Event COSMOS @ IIT Kanpur

Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur organises Techkriti,2010 which includes an event COSMOS
which is completely devoted towards Astronomy.COSMOS includes competitions like Star-Hunt,Astro-Quiz in which prizes worth *Rs.15,000* are at stake and workshops like *Telescope Making Workshop*.

*Star-Hunt* *
Each team is required to bring their own telescopes and find the given
objects in the provided STAR LIST( the star list includes planets, prominent
stars, clusters, nebulae and even messier objects).
1st Prize: Rs 5000
2nd Prize : Rs. 4000
3rd Prize : Rs. 3000
Test your knowledge on Astronomy with an on-the spot quiz event and win
Prizes and goodies.

*Telescope Making Workshop*
Telescope Specifications:

Type : Refractor telescope. 45mm objective lens. 750mm Focal Length with
slide-in focus, star diagonal for right-angled viewing and bi-element astro

*The telescope will be powerful enough to show the lunar craters, solar
system objects(Saturn, Jupiter and their moons etc) besides being useful for
Nature study, Bird watching and tourism.

Duration: 4 hours
Date: 13th February 2010
*Registration Fees: Rs 1200 per team.*
Maximum members in a team: 3

For registration, send a mail to cosmos@techkriti. org  the subject "*name
of the workshop or competition interested in"*
*for example: "Star-Hunt" ; "Telescope Making Workshop" in the following
NOTE: for Star Hunt competition, the team is required to bring their OWN

College name and location:
Phone number;
Telescope specification* (in case you are participating in Star Hunt, you
need to provide the specification of the telescope which you plan to bring)
Any prior experience in astronomy events:

For any queries feel free to contact  :
Coordinator, COSMOS
IIT Kanpur.
Cell: 09956817273


Mars in a Nutshell

Mars swings to within 99 million kilometers of our fair planet this week, making its closest approach until 2012. Get your telescope out, or simply look up and gaze at the steady orange-red glow of the Red Planet. It rises in the east in the constellation Cancer just after sunset. You can’t miss it. At magnitude -1.3, Mars almost shines as bright as Sirius, the brightest star in the sky.

The particulars of Red Planet:

Diameter: 3400 km (about 0.53x Earth)
Mass: 6.4 x 10^23 kg (about 0.1x Earth)
Orbital Period: 687 Earth days
Rotation period: 24 hours 37 minutes (a “Mars day” is called a “sol”)
Axial Tilt: 25 degrees (similar to Earth’s 23.5 degrees)
Orbit size: 1.67 astronomical units at aphelion, 1.38 at perihelion (Mars has a highly elliptical orbit; remember the average Earth-sun distance is 1.0 astronomical unit)
Opposition Frequency: Mars is at “opposition” when it’s opposite the sun as seen on Earth, as it is this week. Oppositions occur every 780 days, on average.
Atmospheric composition: 95.7% carbon dioxide, 2.7% nitrogen, 0.2% oxygen)
Surface temperature: -90 C to -5 C, approximately
Satellites: Two natural satellites, Phobos and Diemos; both are likely captured asteroids

While Venus is nearly the same shape and size as the Earth, Mars has a surface that's much more familiar. Mars has broad deserts that look a little light some deserts on Earth. Again somewhat like Earth, Mars has polar caps of frozen water and carbon dioxide which grow and shrink with the planet's seasons. Mars also has a thin atmosphere, which means it has wind and weather and clouds and even massive dust storms that engulf large parts of the planet.

Mars also has a number of large volcanoes, including the immense Olympus Mons which rises 27 km above the surface of the planet, dwarfing Earth's Mount Everest. Unlike Earth, Mars did not develop plate tectonics. That means Martian volcanoes sit permanently over hot-spots in the crust and grower larger over time. Most volcanoes lie on a large, elevated bulging area of the planet's surface called Tharsis, which is six miles high and as large as North America. No one knows for sure what caused this massive bulge.

