Posts Tagged With: random

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!


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

On a Clear Sky

The Moon

Categories: Misc, Solar System, The Moon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

StarHopping – Old Skool Style

So, if you don’t have a PushTo, GoTo or a Telrad (like myself), this is whatcha gonna need for some old-skool style star-hopping.


Star Chart

Here’s a link to a free downloadable version which I’ve used for my observation nights with my club: SFA Star Chart. Star Charts map constellations, nebulae and galaxies, and they sometimes even indicate brightness! So, before you start observing, you’ll need a star chart to know what’s up in the sky tonight, decide which object to hunt for and use the pattern of stars to guide you there. Without star-hopping, locating an object is like looking for a needle in a haystack – especially if your eyepiece has a narrow field of view and a short focal length – talk about tunnel vision!


A Compass


The trick is to imagine your star chart as a sphere encapsulating Earth.

From the Equatorial Region

Check your Star Chart and lookout for today’s date (its on the horizontal axis). If you imagine a vertical line through the point which marks the date, that would be the view of the skies at the Celestial Meridien at 8 pm. Then on, just minus or add the time of your viewing to the Meridien (at 8 pm) and shift your focus (the imaginary vertical line) on the map – basically, aligning the Celestial Meridien to the current time. So, if you’re observing at 11pm, you would need to add 3 hours (11-8=3) to the 8pm Meridien, which means, looking 3 hours to the left of the imaginary 8pm Meridien line on the map. if you’re observing at say 7 pm, look an hour (8-7=1) to the right of the 8pm Meridien. Once you’ve approximated your vertical axis, look up to the skies and align it with what you see.

Now if you wanna see the Eastern sky, align yourself to face East – here’s where the compass comes in. Look at the left of the vertical line which matches your time of viewing and date. And if you want to see the Western sky, face West and look at the right of the imaginary line. You see, as Earth rotates, you’ll see new stars emerging on your East and other stars falling under the Western horizon.

It all may sound quite confusing. So, back to basics, imagine your chart as a sphere wrapped around Earth, and remember how Earth’s rotation makes the sky look like its moving. Check out: Why Stars Move

Next up, is using your hands. Once, you’ve located what you see on the chart, to hop to the right star, you’ll need to measure. On the chart, are “latitude lines” 10 degrees apart. How on earth would you know what’s 10 degrees apart in the sky. Well, make a fist and point it up to the sky, the length of a fist measures 10 degrees in the sky. The thumb, about 5 degrees. And if you open you hand as wide as possible, from the tip of the little finger to the thumb’s tip, 25 degrees.

Now, you’re all set!

Zoomed in Star Chart

ps. What’s the Celestial Meridien?It’s a¬†circle the passes through the north and south celestial poles, the zenith and nadir. Read: Measuring the Sky to find out more.

Categories: Amateur Astronomy, Observation Gear, Observation Tips, Stars | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

A View of the Moon

I know my sis Brindha recently wrote a post about the moon. However, I would like to emphasise on how beautiful it really is in this post.
I always expected the moon to be white with holes in it. And yes,I did imagine it to be beautiful. I set the bar really high cause I knew that anything from outer space would be gorgeous. So when I finally got more my eyes on a close-up of the moon through our telescope, ohh it touched that high bar alright. It was something I could imagine but never thought would be a reality, but it was real!
The moon was so white, pure and untouched. It looked like a ball of ice when I stared at it longer. AMAZING!
And it was so round! It was like a perfect circle floating in mid air. Like a painted white circle (a perfect circle – something I could never draw) shaded with grey against a piece of black paper.
How gorgeous everything is in outer-space!
The moon really is a stunner!

By Geetha.

Categories: The Moon | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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