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Moon and the Parachute Conjunction

There is so much blabbering about Conjunctions nowadays in the astronomy field that I thought my contribution should be there too. During mid-march 2012 you would hear about the Jupiter Venus conjunction, then at the end of the month came the Moon, Jupiter and Venus conjunction. And nowadays  Venus and Pleiades conjunction are making the headlines. (Hope I’ll be posting on these conjunctions) But I am here today with my moon parachute conjunction.

A few days back I went biking after a long pause.  But I didn’t even think that  I would  get this exquisite view of this “conjunction”. After a ride you just want to take a pause, but if you see something remarkable, you just forget the tire-some ride. I had to fumble around quickly for my mobile to take these shots.

 

What seemed peculiar about these parachutes (there were two) were that they were motor driven. I don’t even know what they are called ? Motorized Parachutes?  Or What?

And where was this?

The view was awesome.  This is the view of the Port Chambly Villas & Hotel at Baie du Tombeau. A man made paradise in a natural paradise.

These photos could be considered as the worst in pixels, but personally I liked them. I am not a photographer, neither  an amateur photographer , but I think I do aspire to do some amateur nature photopraghy and  astrophotography later. ( Hope this realizes in the future.)

However, I would always invite any positive criticism to do  better.

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Eyes on the Sky: Apr 2 thru Apr 8

Eyes on the Sky: Apr 2 thru Apr 8

The planet-spectacular, “Planet-acular”!

There are four (count ’em, four) naked eye planets visible in the evening sky this week, and three of them are near some interesting types of stars.  See Jupiter and Venus in the early evening and Mars and Saturn nearly all night long. A couple of these planets are joined by the Moon, the planets themselves contrast nicely with some spectral class “B” stars, and now is the time to get a jump on the necessary equipment for solar viewing, with the Transit of Venus approaching in early June. There’s good reason to starting thinking about appropriate solar equipment now.  AND… the Moon offers up some “shadowy” treats of it’s own – and many of these sights can be seen in very small telescopes or (sometimes better) with binoculars.  So get outside this coming week and see what’s up!

 

Eyes on the Sky: March 26 thru April 1

The Moon joins Venus in the sky, then Venus joins the Pleiades, and the whole sky looks fantastic by the 28th. Then turn northeast/overhead to the Big Bear, Ursa Major, where 3 sets of stars make tracks in the sky – and not from bearprints, either! The lovely colors of Tania Borealis and Tania Australis are the highlight this week – easily visible in binoculars everywhere, and naked eye from most areas. Also, Mars continues retrograding in Leo towards Regulus and Saturn sidles up to Spica.

Eyes on the Sky : January 2012

Eyes on the Sky: Jan 2 thru Jan 8

All about Auriga

The all-new “Eyes on the Sky” kicks off by focusing on Capella, Auriga, three stellar Messier objects within it, and the Quadrantid meteor shower. Joining the fun is a cameo appearance by none other than Mr. Charles Messier himself! (Did they have film back then? Nah, but this is what makes astronomy fun!) See what’s in the all-new format, as well as what’s ‘up’ in the night sky this week.

Chart 3 : GEMINI, AURIGA, PERSEUS

Eyes on the Sky Jan 9 thru Jan 15

Mars and the Moon

Mars and the Moon take center stage in this week’s video; Mars has increased in size to about 10 arc seconds across recently, and will reach opposition in early March. So now is a good time to start observing the Red Planet to see what details are possible at this less-than-ideal opposition with it. The Moon is our closest celestial neighbor and offers great detail in a small telescope or binoculars, plus it recently acquired interest from two more spacecraft. Find out all about that and more and see what’s ‘up’!

Eyes on the Sky: Jan 16 thru Jan 22

Take a tour through Taurus, Part 1

Take a tour through Taurus (Part 1) by visiting Aldebaran and the Hyades, then set your sights on Saturn and it’s moons as the ringed planet reaches sufficient altitude in the sky by early morning to warrant telescopic viewing. Also covered: Where Venus, Jupiter and Mars can be found in the sky this week.

( I had rather add here that Auriga, Taurus and Orion don’t appear the way as shown by Dave in our skies. They actually appear the other way round.  Orion first, then Taurus and then Auriga. Look for the Orion’s belt, the guide starts there)

Eyes on the Sky: Jan 23 thru Jan 29

Take a tour through Taurus, Part 2

Finishing the tour of Taurus, this week’s “Eyes on the Sky” video focuses on how to find and see the Pleiades and M1, the Crab Nebula.  Light pollution and light trespass avoidance strategies to enhance viewing of dim celestial objects are discussed.  Also highlighted: Jupiter and it’s moons, plus notes on how and where to find Venus, Mars and Saturn this week as well.

Chart 9: TAURUS, ORION, MONOCEROS, LEPUS, CANIS MINOR/MAJOR

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.

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