Unlike Earth, Mars presently has no liquid surface water. But there are large canyons thought to be carved into the surface by ancient flows of liquid water a couple of billion years ago. The largest canyon, Valle Marineris, puts Earth's Grand Canyon to shame. Valle Marineris has a width of 200 km in some parts, a depth of 7 km, and stretches to a length of 4,000 km… roughly the width of the continental United States.

Mars gets its reddish color from the sand of its deserts. But even a small telescope shows darker continent-size features once thought to be areas of vegetation. These dark features are simply crater fields where darker sub-surface material has been ejected and scattered by the wind.With a small telescope, you can see the dark surface features, polar caps, and occasional dust storms. But since it presents a small disk, even at its closest approaches to Earth, Mars is not easy to observe.


Coming....world's largest solar telescope...

The National Science Foundation of United States of America has awarded a $298 million cooperative support agreement to the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) to build the 4-meter Advanced Technology Solar Telescope (ATST).The Advanced Technology Solar Telescope will be the world's flagship facility for the study of magnetic phenomena in the solar atmosphere. "I want to congratulate everyone who has helped make this happen," said Stephen L. Keil, director of the National Solar Observatory (NSO) and AURA's principal investigator for ATST. "It should be an exciting next several years as we bring ATST to reality." ATST will be the largest and most capable solar telescope. No comparable facility exists or is planned. ATST will be the world's flagship facility for the study of magnetic phenomena in the solar atmosphere and will be the first large, ground-based, open-access solar telescope in the United States in more than 40 years. "This is an exciting opportunity for the NSO to lead the community," said William Smith, president of AURA. "We look forward to achieving a first-rate, cutting-edge facility." ATST is to be built atop Haleakala, Maui, Hawaii, pending completion of a Conservation District Use Agreement and other permits. Haleakala was selected after considering 72 sites and then narrowing those down to six for additional consideration through on-site testing. Of those six sites, only the Haleakala site met all of ATST's requirements — the least atmospheric blurring, the most annual hours of low sky brightness, the lowest dust levels, and the smallest temperature extremes. The site is next to the existing Mees Solar Observatory that is owned and operated by the University of Hawaii's Institute for Astronomy, a principal partner in the project. Understanding the role of magnetic fields in the outer regions of the Sun is crucial to understanding the solar dynamo, solar variability, and solar activity, including flares and mass ejections, which can significantly affect life on Earth. ATST research will investigate solar variability and its impact on terrestrial climate — the conditions responsible for solar flares, coronal mass ejections, and other activities that can impact terrestrial communications and power systems, disrupt satellite communications, and endanger astronauts and air travelers. ATST's 4-meter primary mirror will feed an advanced array of instruments designed to study the Sun in light ranging from near ultraviolet (350 nm) into the far infrared (28,000 nm, or 28 microns). High-order adaptive optics, pioneered by the NSO and its partners at NSO's Dunn Solar Telescope at Sunspot, New Mexico, will correct blurring of solar images caused by Earth's atmosphere, thus allowing ATST to observe features in the solar atmosphere with unprecedented sharpness, down to structures only a few tens of kilometers in size. ATST will observe both on the bright solar disk and in the ultra-faint corona. ATST will accurately measure magnetic fields in the ultra-faint corona, which is only a few parts in a million as bright as the solar disk.

Annular Solar Eclipse photographs by German Eclipse Chasers

[caption id="attachment_222" align="aligncenter" width="1210" caption="Baily's beads,photographed by Tobias kamschulte from Thiruvananathapuram,Kerala"][/caption]

Stunning photographs by Tobias Kampschulte and other German Eclipse Chasers who were there at Thiruvananthapuram with AASTRO  for the ASE watch can be viewed from the link :' http://astro-digital.de/fotos/rsf2010/Thumbnails.html .

Pioneer of the Southern Skies


[caption id="attachment_211" align="aligncenter" width="260" caption="Nicolas Louis de Lacaille(1713-1762),French astronomer"][/caption]

In the mid-18th century, in a time before Messier and the Herschels, the humble and diligent Lacaille,a French Astronomer, cataloged more stars than all other astronomers of his era combined, and assigned names and places for southern constellations still in use today.

