Nerd lord and his space ship

If aren’t living under a rock, you would have heard of Elon Musk’s SpaceX and the amazing story of Falcon 9 rockets. Today they have created history once again, and in amazing style.

Today, the Falcon Heavy, world’s most powerful rocket currently in production (NASA’s Saturn V in 1970’s was more powerful than this but they are not being produced anymore) was tested by SpaceX.

Usually when companies test rockets, they send a dummy payload like a concrete block or a metal block. But instead, Elon Musk decided to send his own Tesla Roadster car as the payload with a mannequin in a space suit at the driver seat.

The first stage of the rocket consisted of 3  falcon-9 cores which in total are made up of 27 merlin engines. These three first stages were planned to be reusable. After separation, they would come back and land on their designated landing pads. Two of them landed safely in cape Canaveral, the third one fell into the sea just 100m from the drone ship on which it was supposed to land. The way the two first stage cores landed in sync was a sight to behold.

The second stage carried on into space. The nose cone opened, revealing the “SpaceMan” and the Tesla Roadster. 4 cameras continued to transmit live stream of the ‘space car’ for the next 4 and half hours.

The Starman is wearing a real space suit. It took 3 years for Tesla to design the suit. This is a fully functional suit. The term “Starman” is a tribute to a song by David Bowie of the same name. Also, the song “Space Oddity” was being played in the car when it was in space. The dashboard displayed “Don’t Panic” which is a famous line from the book “Hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy”, one of my favorite books. Elon is truly a ” Nerd Lord”…

After that, the battery died and the contact was lost. Since there were no solar panels, it would not be possible to communicate with the car again.

The car will continue its journey in space past Mars and towards the asteroid belt.

Here are some “must-see” videos of the whole event.

21:50 – Launch

24:30 – separation

25:45 – first look of the Starman

29:54 – landing of the two stage one cores.

This is the live stream of the Starman. Just 30 seconds into the video, you can see the earth appear in the background.

 The other awesome video I liked was this. Put on your headphones and watch this amazing video to experience the sounds of the rocket launch and sonic booms of the landing.


Brahmanda and the eclipse

Brahmanda Guruji is a famous TV person. He became popular due to many ridiculous claims on TV. I recently came across a video which shows many of the claims he has made. Here it is.

Recently he was on public TV discussing about the effects of the upcoming lunar eclipse.

His claims were,

1. “Chandrama Manaso jatah”. So moon affects the minds of people. But in truth, the verse “Chandrama Manaso jatah” means, the moon was born from the mind (or will) of Brahma. It has nothing to do with the mind controlling power of the moon.

2. There will be more accidents due to the lunar eclipse.

This is ridiculous. There are at least 2 lunar eclipses in a year. And here ar the accident statistics from Bangalore traffic police.


So the eclipses should have raised the number of accidents but that’s not the case…

He had many other claims too which you can see in the video. It is a waste of time to explain all the claims he makes. But you van leave comments and I will try to explain them for you.


My lunar eclipse experience

As we wait for the total lunar eclipse on Jan 31st, 2018, let me recall my earlier eclipse experience on 10 Dec 2011. It was a wonderful lunar eclipse since the whole eclipse was visible from India. I went out of the city to a village near Tumkur which has very clear skies and no light pollution.

As the sun set in the western sky, the moon rose in the eastern sky. We (the earth) were exactly in between the sun and the moon. I had a 1000mm focal length telescope with me to photograph the eclipse. I was using my old Canon 450D camera. As the moon rose, one portion of the moon started to get blackened. We were all excited.

As the eclipse progressed, the moon was getting covered in earth’s shadow. After about 60% of the eclipse, we started seeing the dim red glow of the moon (which is due to refraction of light in earth’s atmosphere).

After about 90 minutes, the moon was completely covered. Usually on a full moon day, you don’t see many stars. But on this occasion, the moon had become a lot fainter glowing with faint brown-red color and we could see many stars in the sky.

The color and brightness of the moon depends on the dust in the earth’s atmosphere and can vary drastically between eclipses.

We enjoyed this phase of the eclipse using binoculars and telescopes. My camera was still clicking photos. By this time, everyone was hungry and we feasted on Bisi Bele Bath and curd rice. This was also to bust the myth that eating food during an eclipse causes indigestion.

