13 December 2010

Planets for the Month

Mercury: After reaching greatest elongation on December 1, Mercury will be visible in the western sky after sunset. Planet Mercury will be around 15degrees above western horizon just after sunset. If seen through a telescope, Mercury's crescent phase can be seen. Towards the middle of the month Mercury will be close to Sun and will be very difficult to observe. On 20th of December, Mercury will be in inferiour conjunction with Sun. Mercury will be visible in the morning sky towards the end of the month.




07:15:00 PM


06:46:00 PM


05:34AM (Rise)

Venus: Venus is well placed for observations in the morning sky. Venus will be dominating morning sky with brightness of -4.5magnitude. Venus will be in the constellation of Virgo till middle of December and move to Libra and stay there till the end of the month.




03:32:39 AM


03:24:35 AM


03:18:39 AM

Mars: Mars will be visible in the western just after sunset. As the planet is close to the Sun, it will be difficult to make any detailed observation of the planet.




06:52:05 PM


06:47:51 PM


06:40:49 PM

Jupiter and Uranus: These two planets are well placed for observations as they will be close to Zenith at the time of sunset. Both planets will remain in this favorable position for observations all month.




12:57:07 AM


12:31:36 AM


11:42:21 PM

Saturn: Saturn in now a morning planet. It will be well placed for observation in the later part of the month as it will rise to a comfortable altitude before twilight.




02:17:47 AM


01:52:27 AM


01:04:39 AM

Neptune: Neptune in the constellation of Capricornus is also well placed for observations.




10:58:28 PM


10:31:30 PM


09:41:40 PM

Phases of Moon:

New moon: 05-Dec-2010

First quarter: 13-Dec-2010

Full moon: 21-Dec-2010

Last quarter: 28-Dec-2010

Sun: The Sun will reach its maximum southern declination of 23.5 degrees on 21st December at 23:46UT that will be 5:16am IST on 22nd. This is called winter solstice.

Geminids Meteor Shower:

Geminids Meteor shower will be good this year as Moon will set early around midnight, giving lots of dark skies to observe and photograph the showers. The radiant (the point where the meteor shower originate) lies close to start Castor, alpha Geminorum. The constellation Gemini will rise around 7:30pm and will reach zenith around 1:30am. Maximum will happen on 14th of December, but observation a day before and after is advised for better results.

29 November 2010

27 November 2010

Kalpaneya Yatre 2010

Kalpaneya Yatre 2010 is a first-of-its-kind ten-day astronomy festival for lay audiences, taking place on the grounds of the Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium, Bangalore, during November 26 – December 5, 2010.

Astronomy-based exhibits and models, sky watching, interactive experiments, activity corners, face-to-face interactions with astrophysicists, lectures, films, and art activities by children are among the offerings. The exhibition is in Kannada and English. The festival is an interdisciplinary collaboration between the Bangalore
Association for Science Education, Srishti School of Art, Design and Techonolgy, Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum, Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Indian Space Research Organisation, and Raman Research Institute.

website: kalpaneyayatre.org

The lectures, theatre, film and art events are listed below.

Events at Kalpaneya Yatre:

===================== Public Lectures ========================

26 Nov Yaaminiya Yaatrikaru 3:30pm Vishwanath Palahalli (IIA)

28 Nov Cauldrons of Creation: How Stars Live and die 3:00pm Firoza Sutaria (IIA)

29 Nov Time for a Change: Astronomy & the Indian Calendar 4:00pm TV Venkateswaran (Vigyan Prasar)

30 Nov Stories of Chandrayan 4:00pm Shivakumar (ISTRAC)

1 Dec Planets Across the Universe: the Inhospitable & the Habitable? 3:30pm Rathnasree Nandivada (Delhi Planetarium)

2 Dec The Violent Universe 3:30pm Biman Nath (RRI)

3 Dec The Mysterious Universe 3:30pm G Srinivasan

4 Dec Hrithik, 8-legged Freaks from Space, and Us: The Search for Life in the Cosmos 3:30pm Jayant Murthy (IIA)

==============Art and Astronomy =====================


AWE AND WONDER: An evening with artists and astronomers

27th November 5.30 - 7.30 pm

Artist Rohini Devasher and amateur astronomer Naveen Nanjundappa will
share their work.