Born in 1713, the young Lacaille’s was left destitute by the death of his father.  He turned to theological studies, sponsored by a nobleman, and completed his religious work with the title of Abbe.  But his interest was consumed by science, so he obtained work as a geographer and cartographer.  He surveyed the French coast and made precise measurements of longitude.  His diligence earned him admission to the French Academy, and he secured a position as mathematics professor at Mazarin College, with a small observatory at his disposal.

Though he made many celestial measurements from northern France, the other half of the sky beckoned.  In 1750, he implored the Academy to let him travel to South Africa to catalog the southern stars.  They granted his wish.  Lacaille set sail for Cape Town, before it was called Cape Town, and set up shop near the slopes of Table Mountain.  In just one year, using an absurdly small 1/2-inch refractor, he measured the positions of 9,766 stars and logged 42 deep sky objects including 47 Tucanae, omega Centauri, and the eta Carinae nebula.

He also named 14 obscure southern constellations that have left many stargazers scratching their heads.  Unlike the northern sky, there are no grand mythological names here; Lacaille lived in a time that admired the tools of science and reason.  Hence the names of constellations such as..

• Antlia Pneumatica, the Air Pump
• Caelum, the Engraving Tool
• Circinus, the Geometer’s Compasses
• Fornax Chemica, the Chemist’s Furnace
• Horologium Oscillatorium, the Pendulum Clock
• Mons Mensae, Table Mountain
• Microscopium, the Microscope
• Norma et Regula, the Level and Square
• Octans, the Octant
• Pictor, the Painter’s Easel
• Pyxis Nautica, the Ship’s Compass
• Reticulum Rhomboidalis, the eyepiece reticle, and
• Sculptor, the Sculptor’s workshops;

Alas, Lacaille did not live to see his southern catalog published.  Upon returning to France, the modest astronomer was shocked to learn he had become relatively famous for his work in South Africa.  (Scientists were like rock stars in those days).  He returned to his professorship and continued to grind away at his measurements.  He died in 1762, at the age of 49, from rigors associated with overwork.

According to his biographer David Evans, Lacaille “lived for science and nothing else”.  He had few friends and displayed fewer emotions, and left no record of a private life or ambition or the search for recognition.  He lived and died for the stars.  And he let his work stand as his memorial.

In honor of his work, a 60-cm telescope at Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean will be named the La-Caille telescope.


Astronomy events of Interest in January 2010

Jan 15th - Annular Solar Eclipse

Jan 27th -Closest Approach of Mars

Jan 30th - Mars at Opposition

Jan 30th - Biggest Full Moon at Perigee


Brightest and Biggest Moon in 2010

[caption id="attachment_200" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="Moon in Perigee"][/caption]

Just after turning Sun into a ring of fire on 15th January as new moon,
the coming full moon on 30th January night has something in store for
all of us. It will not only shine brighter but will appear bigger as
compared to other full moons during this year. To put it in simple
words - The full Moon of January 30th is the biggest and brightest full
Moon of the year. Is this an illusion or some gimmick played by a TV
channel? No, its something which mother nature has kept in store for

why moon looks bigger or smaller? Things when are faraway look
smaller and when are closer look bigger. So moon at perigee will look
bigger than the rest of the positions of moon in its orbit around the
earth. And if perigee happens within short span of the full moon, it
will look BIG!!!! Try this simple exercise. Hold your thumb very close
to your eye, it will cover all your view and as you move the thumb away
from your eyes, it will appear smaller.

Some full Moons are genuinely larger than others and this coming
Saturday's Moon is quite BIG. Why? The Moon's orbit is an ellipse with
one side 50,000 km closer to Earth than the other. In the
language of astronomy, the two extremes are called "apogee" (far away)
and "perigee" (nearby). On Jan. 30th, the Moon becomes full 3 hours
after reaching perigee, making it around 15% bigger and around 30%
brighter than smallest full Moon we are going to see in rest of the

so lets don't sit at home on 30th Jan evening, go out and see the bright
shining full Moon, The biggest in 2010.