After an hour of totality, the earth’s shadow started moving out of the moon. After an hour and half, the full moon was back again. It was so bright, I wondered if it was the same moon we saw all night.


Lunar eclipse myths

Throughout the history, the eclipses have been recorded and studied. While the scientific community had the complete understanding of the phenomenon centuries ago, it has not deterred the astrologers and other people to spread false information about the eclipses. Here are some of the myths related to eclipses.

1. You should not have food during the eclipse. The food becomes contaminated during the eclipse. You should cover the food with darbha grass to prevent the contamination of the food.

Obviously this is false. Just think about it. Have you ever heard anyone get sick by eating food during the eclipse? Dr. H Narasimhaiah even distributed food during the eclipse to spread awareness. Also, keeping 2 sticks of darbha grass on the food container does nothing.
2. It is not safe for the people to go watch the eclipse, especially for pregnant women. There will be additional radiation during the eclipse.

Eclipses are totally safe to watch. If it is a solar eclipse, since the sun is too bright, you will need protective solar goggles. For lunar eclipse, you don’t need anything. Just go out and enjoy the show. The eclipses occur when the earth, moon and the sun are aligned in a line such that one of them covers the other casting a shadow on the third body. So there is no question of additional radiation. As for the pregnant women, the eclipses are perfectly safe for the pregnant women to see. The only thing is that, they have to watch their step while walking and also they should not get overexcited looking at the beauty of the nature.

3. Rahu and ketu eat the sun and moon during eclipse. You have to pray to god to save them.

Lol. People used to do this 5000 years ago when they had no clue about the universe. You don’t live in stone age. Don’t believe this crap. However, Rahu and Ketu represent the ascending and descending nodes of the moon’s orbit.  

4. Eclipse are a bad omen…

Again, this is the belief that belongs to the stone age where they freaked out looking at the sun or the moon disappear from the sky and they were not sure whether they would reappear nor not. Obviously they thought it was a bad omen.

5. Tides are more powerful on an eclipse day than during regular new moon/full moon days

Tides depend on numerous other things and not only on the phase of the moon. The change in tides due to an eclipse is insignificant.

6. Eclipses are rare. The online posts say that this month’s eclipse is very rare and happened 150years ago.

No, the eclipses are not rare. They happen quite frequently. People are calling this month’s eclipse as blue blood supermoon eclipse and are telling that this happens once in 150 years. But it is the same type of eclipse as any other previous eclipses…

7.  Eclipses have long term effects on human beings.

There is no proof for this. Also there is no reason for this to happen.

Eclipse glossary

Jan 31st 2018, we are going to witness a rare phenomenon, the total lunar eclipse. It has been called the “Blue moon, super moon, blood moon lunar eclipse”, a rare phenomenon which only occurs once in 150 years… Here is the explanation for some of the terms used in the eclipse.

Blue moon: You might have heard the phrase ” once in a blue moon” which refers to a rare event. The time between 2 full moons is approximately thirty days. So, in a month, we usually have only one full moon. If the full moon occurs on the first or second day of the month, the next full moon will be on the 30th or 31st day of the same month. This second full moon is called a blue moon. In Jan 2018, the first full moon was on 2nd and the next full moon will be on 31st. There is absolutely no astronomical significance for a blue moon. It is just due to the fact that a month can have 31 days. 

Supermoon: Supermoon is a full moon which is slightly (10-14%) bigger than the normal full moon. Since the moon travels around the earth in a slightly elliptical orbit, it comes close to the earth on some days, and is slightly far away on other days compared to the average distance. The farthest point is called the apogee and the nearest point is called the perigee. When the moon is at perigee, it looks the biggest. When it is at apogee, it looks the smallest. The difference between these is just 10-14%, and this happens every month. A supermoon is the day when the moon is at perigee and the phase of the moon is full… Again, this has no astronomical significance. The change is tides is barely noticeable and does not cause any threat to him an or marine life. This term was made popular by some western astrologer. The correct name for supermoon is “perigee full moon”.