Rohini is an artist from Delhi who has exhibited throughout India and internationally. Fascinated by science fiction, she has created a body of work using print media and drawing evoking the bizarre possibilities of life forms based on her research into organic growth patterns. However, about a year ago she made a brave shift in her practice. An
amateur astronomer herself, she decided to investigate her own and other people's fascination with the night sky. She will present her research adventure which took her eclipse chasing to Kerala and to the Himalaya Hanle Observatory but most significantly to the heart of many people's personal connection to the planets and stars which they become familiar with through stargazing.

Naveen is from Bangalore and is Vice-President of the Bangalore Astronomical Society. Like most people in BAS he spends his evenings on his roof observing the night sky and sharing his observations with the BAS community. Besides this, he has for many years found ways to bring huge numbers of other people some sense of where we are in the universe through skywatching activities. These include his colossal '30 Days of Astronomy' project done at virtually no cost and with very little fanfare. He will talk about his own motivations for being an astronomer
and wanting to share telescope observing with others.

City life has tended to disconnect people from astronomical events. Naveen and Rohini will present and then discuss with the audience what it is to be aware of the skies. Afterwards you are invited outside for skywatching and to experience Rohini's sound installation in the Planetarium garden.


Unscientific Storytelling
A multimedia performative presentation of stories from science (50 min)

27th November, 3.30 pm

28th November, 5.30 pm

Lecture Hall 1

Unscientific Storytelling is an interwoven and fragmented narrative of our personal connections to science and the ways it permeates our micro and macrospheres.

The performance broadly explores the role of imagination and inquiry in science education and the role of scientists' biographies in understanding their dialogue with science.

Developed by Gauri Sanghi, Rajasee Ray and Deepak Srinivasan
Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology

*Gauri Sanghi & Rajasee Ray *are students of design at Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology. *Deepak Srinivasan* is an artist, media practitioner, researcher, facilitator.

===================== Film Festival =========================

A Film festival curated by Experimenta Film Society


Space, The Final Frontier (65mins)

1. Jordan Belson ‘Allures’ USA 1961

2. Telenews ‘Trailblazer in Space’ USA 1961 35mm (on DVD) sound b/w 9min

3. Charles & Ray Eames ‘Powers of Ten’ USA 1977 16mm on DVD colour sound

4.Khodataev, Komisarenko & Merkulov ‘Interplanetary Revolution’ Soviet
Russia 1924 DVD b/w silent 8mins

5. Space and India, Films Division documentary India 16mm colour sound


A Wonderful New World (65mins)

1. Ford ‘A Wonderful New World of Fords’ USA 1960

2. Pramod Pati ‘Explorer’ India 1968, 35mm, b/w, sound, 8mins

3. Superstudio ‘Supersurface’ Italy 1972 DVD colour sound 8mins

4. Neil Beloufa 'Kempinski' France 2007 miniDV colour sound 13.58mins

5. Mika Taanila ‘Futuro - a new stance for tomorrow’ Finland/Suomi 1998


‘Om Dar-B-Dar’ (101mins) **

Kamal Swaroop’s ‘Om Dar-B-Dar’ India 1988 35mm Sound Colour 101 mins Hindi

Om-Dar-Ba-Dar is a fantastical portrait of life in a mythical small town. Om is involved in science, but is also attracted to magic and religion. Above all it seems as if his only outstanding skill is his ability to hold his breath underwater for a long time.

** The filmmaker Kamal Swaroop will be present at the screening.

18 November 2010

Antimatter trapped by LHC

Scientists at LHC claim to have trapped a large number of anti-hydrogen atoms that too with a long life (read the article to know how many were trapped and how long they lived!)

The discovery has to potential to lead us to a better understanding of the world we live in . . . and just how everything we know of was created!!


15 November 2010

Green Laser - something to know

Many of us use the green laser as a very useful tool in star parties and in teaching newbies to learn the constellations. But there are certain things one should know about the dangers involved with this useful "toy". Here is an informative link:


Let us take care to use this useful instrument safely!

09 November 2010

Updates on comet Ikeya-Mukarami

All eyes are now on the newly found comet Ikeya-Mukarami (C/2010 V1).
The comet is now located in Virgo and is shining with a brightness of Mag 9 (which means it will be visible through telescopes and not be visible to the naked eye). It currently has a 3' coma (about 1/10th the size of the full moon).

The most recently available orbit indicates that the comet has already passed perihelion, and is just now emerging into the morning sky following conjunction with the sun. It spends the next several months climbing higher into the morning sky, until it reaches opposition at the end of May 2011. A "normal" brightness behavior would suggest that the comet could be visually detectable for a long time, fading only to about 11th magnitude by the time it is at opposition.