- v s/AASTRO

Astronomy Slide Show

NASA launches its new website_NASA SCIENCE

The Science Mission Directorate (SMD) engages the Nation’s science community, sponsors scientific research, and develops and deploys satellites and probes in collaboration with NASA’s partners around the world to answer fundamental questions requiring the view from and into space. SMD seeks to understand the origins, evolution, and destiny of the universe and to understand the nature of the strange phenomena that shape it. SMD also seeks to understand:

  • the nature of life in the universe and what kinds of life may exist beyond Earth;

  • the solar system, both scientifically and in preparation for human exploration; and

  • the Sun and Earth, changes in the Earth-Sun system, and the consequences of the Earth-Sun relationship for life on Earth.

NASA grantees provide hundreds of programs, activities, events, and resources. Award-winning educational web sites, major exhibitions in museums and science centers, partnerships with minority universities, research projects that allow students and teachers to participate in NASA missions, live webcasts, and public television broadcasts on major science research areas are just a few of the opportunities available.

    Teachers Workshop for Eclipse watch

    Thiruvananthapuram:AASTRO organised one day training for teachers from schools in and around city on January 11th in connection with Kazcha-2010,the eclipse watching mega event.Around 200 teachers from 100 schools partcipated in the workshop.Hon.Mayor Shri Jayan Babu inaugurated the workshop.AASTRO resource persons like Prof.K.Pappootty.Dr.C.P.Aravindakshan,Shri.KrishnaWarrier,Shri K.P.Sreenivasan conducted different sessions on various topics.Booklets were also distributed.

    [caption id="attachment_157" align="aligncenter" width="3872" caption="200 teachers participated in the workshop organised by AASTRO"][/caption]

    Lunar Eclipse watch on Dec.31st 2009

    Thiruvananthapuram : AASTRO  arranged facilities for public for watching the last lunar eclipse on Dec.31st 2009 at Central Stadium.Large no.of  People,especially families, turned up with extreme enthusiasm for the upcoming solar eclipse and other activities on astronomy had a wonderful new year night.AASTRO  volunteers Dr.C.P.Aravindakshan,

    [caption id="attachment_150" align="aligncenter" width="400" caption="Large no.of families and children turned for the Partial Lunar Eclipse watch organised by AASTRO on Dec.31st."]Large no.of families and children turned for the Partial Lunar Eclipse watch organised by AASTRO on Dec.31st.[/caption]

    V S Shyam, Pradeep Attukal,Vaisakhan Thampi,B Ramesh were some of them present for the programme.

    AASTRO Kerala - the youngest amateur astronomy organization in the world -launched officially

    [caption id="attachment_145" align="aligncenter" width="1000" caption="Prof.Dr.Susanne Huttmeister,Director,Zeiss Planetarium,Germany is addressing the audience during the inaugural function"]

    Prof.K.Pappootty,President,AASTRO Kerala giving presidential address

    Amatuer Astronomers Organisation,AASTRO Kerala is now the youngest amateur astronomy organization in the world: The German eclipse expedition team was invited to formally launch it on 14 January in Trivandrum.Daniel Fischer,Science Writer and International Astronomical Union Member from University of Bonn,Germany made the official declaration More than 250 astronomy enthusiasts were present for the Inaugural function at Priyadarshini Planetarium  Hal.Prof.K.Pappootty,President,AASTRO kerala presided the function..Celebrated personalities in science popularisation and allied fields were present.Prof.Dr.Susanne Hüttemeister,Director of Zeiss Planetarium,Germany delivered a talk on Astronomy after the official function

    An exhibition was also arranged by AASTRO volunteers in the venue which revealed the beauty of the Cosmos.

    In connection with the inauguration and Annular Solar Eclipse outreach activities,AASTRO arranged talks,interactions and various programmes in different colleges in the city.

    Annular Solar eclipse of January 15, 2010

    The solar eclipse of January 15, 2010 was an annular eclipse of the Sun with a magnitude of 0.9190. A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between Earth and the Sun, thereby totally or partially obscuring Earth's view of the Sun. An annular solar eclipse occurs when the Moon's apparent diameter is smaller than the Sun, causing the sun to look like an annulus (ring), blocking most of the Sun's light. An annular eclipse appears as a partial eclipse over a region thousands of kilometers wide.