Bloodmoon: when the moon raises‌ on Jan 31st in our part of the world, it is already eclipsed. So it looks dark red-brown color (typically – the color can vary based on atmospheric conditions). The Moon appears to be reddish because of Rayleigh scattering (the same effect that causes sunsets to appear reddish) and the refraction of that light by Earth’s atmosphere into its umbra. But contrary to the name, it is not blood red in color. It is more like copper color. So the correct name would be copper moon than blood moon.

Rahu and Ketu: 

Short answer: Rahu and Ketu are ascending and descending nodes of the lunar orbit over the ecliptic.

Long answer: Rahu and Ketu are not demons. If you look at old astronomical texts, they are called chaya grahas, which means they are invisible. They are not Uranus or Neptune. That’s another misconception.

Also, when you look at the 12 houses in the jaathaka, the rahu and ketu are always in opposite houses. Ex: if rahu is in Pisces, ketu will be in Virgo.
Also, if we look closely, on the day of a lunar eclipse, sun and rahu (or ketu) will be in the same house. Moon and ketu (or rahu) will be in the same house.
Ex: on this particular eclipse, moon and rahu are in the same house. Sun and ketu are in the same house. That’s why it is called rahu-grastha Chandra grahana.
All these point to the fact that, rahu and ketu are the points in space where the path of the sun meets the path of the moon.
Rahu is the “ascending node” and ketu is the “descending Node”
Why did our ancestors track these points? Simple. It helped them to predict eclipses.
They also built stories around rahu and ketu. Like, rahu is the head of the demon and ketu is the body of the demon, which is to say that they are always at opposite sides to each other.
Also the stories say that rahu and ketu hate the sun and the moon. So they chase sun and moon and eat them, thus causing eclipses.
Obviously this is just a funny story signifying the scientific facts about rahu and ketu and eclipses.

ಆಕಾಶದಲ್ಲಿ ಒಂದು ಬೆಂಕಿಯ ಮರ ಮತ್ತು ಕುದುರೆ ತಲೆ

ಆಕಾಶ ಒಂದು ವಿಸ್ಮಯಗಳ ಆಗರ. ಬರಿಗಣ್ಣಿಗೆ, ಗಾಢ ನೀಲಿ ಹೊದಿಕೆಯ ಮೇಲೆ ಚುಕ್ಕೆಗಳ ಚಿತ್ತಾರವನ್ನು ಬಿಡಿಸಿದಂತೆ ಕಾಣುವ ಈ ಆಕಾಶದ ಕಡೆ ಕ್ಯಾಮೆರ ತಿರುಗಿಸಿದಾಗ ಅಲ್ಲಿ ಕಾಣುವ ಅಚ್ಚರಿಗಳು ಅನೇಕ. ಕಣ್ಣಿಗೆ ಕಾಣದ ನೆಬುಲಗಳು, ಗೆಲಾಕ್ಸಿಗಳು, ನಕ್ಷತ್ರಪುಂಜಗಳು, ಸೂಪರ್ ನೋವಾ ಉಳಿಕೆಗಳು ಇತ್ಯಾದಿ. ಇವುಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಬಹಳ ಪ್ರಸಿದ್ಧ ನೆಬುಲ ಕುದುರೆ ತಲೆ ನೆಬುಲ. ಕೆಂಪಾಗಿ ಕಂಗೊಳಿಸುವ ಜಲಜನಕದ ಮೋಡಗಳ ನಡುವೆ ಕಪ್ಪಗೆ ಕುದುರೆಯ ತಲೆಯಂತೆ ಕಾಣುವ ಈ ನೆಬುಲ ವಾಸ್ತವದಲ್ಲಿ ಒಂದು ನಕ್ಷತ್ರಗಳ ಉಗಮಸ್ಥಾನ. ಒರಾಯನ್ ನಕ್ಷತ್ರ ರಾಶಿಯ ಅಲ್ನಿಟಕ್ ನಕ್ಷತ್ರದ ದಕ್ಷಿಣಕ್ಕೆ ಕಾಣುವ ಈ ನೆಬ್ಯುಲಾ ಭೂಮಿಯಿಂದ ೧೫೦೦ ಜ್ಯೋತಿರ್ವರ್ಷಗಳಷ್ಟು ದೂರ ಇದೆ. ಅಲ್ನಿಟಕ್ ನಕ್ಷತ್ರದ ಪೂರ್ವಕ್ಕೆ ಬೆಂಕಿಯ ಮರದಂತೆ ಕಾಣುವ “ಬೆಂಕಿ ನೆಬ್ಯುಲಾ” ಕೂಡ ಹೊಸ ನಕ್ಷತ್ರಗಳ ಆಗರ. ಕ್ಷ-ಕಿರಣಗಳ ಅಧ್ಯಯನದಿಂದ ಈ ನೆಬ್ಯುಲಾ ಒಳಗೆ ಸುಮಾರು ೮೦೦ ನಕ್ಷತ್ರಗಳಿರಬಹುದು ಎಂದು ಅಂದಾಜಿಸಲಾಗಿದೆ.