There is, however, more and more evidence that indicates the comet has recently undergone an outburst. Observer Alan Hale notes that on November 8 it appeared about half a magnitude fainter, and was distinctly less condensed, than it was on the 4th.

It is thus somewhat likely that it might fade away fairly quickly. Because the comet is traveling in a low-inclination direct orbit it is also possible that it is a short-period object, and if that turns out to be true it is conceivable that it might be found identical to some comet observed in the past.

The comet is currently located just over a degree south of Saturn. According to latest orbital elements, here are the predictions:

Its elongation will slowly increase over the coming days.
It will travel to the east-southeast through Virgo
It will pass some two degrees northeast of the bright star Spica by third week of November.
It crosses into Libra shortly after mid-December and then into northern Scorpius during the latter part of January 2011.
It will reach its stationary point in early April
It will reach Opposition by end of May.

A "normal" brightness behavior would suggest only a half-magnitude or so of fading from its present brightness by the end of 2010 and a still relatively bright 11th magnitude when the comet is near opposition, however the outburst scenario that is starting to look increasingly likely suggests a fairly rapid fading during the coming weeks, and it may well be beyond the range of visual detectability by the end of this year.

Here are some pics of this fresh comet...

The comet:


A short video of the evolution of the comet over the last few days:

More info on the comet here:


06 November 2010

Sky charts for C/2010 V1 (Ikeya-Murakami) comet

Here are few approximate reference sky charts for the spotting comet C/2010 V1 (Ikeya-Murakami). As the comet is bright, just scan the area shown in the sky charts, and comet should be in the field. Hope for clear skies. The comet can be spotted with binoculars or telescope in the early morning, in the constellation of Virgo. Charts are below rise times of comet C/2010 V1 (Ikeya-Murakami)

Date: Rise(IST)

08 Nov 2010: 03:58:35

09 Nov 2010: 03:57:30

10 Nov 2010: 03:56:24

11 Nov 2010: 03:55:18

12 Nov 2010: 03:54:12

13 Nov 2010: 03:53:05

14 Nov 2010: 03:51:57

15 Nov 2010: 03:50:50

16 Nov 2010: 03:49:42

17 Nov 2010: 03:48:33

18 Nov 2010: 03:47:24

19 Nov 2010: 03:46:15

20 Nov 2010: 03:45:05

21 Nov 2010: 03:43:55

22 Nov 2010: 03:42:44

23 Nov 2010: 03:41:33

24 Nov 2010: 03:40:22

25 Nov 2010: 03:39:10

26 Nov 2010: 03:37:57

27 Nov 2010: 03:36:44

28 Nov 2010: 03:35:31

29 Nov 2010: 03:34:17

30 Nov 2010: 03:33:02

C/2010 V1 (Ikeya-Murakami) on Nov 8

C/2010 V1 (Ikeya-Murakami) on Nov 11th

C/2010 V1 (Ikeya-Murakami) on Nov 16th

C/2010 V1 (Ikeya-Murakami) on Nov 19th

C/2010 V1 (Ikeya-Murakami) Nov 23rd

C/2010 V1 (Ikeya-Murakami) Nov 27th

05 November 2010

New comet sighted using the good old technique - for a change!

This is an astroalert from Sky & Telescope. If sky is clear in the next couple of days those with binocs/small scopes should be able to spot this. Though it won't be an exciting sight, worth trying!!



Two observers in Japan have independently spotted an 8th-magnitude comet, low in the eastern sky just before before dawn. Kaoru Ikeya spotted the comet with his 25-cm (10-inch) reflector at 39x, while Shigeki Murakami used a 46-cm (18-inch) reflector at 78x, as reported in IAU Circular 9175 of November 3rd from the Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams (CBAT),.

What's truly astonishing is that both Ikeya and Murakami did it the old-fashioned way: by looking into the eyepiece of a telescope! Use of the time-honored technique has become a rarity in this age of powerful professional surveys and digital imaging techniques.

Brian G. Marsden (Minor Planet Center) has calculated a preliminary orbit for the comet, which is officially designated C/2010 V1. It is moving in a parabolic orbit and is just past perihelion, at 1.7 astronomical units from the Sun (that is, well outside the orbit of Mars). So while this comet won't be getting any brighter in the coming weeks, it should stay within reach of binoculars as it moves slowly southeastward across Virgo. On November 4th, J. J. Gonzales in Spain and Carl Hergenrother in Arizona called it roughly magnitude 7.5 in their binoculars, while Alan Hale in New Mexico put it at 9.0. To all three observers, it resembled a fuzzy round glow with no tail.