    It was the longest annular solar eclipse of the millennium, and the longest until December 23, 3043, with a maximum length of 11 mins and 7.8 seconds. (The solar eclipse of January 4, 1992, was longer, at 11 minutes, 41 seconds, occurring in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.)

    The eclipse was visible as only a partial eclipse in much of Africa, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Asia. It was seen as an annular eclipse within a narrow stretch of 300 km (190 mi) width across Central Africa, Maldives, South Kerala (India), South Tamil Nadu (India), Sri Lanka and parts of Bangladesh, Burma and China.

    The eclipse started in the Central African Republic, traversed Cameroon, DR Congo and Uganda, passed through Nairobi, Kenya, entered the Indian Ocean and reached its greatest eclipse over the Indian Ocean.After that it entered Maldives, where it was the longest on land with 10.8 viewable minutes. This made the tiny islands of Maldives the best spot for viewing this eclipse from land. The annular eclipse at Malé, the capital city of Maldives, started at 12:20:20 and ended at 12:30:06 Maldives local time (UTC+5). This was also the longest duration of any eclipse with an international airport in its track.

    At approximately 13:20 IST, the annular solar eclipse entered India at Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum), Kerala and exited India at Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu..The eclipse was viewable for 10.4 minutes in India. After Rameswaram, it entered Sri Lanka at Delft Island, exited at Jaffna in Sri Lanka, crossed the Bay of Bengal and re-entered India in MizoramThiruvananthapuram, which was the entry point of the eclipse in India, was equipped with telescopes and announced facilities for the public to view the eclipse.Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, situated in Trivandrum, analysed the atmospheric-ionospheric parameters during the eclipse. Many scientists camped in the city to witness and study the eclipse. AASTRO made special arrangements and its photography team to chase the eclipse.

    At Rameswaram, the Sunrise was not visible due to thick cloud all around the sky. But it started getting clear at around 9 AM local time and became almost totally clear by the time Eclipse began. But sky had a thin layer of Cyrus cloud till 2:30PM making things a little bit tough for the serious Eclipse chasers. Dhanushkodi, which falls on the central line of the eclipse, was a good place to view the eclipse. The northern most limit of shadow in India was Cuddalore, Neyveli, Erode, Kodaikanal, Madurai. Other prime viewing locations in Tamil Nadu include Thoothukudi and Cape Comorin, 22 km north of the center line.The exact location of the line is between the NH end and the Dhanushkodi ruins. Dhanushkodi is about 2 km east of the central line. The degree difference is about 0.2 between the central line – Kodandaramar Temple and Dhanushkodi ruins vice versa. Dhanushkodi is about 5 km from the Kodandaramar Temple.

    After South Asia, annularity passed Myanmar and China before leaving the Earth.


    [caption id="attachment_126" align="aligncenter" width="383" caption="Eclipse picture from Thiruvananthapuram,Soth Kerala, where the eclipse was 94%"][/caption]

    VSSC launches 11 sounding rockets to study annular solar eclipse

    The Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) at Thiruvananthapuram today launched as many as 11 Rohini series of indigenous sounding rockets to investigate the effects of the annular solar eclipse on the atmosphere.

    The longest annular eclipse of this millennium occurred today and was visible best from the southern tip of the country.

    The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said the rockets were launched from the Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station (TERLS) at Thumba in Thiruvananthapuram district and the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC), Sriharikota.

    All the payloads (scientific instruments) of the rockets were developed in-house by VSSC, an ISRO press release said.

    According to it, yesterday, two Rohini sounding rockets of the type RH 300 Mk II were launched at 12:20 pm and 1:05 pm respectively. This was followed by two RH 200 launches at 1:07 pm and 3 pm.

    Following the same pattern, another four launches were carried out today. Later, one more sounding rocket of RH 300 Mk II type was launched at 4 pm today. Two larger Rohini rockets of the series RH 560 MK II were also launched from SDSC, one each yesterday and today, which had a peak altitude of 548 km.