ಕೆಲ ದಿನಗಳ ಹಿಂದೆ ಆಕಾಶ ತಿಳಿಯಾಗಿದ್ದಾಗ ನನ್ನ ದೂರದರ್ಶಕವನ್ನು ಈ ಕಡೆ ತಿರುಗಿಸಿ ಈ ಚಿತ್ರವನ್ನು ಕ್ಲಿಕ್ಕಿಸಿದೆ. ಚಿತ್ರ ತೆಗೆಯಲು ಬಳಸಿದ ಉಪಕರಣದ ಮಾಹಿತಿ ಇಲ್ಲಿದೆ.

ದೂರದರ್ಶಕ: ಸ್ಕೈ ವಾಚರ್ ೮” ಎಫ್/೪

ಕ್ಯಾಮೆರ: ಕ್ಯಾನನ್ ೪೫೦ಡಿ

ಎಕ್ಸ್ಪೋಷರ್: ೩೦೦ಸೆಕೆಂಡು x ೧೬ ಚಿತ್ರಗಳು

ತಂತ್ರಾಂಶ: ಪಿಕ್ಸ್ ಇನ್ಸೈಟ್

ಪಕ್ಕದ್ ಮನೆ ಆಂಟಿ ಮತ್ತು ಶನಿ ದೆಸೆ

ಆಫೀಸಿಂದ ಮನೆಗೆ ಬರ್ತಿದ್ದೆ. ನಮ್ಮ ಪಕ್ಕದ ಮನೆ ಆಂಟಿ ಆಚೆ ನಿಂತಿದ್ರು. ಅವರಿಗೆ ನಮ್ಮನ್ನು ಕಂಡ್ರೆ ತುಂಬ ಪ್ರೀತಿ. ಮನೇಲಿ ಎನಾದ್ರು ಹೊಸ ತಿಂಡಿ ಮಾಡಿದ್ರೆ ನಮಗೆ ತಪ್ಪದೆ ಕೊಡ್ತಾರೆ. ನಾನು ಹಾಗೇ ಅವರನ್ನ ಮಾತಾಡಿಸಿದೆ.

ನಾನು: ಏನ್ ಆಂಟಿ, ಈ ನಡುವೆ ನೀವು ಕಾಣೋದೇ ಇಲ್ಲ?

ಆಂಟಿ: ದಿನಾ ಸಂಜೆ ಪಾರ್ಕ್ ಗೆ ಹೋಗ್ತಿದೀನಿ. ಅಲ್ಲಿ ಲಾಫಿಂಗ್ ಕ್ಲಾಸ್ ನಡಿತಿದೆ. ಮಾತಾಡೋಕ್ಕೂ ತುಂಬಾ ಜನ ಸಿಗ್ತಾರೆ. ಓಹ್, ಅಂದಹಾಗೆ ನಿನ್ನ ಒಂದು ವಿಷಯ ಕೇಳ್ಬೇಕಿತ್ತು. ಇವತ್ತು ಆ ಆಚೆಬೀದಿ ಸುಂದರಮ್ಮ ಇದಾರಲ್ಲ ಅವರು ಒಂದು ವಾಟ್ಸ್ ಆಪ್ ಮೆಸೇಜ್ ತೋರ್ಸುದ್ರು. ಅವರ ಗುರೂಜಿ ಕಳ್ಸಿದ್ದಂತೆ. ತುಂಬಾ ಪವರ್ ಫುಲ್ ಗುರೂಜಿ ಅಂತೆ. ಟೀವಿಲೆಲ್ಲ ಬರ್ತಾರಂತೆ. ಅವರ ಪ್ರಕಾರ ನಾಳೆ ಸೂರ್ಯ ಶನಿಯ ಮನೆಗೆ ಹೋಗ್ತಿದ್ದಾನಂತೆ. ಅದರಿಂದ ಸೂರ್ಯನಿಗೆ ಶನಿದೆಸೆ ಅಂತೆ. ಅವರಿಬ್ರೂ ಹತ್ರ ಇರ್ಬಾರ್ದಂತೆ. ತುಂಬಾ ಕೆಟ್ಟ ದಿನ ಅಂತೆ. ಎಲ್ಲರಿಗೂ ಫಾರ್ವರ್ಡ್ ಮಾಡಿ ಅಂತ. ನೀನೂ ಅದೇನೋ ಆಕಾಶ ಎಲ್ಲಾ ನೋಡಿರ್ತ್ಯಲ್ಲ, ಇದೆಲ್ಲ ನಿಜಾನಾ?