The following ephemeris gives the comet's coordinates (equinox 2000.0) at 0 hours Universal Time on selected dates and its angular elongation from the Sun.

Comet Ikeya-Murakami


2010 R. A.

h m Dec.

o ' Elong.


Nov. 5 12 38.0 -02 26 32.6

Nov. 7 12 43.1 -03 06 33.2

Nov. 9 12 48.2 -03 47 33.8

Nov. 11 12 53.3 -04 27 34.4

Nov. 13 12 58.3 -05 06 35.0

Nov. 15 13 03.4 -05 46 35.6

Be sure to check the online version of this AstroAlert on Sky & Telescope's website for updates when the orbit is improved:


Also stay tuned to our website's observing highlights. Good luck, and clear skies!

Roger W. Sinnott

Senior Contributing Editor

Sky & Telescope

01 November 2010

Planets for the Month

Mercury: Mercury will be close to the Sun in the western horizon and its only after 15th of November that Mercury will be little easy to detect in the evening sky after sunset.

On 20th Mercury will be 1degree and 40 minutes of red planet Mars. The planet Mars will be north east of Mercury.




06:25:00 PM


06:43:00 PM


07:03:00 PM

Venus: Venus will be in a good altitude to observe from second week of November. In the constellation of Virgo Venus will be in thin crescent phase and towards the end of the month, about 20 percent of the planet will be illuminated.




05:51:00 AM


04:53:00 AM


04:10:00 AM

Mars: Mars will be visible in the western just after sunset. As the planet is close to the Sun, it will be difficult to make any detailed observation of the planet.




07:22:00 PM


07:12:00 PM


07:02:00 PM

Jupiter and Uranus: These two planets are well placed for observations as they will be close to Zenith at the time of sunset. Both planets will remain in this favorable position for observations all month.

Saturn: Saturn in now a morning planet. It will be well placed for observation in the later part of the month as it will rise to a comfortable altitude before twilight.




04:24:00 AM


03:49:00 AM


03:14:00 AM

Neptune: Neptune in the constellation of Capricornus is also well placed for observations.




01:22:00 AM


12:43:00 AM


12:04:00 AM

Phases of Moon:

New moon: 06/11/10

First quarter: 13/11/10

Full moon: 21/11/10

Last quarter: 28/11/10

Sun: The Sun will be in the constellation of Libra most part of the month and will move to Scorpio at the end of the month.

Leonids Meteor Shower:

This year there is some good news and little bad news regarding the Leonids shower. First the good news, the Maximum of the Leonids this year will happen at 2:45am IST on 18th November, making it a high probability of observing large number of meteors. Little bad news is that Moon will be at the western horizon, Moon will be close to Full phase and on 18th it will be bright with 85 percent illuminated, it will set at 3:15am. For best results its best to observe on 17th to 19th . Leo will rise at 12am.

20 September 2010

First light of ATM workshop telescope

It was a nice evening at ABAA on Sunday 19th, as the first telescope of this year's ATM workshop saw the first light. The 6 inch telescope mirror was ground and polished by ATM workshop participant Amrutha. The skies were pretty decent, as shiva prasad described it, with very little haze. Later the haze also cleared. The First object the telescope observed was Moon, in gibbous stage. Members and ATM participants enjoyed observing moon's surface and few photos were taken, thanks to Anita and her iPhone 3GS.

Next was the giant planet Jupiter. Witnessing the transit of IO on the surface of Jupiter and wonderful sight of emergence of IO was a good experience.

Congratulations to Amrutha for completing the telescope. In coming couple of Sundays all the telescope will see the first light.

Moon taken through Amrutha's telescope with 9mm eyepiece. Camera is Anita's iPhone 3GS.

Another pic of Moon taken through Amrutha's telescope again with 25mm eyepiece. Camera is Anita's iPhone 3GS.

Vinay trying to photograph Moon with his mobile phone. Anita and Shiva waiting to see the result.

17 September 2010

Mercury greatest Western elongation

On Sunday 19th, the planet Mercury will reach Greatest Western elongation. It is called Western elongation because the planet will be west of Sun, although we will be seeing the planet in Eastern horizon. Maximum angular separation of Mercury from the Sun will be 18degrees. As Mercury will be low in the horizon, clear horizon is essential. Mercury will rise at 5am and will reach little comfortable viewing altitude of 12 degrees at 5:50am.