    Today at around IST 1:14 pm, the eclipse passed close to TERLS with 91% obscuration. The obscuration of Sun during the eclipse was about 11 min 08 sec. The maximum obscuration occurred around 1:15 pm. All the sounding rocket launches were conducted to study the effects of the annular solar eclipse on the atmospheric structure and dynamics, the release said.

    The release said many scientifically interesting phenomena occur in the diurnal equatorial atmosphere. Equatorial Electrojet (EEJ), Equatorial Ionization Anomaly (EIA) and Equatorial Temperature and Wind Anomaly (ETWA) are examples of such phenomena.

    When a solar eclipse occurs, there will be a sudden cut-off of solar radiation. This cut-off will affect the atmospheric structure and dynamics and there will be a large reduction in ionization and temperature.

    The release said today's eclipse offered a unique opportunity to scientists to investigate the effects of fast varying solar flux on the photochemistry and electrodynamics of the different atmospheric regions, especially the equatorial mesopause and ionosphere-thermosphere regions.

    The main payload instruments that flew in the sounding rockets during these experiments are:

    • Langmuir Probes and Electric Field Probes to study the characteristics of E-region plasma waves and generation process associated with sub-meter waves in relation to plasma temperature.

    • Trimethyl Aluminum Experiment (TMA) to derive neutral winds using TMA trails, ground based photography and a chain of magnetometers.

    • Electron density and Neutral Wind (ENWi) Probe consisting of a velocity probe and a Langmuir probe, for measurement of ionospheric E-region neutral winds, electron density and irregularity strength.

    • Earth's Atmospheric Composition Explorer (EACE) - to make very fast measurements on the neutral atmospheric composition. The measurements were taken in a scanning mode during the ascent and descent of the rocket flights during and after the eclipse.

    • Chaff Experiment to investigate the temperature and horizontal wind perturbations in the middle atmosphere.

    The release said the results of these experiments will coordinate ground-based eclipse observations with in situ space measurements. Interpretation of eclipse data together with space data is expected to give new insights to the earlier eclipse observations.

    This was the first ISRO effort to realise sounding rocket systems for a record 11 flights during a short period of two days from TERLS and SDSC, the release added.

    [caption id="attachment_121" align="aligncenter" width="175" caption="Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre Conducts a Series of Sounding Rocket Launches to Study the Annular Solar Eclipse on January 14, 2010."][/caption]


    [caption id="attachment_118" align="aligncenter" width="800" caption="Eclipse picture from Thiruvananthapuram,where the eclipse was 94%"][/caption]

    Solar eclipse, whose visibility was long and clear in Kerala, turned out to be a "solar festival" not only for scientists but also for the people at large.A large number of people including children turned up to witness the rare spectacle of the century across the state where special arrangements were made by AASTRO and for viewing the celestial phenomenon.

    The eclipse started becoming visible here and the adjoining areas at 11.30 am.Leading scientific institutions including Science and Technology Museum, Thiruvananthapuram Corporation,AASTRO Clubs in various colleges and schools made special arrangements for viewing the eclipse, for which glasses and filters were distributed.

    The maximum crowd was gathered at the Kanakakunnu Palace hill and Central Stadium in the heart of the city. The first signs of the celestial marvel was seen around 11.05 a.m. and by 1.05 p.m. excitement mounted when 95 per cent of the sun was covered by the moon.

    Daylight dimmed around 1 p.m for around 10 minutes. People could also feel a drop in the temperature, though an hour earlier it was rather warm. Slowly, the light started getting better and by around 3.23 p.m., it was back to normal.A large number of people standing by the roadside held dark transparent sheets, trying to catch a glimpse of the eclipse. Many were seen sporting sun glasses.