ನಾನು: ಆಂಟಿ ನೀವು ಹೇಳ್ತಿರೋದು ಹೇಗಿದೆ ಅಂದ್ರೆ ಆಕಾಶದಲ್ಲಿ ಒಂದು ಬಿಗ್ ಬಾಸ್ ಶೋ ನಡೀತಿದೆ. ಸೂರ್ಯ ಮತ್ತು ಶನಿ ಇಬ್ರನ್ನೂ ಒಂದೇ ಮನೇಲಿ ಕೂಡಿ ಹಾಕಿದಾರೆ ಅಂತನಾ?

ಆಂಟಿ: ನೀನು ಸುಮ್ನೆ ತರ್ಲೆ ಮಾಡ್ಬೇಡಪ್ಪ. ಇದು ಸೀರಿಯಸ್ ವಿಚಾರ. ನಾಳೆ ನಮ್ಮ ಲಾಫಿಂಗ್ ಕ್ಲಾಸ್ ಕ್ಯಾನ್ಸಲ್ ಮಾಡ್ಬೇಕು ಅಂತ ಆ ಸುಂದರಮ್ಮ ಹೇಳ್ತಿದಾರೆ. ವಾಟ್ಸ್ ಆಪ್ ಗ್ರೂಪ್ ನಲ್ಲಿ ಡಿಸ್ಕಶನ್ ನಡೀತಿದೆ.

ನಾನು: ಸರಿ ಆಂಟಿ. ಇಲ್ಲಿ ಕೇಳಿ. ಸೂರ್ಯನ ಸುತ್ತ ಎಲ್ಲ ಗ್ರಹಗಳೂ ತಿರುಗುತ್ತಿರೋ ವಿಚಾರ ನಿಮಗೆ ಗೊತ್ತು ತಾನೆ? ಹೀಗೇ ತಿರುಗುತ್ತಾ, ಶನಿ ಮತ್ತು ಭೂಮಿ ಸೂರ್ಯನ ವಿರುದ್ಧ ದಿಕ್ಕಿಗೆ ಬಂದಿವೆ. ಆದ್ದರಿಂದ ನಮ್ಮ ಭೂಮಿಯಿಂದ ನೋಡಿದಾಗ ಈ ಎರಡೂ ಈಗ ಧನುರ್ ರಾಶಿಯ ಕಡೆ ಕಾಣ್ತಿವೆ. ಚಿತ್ರದಲ್ಲಿ ನೋಡಿ. ಮಧ್ಯದಲ್ಲಿ ಹೊಳಿತಾ ಇರೋದು ಸೂರ್ಯ. ಅದರ ಪಕ್ಕದಲ್ಲಿ ಚಿಕ್ಕದಾಗಿರೋದು ಶನಿ ಗ್ರಹ. ಎರಡೂ ಇರೋದು Sagittarius ರಾಶಿಯಲ್ಲೇ.

ಆಂಟಿ: ಓಹ್, ಹಾಗಾದ್ರೆ ಗುರೂಜಿ ಹೇಳಿದ್ದು ನಿಜ. ಸೂರ್ಯ ಮತ್ತು ಶನಿ ಅಷ್ಟು ಹತ್ರ ಇದ್ರೆ ಜಗಳ ಗ್ಯಾರಂಟಿ.

