skies are entirely void of stars today – and it’s all just an orange blur (though the sky looks black in the pic).
Oh well…

…guess I’ve gotta wait  40 more years before I see you. Till 2046 then!20130216-021604.jpg

Good luck hunting guys!

And yes, don’t forget to check out these links:
1. How to spot Asteroid 2012 DA14 - by The Guardian
2. NASA’s Guide

My bed’s calling ;)

Categories: Amateur Astronomy, Misc, Observation Tips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

21/12/12 – an interesting sighting

So, Doomsday, couldn’t miss out on that, could I?
Yeah, i know it’s a bit out of date – but anyway…I’ve got an interesting sighting (for myself at least).

Always, Jupiter’s orange bands lie almost horizontal when seen through my scope. Sometimes, they’re in line (on the same plane) with Jupiter’s moons.

But around 11pm, on the 21st December 2012…(ta da da)

The bands were almost vertical.
But Jupiter’s 4 biggest moons, were scattered about the usual horizontal plane.

I had to make a sketch of it. And as soon as I get it scanned, I’d post it.

So, take a look at the sketch and let me know what you think.
Perhaps it’s got something to do with Jupiter’s speedy rotation (one rotation takes 9.9 hours) or tilt-too-much of its axis (if that ever happens).

So intriguing.

Do enlighten me, if you can.

Categories: Amateur Astronomy, Misc, Physics, Planets, Solar System | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com. The Adventure Journal Theme.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 64 other followers

%d bloggers like this: