Category Archives: How the Love Story Started

Global Star Party

28 April 2012


Be sure to reserve Saturday, April 28th, for GAM’s ultimate observing event: the Global Star Party.  Of course, it’s B.Y.O.T. – Bring Your Own Telescope – but encourage even those who don’t have one to come anyway. All are invited, all will be excited.  It is amazing that when we turn our gaze upward all religious, national, cultural and political barriers fade into the darkness.  April 28th is the time to come out under the stars, bridge gaps across the seas, and join your brother and sister skywatchers in proving that the world is, in fact, “One People, One Sky.”

 

Start Early and Follow Up
Not just the 28th, of course, but the whole month of April is dedicated to the science, art, and culture of astronomy, so plan to take your hobby to the streets as often as you can.  Club members need to “divide and conquer” their community on every corner. Get events scheduled and supported by your community’s science centers, planetariums, and science museums.  Spearhead new ways of outreach to convalescent hospitals, rest homes, military bases, busy sections of town, and libraries.  Be ready to accommodate handicapped visitors to your scopes, including those in wheel chairs.  Be on top of your game with lectures, presentations, exhibits, telescope demonstrations, handouts, and star charts—and be ready to dazzle them with fun facts (not boring ones) about the objects you have captured in your eyepiece.


Begin with the Sun
You can build momentum by scheduling events not just in the evening but during the day as well.  Spark interest in our number one star, the Sun, by planning an Astronomy Day at the park with picnic.  And, of course, invite all your daytime guests to your Global Star Party in the evening.  Contact your local observatory—they may be happy to work with you to have a big, all-day astronomy event on their grounds.


Publicize Your Events

But the public won’t know about your Global Star Party unless you get the word out.  Local weekly newspapers are very receptive to running news items about events like this, and if you can give them a well-written story that has a catchy news angle in it, you may get not just a small announcement but a feature article.  Also, if your city or town has a public radio station, they will likely be happy to announce your event—perhaps including an interview with you.


Use Your Creativity
Other than the set date—Saturday, April 28th local time—there is no formal agenda.  Amateur astronomers have proven to be incredibly creative when organizing events, so we encourage you to show us what you can do!  We do, however, encourage everyone to expand the time beyond the regular evening events—starting early with solar activities and continuing until late evening.
Everyone should choose the activities that fit their community and personal preference.  We are encouraging everyone to think in new directions and try new methods of outreach, but want everyone to be comfortable in their choice of events.
Be sure to register you event with AWB online and to come back afterwards and fill out your event reports and post your photos.  We all want to see what our friends around the world are doing!

Some Program Idea

  • Visit a military base, retirement hotel, or children’s hospital and give those able a chance to see the Universe up close.
  • Have a club member dress up as a famous astronomer from history.
  • Find ways to attract attention – your own version of 100HA’s Camel Cart!
  • Use our resources page to get the materials to accommodate the seeing impaired.
  • Host “How Telescopes Work” demonstrations and put your ATM guys to work with mirror grinding demos and use some of that extra glass to let the public try.
  • Hold events outside of art galleries or musical events.
  • Surround a shopping mall or city park with telescopes at every corner or entrance.
  • Hold astropoetry events, such as a public poetry reading at a library.
  • Get a local scout or school group to assist at your star party—have the youngsters ask questions, provide information, and even help run the scope.
  • Have an “artists table” set up so that younger observers can make and take their own souvenirs of the event.
  • Work with a local library to have book displays set up near the telescope so that people can learn more.
  • Work with another club in a different country and set up an internet connection so that those attending your event can connect with others doing the same thing at the same time in a different part of the world.
  • Live-stream your event on Ustream.

 

Share your Star Party experience with us:

Share your Global Star Party images with us via GAM2012 Facebook or Flickr group or Tweet using #GAM2012 hashtag (@gam_awb). Don’t forget to register your events here.

 

Big Bigger Biggest Small Smaller Smallest

Credits: IMAX movie Cosmic Voyage

Credits : POWERS OF TEN © 1977 EAMES OFFICE LLC

Which is better? I am not saying about the  age-old visual quality or the Morgan Freeman’s low sound quality, but about the clarity of  explanation. I prefer the latter.

If you want the mind blowing experience of How BIG is Big and How SMALL is small,  then just visit this one, it’s the updated version.

P.S: Sometimes I ask myself : What are you doing here?

Astronomy Outreach for dummies

 

Back to the class after one of my efforts to the first unofficial Astronomy Outreach with the students. I started the class with

“ So my students I gave you a homework to do last time I came to your class.” (Eyebrows-up as expecting them to answer).  And so they did answer

“ Yeah, you told us to look  at the sky at night.”

(Previously, after an hour lecture, I told them to just appreciate the night sky, and it could  be  rather done accompanied)

Aa.. distance la moonu moonu
Moonu colour-u white.
White-u background night night-u
Night-u coloru black-u

Now the rantings started.

Hunhhahaha..
Super maama ready..
Ready.. one..e.. two.o.. three.. four.

One : “Ayyo, I spent an hour outside and didn’t find anything.”

Two: “Me also, you told us to see the stars but there are so many.”

Three: “I was looking above at the sky and didn’t find anything. I was tired and went inside.”

Why this kolaveri kolaveri kolaveri di

So, to start there is so much too see at the sky but only there should be a guide to explain where to start ‘cause at the night the stars are all over but where to find each one of them is the real thing.

On a real dark night you can find from  1500 to  2000 stars on the sky. So where to start?

You start here or here.

If I give you a world map with all the countries on them but without the markings and the country names and assuming you never saw a map in your life. Could you identify where China or India is? What about tiny Mauritius

But now if I give you a map of the world with the naming and markings then assuming you are still the same dumber who strangely has never seen a map but knows a bit of English. So now could you find United States of America?

Though with some difficulty I think you could do it.

And now if I give you the same task but give you a search option to look for a country on a digital map, say for example a google map. Then what you think could you find it more easily .

You would obviously say

“YEAAAAh”

Similarly, the night sky is the same . The night sky is like a map. You should know the bigger countries where they are placed at first and then with time you would know where tiny looking Mauritius is.

Stars in the night tend to attach themselves together to form clusters. Ah! That is why we say “A cluster of stars”. But we rather know them as constellations. So these constellations group themselves in the night sky just like big countries like Australia, India, United States etc.

And when you look at them you know where they are.

Now, you are given a Star map with the names on it, obviously you would not find France , Brazil, Saudi Arabia or countries like that but rather, Orion, Auriga, Perseus, or Gemini. And you don’t know what the hell is that, but you go outside with a star map and start looking at the stars. You would return to your room with the expression WTF?

Do you get the WTF expression?

But, the thing is it starts becoming interesting when you identify your first country. Once you get that, you have jumped on to your ride to the Universe. Believe me it’s the most exciting thing.

So, for example you find the Orion’s belt. From here you can find almost all the countries “constellations” of your star map. Try not to do it all in one go.  Go step by step.  You would have to use the technique known as Starhopping.

But my advice would be to go by identifying the borders of your identified countries so that you will be able to find your next constellation. But in this process. You will have to know the stars too.

So, you will come to a point that you will be able to identify the stars within a constellation. Don’t panic there won’t be a thousand stars in a constellation but only a few.

Take it just as major cities in a country, like India has Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkota and Chennai. So, in Taurus which is near to Orion you would find, Aldebaran, Elnath, fainter than Aldebaran  or even The Pleiades.

Now to the next step, you are a smart guy, you don’t like being like the oldies, like taking your map and going outside and fumbling with it and looking weird. (You already are weird when you’re just looking at the sky specially at night. Onlookers get the impression as if you are looking for UFO’s. I am going through this) You are the techie guy. Though old school always proves itself to be the best one.

So for you, there is a great solution too. Stellarium.  Ah! this is the best piece of software ever created for Mankind. I love it.So you for example don’t know where to look. Start here on Stellarium. Take your laptop outside and now you will be able to surf around the sky in a few minutes.

With Stellarium you just type in the search “Orion”.

And

 

On your screen behold! Orion appears

 

And now your want to starhop , want to surf around, want to learn the constellations, you can practically do everything.

Moreover, You can zooooooooooom , that is you can enlarge the stars with your mouse scroll to have a look on each star. And with the magnification you appreciate the hugeness of each Individual star.

So, I think this ends the lesson here on how to start seeing the sky. I think I should go out  now to have my eyes on  the night sky to see what’s up.

P.S: In our part of the world we always see the hunter upside down in comparison to the Northern Hemisphere. I think the greeks never visited down here.

My First Observation

Rather would like to call it My First Night SKY gazing

Forgetting my new pair of binocs was not something willed upon but New Year 2012 was approaching and as the hump-jump was everywhere, the sky was absolutely something to be forgotten about.