ನಾನು: ಅಯ್ಯೋ ಅಷ್ಟೊಂದ್ ಟೆನ್ಷನ್ ಮಾಡ್ಕೊಬೇಡಿ ಆಂಟಿ. ಈ ಕೆಳಗಿನ ಚಿತ್ರ ನೋಡಿ. ಭೂಮಿ ಇರೋದು ಸೂರ್ಯನ ಬಲಭಾಗಕ್ಕೆ. ಶನಿ ಇರೋದು ಎಡ ಭಾಗಕ್ಕೆ. ಭೂಮಿಯಿಂದ ಸೂರ್ಯನ ಕಡೆ ಒಂದು ರೇಖೆ ಎಳೆದು ಅದನ್ನೇ ಇನ್ನೂ ಉದ್ದ ಮಾಡ್ತ ಹೋದ್ರೆ ನಮಗೆ ಶನಿ ಸಿಗತ್ತೆ. ಅಲ್ಲಿಂದ ಮುಂದೆ Sagittarius ಅಂದ್ರೆ ಧನುರ್ ರಾಶಿ ಸಿಗತ್ತೆ. ಅದಕ್ಕೇ ಸೂರ್ಯ ಮತ್ತು ಶನಿ ಭೂಮಿಯಿಂದ ನೋಡಕ್ಕೆ ಧನು ರಾಶಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಒಟ್ಟಿಗೆ ಕಾಣ್ತಿರೋದು. ವಾಸ್ತವದಲ್ಲಿ ಸೂರ್ಯನಿಗೂ ಶನಿಗೂ ಇರೋ ದೂರ ೧೫೦೫ ದಶಲಕ್ಷ ಕಿಲೋ ಮೀಟರುಗಳು. ಹಾಗೆ ನೋಡಕ್ಕೆ ಹೋದ್ರೆ ನಮ್ಮ ಭೂಮಿನೇ ಸೂರ್ಯನಿಗೆ ಹತ್ತಿರ ಇರೋದು (೧೫೦ ದಶಲಕ್ಷ ಕಿಲೋ ಮೀಟರು).

ಅಂದಹಾಗೇ ಸೂರ್ಯ ಮತ್ತು ಶನಿ ಒಂದೇ ಮನೇಲಿರೋದು ಅಪರೂಪದ ವಿಷಯ ಏನಲ್ಲ. ಪ್ರತಿ ವರ್ಷ ಒಂದು ತಿಂಗಳು ಸೂರ್ಯ ಶನಿಯ ಮನೆಯಲ್ಲೇ ಇರ್ತಾನೆ.

ಆಂಟಿ: ಹಾಗಾದ್ರೆ ಸರಿ ಬಿಡಪ್ಪ. ಒಟ್ಟ್ನಲ್ಲಿ ನಾಳೆ ಏನೂ ಗಂಡಾಂತರ ಅಂತೂ ಇಲ್ಲ. ಸದ್ಯ, ನಾಳೆ ಲಾಫಿಂಗ್ ಕ್ಲಾಸ್ ಕ್ಯಾನ್ಸಲ್ ಅಂತೂ ಆಗಲ್ಲ. ಆರಾಮಾಗಿ ಪುಟ್ಟ ಗೌರಿ ಮದುವೆ, ಅಗ್ನಿಸಾಕ್ಷಿ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಡಿಸ್ಕಸ್ ಮಾಡಬಹುದು….

(ಮುಂದಿನ ದಿನ)

ನಾನು (ಬಸ್ ನಲ್ಲಿ ಕುಳಿತು): ಇವತ್ತ್ಯಾಕೆ ಇಷ್ಟೊಂದು ಟ್ರಾಫಿಕ್ ಇದೆ? ೩ ಗಂಟೆಯಿಂದ ಬಸ್ ಮುಂದೇನೇ ಹೋಗ್ತಿಲ್ವಲ್ಲ?