Sun will rise at 6:08am on Sunday.

06 September 2010

Aluminized Mirrors

First set of mirrors from the on going ATM workshop are now aluminized and was brought to ABAA on Sunday evening.
Here are few photos of the Aluminized mirrors.

Jayanth, President of ABAA checking the Aluminized surface.

Mirrors in the Box

All mirrors now waiting to be assembled.

Teachers from Namma shale, Jayanth and Viji(from right to left), Jayanth explaining the process.

03 September 2010

Planets for the Month


Mercury will reach inferior conjunction on September 3rd. It will be lost in the Sun's glare in the first week of September. During second week, Mercury will be too close to eastern horizon at around 8 degrees at 6am. After 15th the planet Mercury will be little easy to spot if there is a clear horizon. Mercury will reach greatest elongation on 19th September, the angular separation from the Sun will be 18degrees. Mercury will be in the constellation of Leo all month.



1st Sep

06:35:00 AM

8th Sep

05:35:00 AM

15th Sep

05:02:00 AM

22nd Sep

04:59:00 AM

29th Sep

05:15:00 AM


Venus will continue to dominate the evening western sky all this month. On 11th September, Venus and crescent Moon will be close to each other at a separation of just 1 degree.



1st Sep

08:53:00 PM

8th Sep

08:43:00 PM

15th Sep

08:31:00 PM

22nd Sep

08:16:00 PM

29th Sep

07:57:00 PM

Venus and Mars


The red planet will be in the constellation of Virgo all month. Mars can be spotted in the western sky evening sky 6 degrees north of Venus.



1st Sep

08:50:00 PM

8th Sep

08:38:00 PM

15th Sep

08:26:00 PM

22nd Sep

08:15:00 PM

29th Sep

08:04:00 PM


Jupiter is well placed for observations as it rises early in the evening. The giant planet will the brightest “star” in the region at -2.5 magnitude.

On 19th September, Jupiter and Uranus will be close each other at an angular separation of 48 minutes of arc. An 8 inch f/8 telescope with 32mm eyepiece will show the giant planet and Uranus in single field.

Jupiter will reach opposition on September 21st , this means, the planet Jupiter, Earth and the Sun will be the straight line. As a result, Jupiter will rise as the Sun sets, giving observers chance to study the planet all night.



1st Sep

07:41:39 PM

8th Sep

07:11:24 PM

15th Sep

06:40:56 PM

22nd Sep

06:10:22 PM

29th Sep

05:39:48 PM

Field in binocular


Saturn, now low in the western horizon is getting difficult to spot. In the constellation of Virgo, the planet Saturn will be lost in the Sun's glare towards the end of the month.



1st Sep

07:58:32 PM

8th Sep

07:33:42 PM

15th Sep

07:08:56 PM

22nd Sep

06:44:14 PM

29th Sep

06:19:33 PM


Uranus can be easily be seen through a 10X50 binoculars. Now its easier as Jupiter can be taken as reference. Pick up the binoculars and point it towards Jupiter and keep the Jupiter at the center of field. Just 1 degrees west to Jupiter you will find 5.7th magnitude Uranus.

Uranus will also reaches opposition on 21st of September, same day as Jupiter.



1st Sep

07:34:44 PM

8th Sep

07:06:20 PM

22nd Sep

06:09:28 PM

29th Sep

05:41:02 PM


Neptune will be in the constellation of Capricornus in the month of August. Planet Neptune can be found at 4 degrees NE of delta Capricorni. Neptune is at magnitude of 7.8. Neptune will be just 1 degree NE of mu Capricorni



1st Sep

05:44:39 PM

8th Sep

05:16:30 PM

15th Sep

04:48:22 PM

22nd Sep

04:20:17 PM

29th Sep

03:52:15 PM


Pluto still is in the rich star field of constellation Sagittarius at 14th Magnitude.

Phases of Moon:

New moon: 08 Sep 2010

First quarter: 15 Sep 2010

Full moon: 23 Sep 2010

Last quarter: 01 Oct 2010


Sun will be in the constellation of Leo till middle of September and move to Virgo.


On 23rd September at approximately 8:40am the Sun reaches RA of 12h and Dec of 0 degress, this is Autumnal Equinox. This point is also called as First point of Libra.