Do, you think the sky can be just something taken for granted and not taken care about? Obviously, for the half of my life I had never taken any interest with the sky, nor does the mass of dumbed down populace.

So why this sudden rush to understand the sky now??

The sky has been always there, neither it is so “enchanting” nor “magnetic” but our eyes are so riveted to our laptop screens or our TV sets that we have almost no time to care for what’s happening above us. Or, to just even ponder about a sky so beautiful with all its mysteries there waiting to be explored upon.

The creation of the heavens and the earth is indeed greater than the creation of mankind; yet, most of mankind knows not.

(Quran 40:57)

At 12:00 a.m midnight, around the world as it is, the festivities started with the fire works show.

In Mauritius, at the peak of the Signal Mountain this fireworks time-lapse was taken.

Unbelievingly, by one in the morning of January 2012, everything quietened up. The night was still.  No stirring up of even the leaves on trees around.

I am still thinking why did I go out that night rather than sleep?

So, my first observation did happen on 01/01/2012. How do I remember this? I think reading a review somewhere  I  came upon the advice that if you are entering this amateur astronomy hobby, ever if you are observing even for a few minutes , just record the observations. It would help you a lot.

How?

Personally, while reviewing at my log notes in my personal diary, I looked foolish of what I had logged as my first observations, but it was so interesting that an amateur as me brought in my own astronomy definitions on my first time to the already defined observable universe.

Nevertheless, the first observation remains the best and the most memorable.

Perhaps this is why I am so much in love with  Alnitak, Alnilam and Mintaka. These three prominent stars inthe central regions of the constellation of Orion align to form the ‘belt’ of the Hunter.

And surprisingly the whole world is also. Take any beginner’s guide to the sky, they would talk only Orion,Orion, Orion. I didn’t know about Orion or its belt, but perhaps this was a sign from The Creator that this is where you should start your journey to the universe. There is so much I have learned about these three that I am baffled and there is still more to come.

The actual observation

Standing towards the west, I saw this magnificently in front of me.

I continuously looked at this portion of the sky for 2 hrs straight

What I actually wrote as observational notes?

Night gazing: The axe

Naked eye: Concentrated dots

Binocs: Small dots.

01:00 – 03:00 am

I also drew the dots  in a diary.

What makes me foolish looking now is that I called the Orion belt as the axe’s blade and the Orion Nebulae as the axe’s handle.

Hey, if the Greeks can make out Gods out of stars why can’t I make my own Axe?

The Orion Hunter

So, I have already fallen in love with the sky, what are you waiting to raise your eyes to the beautiful night sky?

Rocket Roberts is such a Nerd

Rocket Roberts  is such a Nerd

How can someone be such a nerd to start from a telescope

how Rocket Roberts got his start in Astronomy

to see the night sky as a hobby and then  to build a whole observatory in his backyard. I felt that this is something weird. “All Americans are weirdos”. In our part of the world people don’t become so much weird. But….. I was to be proved WRONG!!!

Actually following the beginners telescope advice I made up my mind that I should obviously have an Orion SkyQuest XT8 Classic Dobsonian Telescope  But later (in the later months of research in the amateur astronomy world)  in my quest to buy my best first  telescope led me to find weirder people in the astronomy field who are not mad about telescopes but OBSESSED about TELESCOPES.

And here  I bumped up on to OBSESSION Telescopes.

Jim-Lowery,-Dragan-Nikin,-Jim-Rippey-560px from http://www.obsessiontelescopes.com/galleries/index.php

But now I have made up my mind to get my first telescope. Though it would be much a hassle as I have to import it. But it would be either the Orion XT8 Classic Dobsonian Telescope,

Orion SkyQuest XT8 Classic Dobsonian Telescope

Orion XT10 Classic Dobsonian Telescope

the Orion XT10 Classic Dobsonian Telescope.

And then one day or the other to have one Obsession Telescope for Life time use. Hope this child wish realises.

How I began observing the sky?

My love story with the sky.
I had not the least understanding of the sky. I just saw stars at night. Sometimes the moon. and what else. They are there so why should i see them. But……………
A very close friend of mine would usually tell me during our conversations that:
A: I want to go the space. I want to fly and go to the space.
B: You are mad. What the hell are you going to do there.
A: (In a pensive mood ) Sometimes when I see the stars I …….  I lose myself in them. As if travelling through them, I go on and on through them.
B: You are just a jerk.

What does a sky with thousands and thousands of stars mean to you?

Such were the conversations each time we would touch the sky subject. But never did it strike me in any manner or so.
To be Continued……..

 

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