ಪಕ್ಕದಲ್ಲಿದ್ದವರು: ಥೂ, ಅದೇನೋ ವೈಟ್ ಟಾಪಿಂಗ್ ಅಂತೆ. ರಿಂಗ್ ರೋಡ್ ಫುಲ್ ಜಾಮ್. ಇವತ್ತು ನಾವು ಮನೆಗೆ ಹೋಗೋದು ಡೌಟೇ. ಒಳ್ಳೆ ಶನಿ ಕಾಟ ಆಯ್ತು ಇದು…

ನಾನು: 😮

Geminids 2017 – updates

I just came back from Koratagere after watching the Geminid meteor showers. What an awesome night it was!

We reached the place quite late by 11pm. The sky was completely clear. This place is a usual adda for us for Astrophotography. The show had already begun. As soon as we reached, we started seeing meteors in every direction. Every minute, we would see at least one meteor. Around midnight, we saw a huge fireball. It started at zenith and extended till Western horizon. It broke into many smaller pieces as it burned and left a smoke trail that lasted a few seconds. Just after that, we saw several big meteors. One of them got captured in the image below. Totally, we saw more than 100 meteors that night.

The second image in this blog post is rather strange. The object in the image is curved. I don’t know whether it is a strange meteor or a firefly… The debate is still on… If you have any ideas about the image, please comment on this post.


Geminid meteor shower 2017

If you have gone camping to a location with no lights and if you have stared at the sky, you might have seen shooting stars. Shooting stars are objects in the sky that appear out of nowhere, move very fast in the sky and then disappear… The scientific name for these is meteors. Meteors are sand grain sized particles in space which get attracted by the earth’s gravitational force, enter the atmosphere and burn due to friction with air…

On certain nights, you can see tens or even hundreds of meteors. These are called meteor showers. Although the meteors can be seen all around the sky, if you trace back the direction of the meteors, they would seem to originate from a point in the sky. The meteor showers are named based on these origin points.

The best meteor showers are Perseids and Geminids. Perseids occur in Aug which is the peak rainy season in India. But Geminid meteor showers occur in December giving us a very good chance to see the meteors in hundreds. On a particular Geminid night in 2011, I saw over 300 meteors. Every other minute, we would see a meteor. Some of them would burn in the sky for over 5 seconds. Some of them would leave smoke trails behind. Some of them would appear distinctly yellow or green. If for every shooting star, you got one wish, you would run out of wishes in no time!

Geminids, as the name suggests, appear to originate from the constellation of Gemini. The origin point is called the radiant. The Geminids are caused by an object called 3200 Phaethon, which leaves behind a debris of small particles as it moves around the sun. When the earth mives through this trail of particles, they get attracted by earth’s gravity, accelerate in earth’s atmosphere and disintegrate at the height of about 38km in the atmosphere.

This year, the Geminids can be seen on Dec13th and Dec 14th nights. To see the meteor showers, you need to be in a dark location like a village away from city light, sit on an easy chair or sleep on the ground and enjoy the show. Don’t forget to carry warm clothing and your favorite snack. If you want to photograph Geminids, get the widest and fastest lens you have, point the camera at the sky and click a lot of long exposures. If you are lucky, the meteors will register in some of the photographs.

The image below was captured in 2011 with a canon 450D and tokina 11-16 lens. I clicked about 200 long exposure images. Out of them, 20 images had registered meteors. I stacked all 20 of them and I got this image. Observe that all the meteors (except one) look like they are radiating from a single point close to the stars Castor and Pollux close the bottom center of the image.

ಒರಾಯನ್ ನಲ್ಲಿ ಒಂದು ತಾರೆಗಳ ಬುಗ್ಗೆ

ಇರುಳಿನ ಆಕಾಶದಲ್ಲಿ ಪ್ರಮುಖವಾಗಿ ಕಾಣುವ ನಕ್ಷತ್ರಪುಂಜ ಒರಾಯನ್. ಚಳಿಗಾಲದ ತಿಂಗಳುಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ರಾತ್ರಿಯಿಡೀ ಕಾಣುವ ಈ ನಕ್ಷತ್ರಪುಂಜವನ್ನು ಹುಡುಕುವುದು ಬಲು ಸುಲಭ. ಒರಾಯನ್ ಇರುಳಿನ ಆಕಾಶದಲ್ಲಿ ಅಲೆಯುತ್ತಿರುವ ಮಹಾವ್ಯಾಧ. ಒಂದು ಕೈಯಲ್ಲಿ ಬಿಲ್ಲು, ಇನ್ನೊಂದರಲ್ಲಿ ಬಾಣ, ಸೊಂಟದ ಪಟ್ಟಿ ಮತ್ತು ತೂಗುತ್ತಿರುವ ಕತ್ತಿ ಅವನ ಲಕ್ಷಣಗಳು.

ಒರಾಯನ್ ನಮ್ಮ ಗೆಲಾಕ್ಸಿ ಆಕಾಶಗಂಗೆಯ ಪಟ್ಟೆಯ ಒಂದು ಭಾಗ. ಅನೇಕ ಅಗೋಚರ ನೀಹಾರಿಕೆಗಳ ತವರು. ಈ ನೀಹಾರಿಕೆಗಳು ಕ್ಷೀಣವಾಗಿ ಹೊಳೆಯುವ ಜಲಜನಕದಿಂದ ಮಾಡಲ್ಪಟ್ಟಿವೆ. ಈ ಜಲಜನಕದ ಮೋಡಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಅನೇಕ ನಕ್ಷತ್ರಗಳು ಹುಟ್ಟುತ್ತಿವೆ. ಗ್ರಹಗಳನ್ನು ಹೊಂದಿರುವ ಅನೇಕ ಸೌರವ್ಯೂಹಗಳು ರೂಪುಗೊಳ್ಳುತ್ತಿವೆ.

ಈ ಕೆಳಗಿನ ಚಿತ್ರ ಒರಾಯನ್ ನೀಹಾರಿಕೆಯದ್ದು. ಬೈನಾಕ್ಯುಲರಿಂದ ಒರಾಯನನ ಕತ್ತಿಯ ಭಾಗವನ್ನು ನೋಡಿದರೆ ಈ ನೀಹಾರಿಕೆಯನ್ನು ನೋಡಬಹುದು. ಇದು ಕತ್ತಲೆಯ ಪ್ರದೇಶಗಳಿಂದ ಬರಿಗಣ್ಣಿಗೂ ಕಾಣುವ ನೆಬುಲಾ.

ಈ ಚಿತ್ರ ತೆಗೆಯಲು ಉಪಯೋಗಿಸಿದ್ದು ಸ್ಕೈ ವಾಚರ್ ದೂರದರ್ಶಕ, ಕೆನಾನ್ 6ಡಿ ಕ್ಯಾಮೆರಾ. ನೆಬುಲಾದ ಅನೇಕ ಚಿತ್ರಗಳನ್ನು ತೆಗೆದು, ವೈಜ್ಞಾನಿಕವಾಗಿ ಒಗ್ಗೂಡಿಸಿ ಮಾಡಲ್ಪಟ್ಟಿರುವ ಚಿತ್ರ. ಈ ಚಿತ್ರದಲ್ಲಿ ಕಾಣುವ ಗುಲಾಬಿ ಬಣ್ಣ ಜಲಜನಕದ್ದು. ನೀಲಿ ಬಣ್ಣ ಹೊಸ ನಕ್ಷತ್ರಗಳ ಬೆಳಕು ಸುತ್ತುವರೆದಿರುವ ಧೂಳಿನಿಂದ ಚದುರಲ್ಪಟ್ಟಿರುವುದರಂದ ಉಂಟಾದದ್ದು. ಕಂದು ಬಣ್ಣ ಸುತ್ತುವರೆದಿರುವ ಧೂಳಿನದ್ದು. ನೆಬುಲಾ ಮಧ್ಯದಲ್ಲಿ ಅನೇಕ ಹೊಸ ನಕ್ಷತ್ರಗಳನ್ನು ಕಾಣಬಹುದು. ಈ ಹಸುಗೂಸು ನಕ್ಷತ್ರಗಳ ವಯಸ್ಸು ಕೇವಲ 3 ಲಕ್ಷ ವರ್ಷಗಳು (ಹೋಲಿಕೆಗೆ ನಮ್ಮ ಮಧ್ಯವಯಸ್ಕ ನಕ್ಷತ್ರ ಸೂರ್ಯನ ವಯಸ್ಸು ೪೫೦ ಕೋಟಿ ವರ್ಷಗಳು).