    Eclipse on News












    Invited Lecture on Eclipses at Womens College,Thiruvananathapuram

    [caption id="attachment_330" align="aligncenter" width="1000" caption="German Amatuer Astronomer William Van Kerkhof delivering talk on Solar eclipses,Govt.Womens College,Thiruvananthapuram"][/caption]

    German Amatuer Astronomer William Van Kerkhof delivered a lecture on Solar eclipses in connection with outreach activities organised by AASTRO during ASE 2010.The programme organised at Department of Physics,Goverment College for Women on Jan 14th.Around 50 students and teachers attended the talk.

    Kazcha 2010: Eclipse watching Mega Event for School Children at Thiruvananathapuram

    Kazcha 2010,backed by AASTRO Kerala,a mega event organised by corporation of Thiruvananthapuram held at Central stadium,Thiruvananthapuram on 15th of January.Around 1500 selected students and teachers  from different schools in and around Thiruvananthapuram participated in the day long event.The inaugural function was presided by Hon.Mayor Shri.Jayan Babu and the programme was inaugurated by Hon.Minister for Law Shri.M.Vijaya kumar.Former VSSC Deputy Director Dr.Radhakrishnan was the chief guest.Classes on astronomy,space science,eclipses,telescopes,Quiz competitions,eclipse watch,sky watching etc were arranged.Around 30 telescopes were distributed to different schools in order to promote astronomy education and popularisation among students.Prof.K.Pappootty and Shri.T.P.sreenivasan lead the quiz programme for students.Ten thousand German made Solar goggles were distributed to the students for safe eclipse watch.AASTRO  backed the program with its various academic and volunteer resources and also arranged an astronomy exhibition in the venue.Around 25 AASTRO Volunteers from different parts of the state were present for the whole day programme.

    Annular Solar Eclipse of 2010 January 15

    The Annular solar eclipse of January 15, 2010 is an annular eclipse of the Sun with a magnitude of 0.9190. A solar eclipse occurs when the MoonEarth and the Sun, thereby totally or partially obscuring Earth's view of the Sun. An annular solar eclipse occurs when the Moon's apparent diameter is smaller than the Sun, causing the sun to look like an annulus (ring), blocking most of the Sun's light. An annular eclipse will appear as partial eclipse over a region thousands of miles wide. passes between

    It will be visible as a partial eclipse in much of Africa, Eastern Europe, Middle East and Asia. It will be seen as annular within a narrow stretch of 300 km (190 mi) width across Central Africa, Maldives, South Kerala, South Tamil Nadu, North Sri Lanka, Burma and China.

    The eclipse starts at Uganda, passes through Nairobi, enters Indian ocean where the greatest eclipse is taking place in mid of Ocean for a maximum of 11 Mins and 7.7 seconds.

    After that enters Maldives, where it would be the longest on land with 10.8 Min of viewing. This makes the tiny islands of Maldives the best spot for viewing this eclipse from land. The annular Eclipse at Male', the capital city of Maldives starts at 12:20:20 hrs and ends 12:30:06 hrs Maldives local time (GMT+5hrs). This is also the longest duration of any city having an international airport in the eclipse track.

    After that enters and exits India at Rameswaram. Only place of land under the eclipse on India. At approx 13.20 hrs IST, there is a annular solar Eclipse of sun over India. The eclipse is viewable for full 10.4 min in India. The best place from India is Dhanushkodi in Pamban Island off Tamil Nadu coast. Dhanushkodi is now a ghost town and it is about 18 km South east from Rameshwaram and 18 Km West of Mannar Island in Sri Lanka.

    After Rameswaram, enters Sri Lanka at Delft Island, exits at Jaffna in Sri Lanka, cross Bay of Bengal and ends in Burma - China border. Full data is in the NASA website.

    For best viewing of the Eclipse, you need to travel to Maldives, where many International flights land and take off everyday, being a world famous tourist destination. Visa for Maldives is free for 30 days for a tourist entry.

    The best location In India lies between Kodandaramar Temple islet and Dhanushkodi, which falls on the central line of the Eclipse. The northern most limit of shadow in India is Cuddalore, Neyveli, Erode, Kodaikanal, Madurai. Other best locations: Trivandrum, Thoothukudi and Cape Comorin which lies 22 km north of Central line.

    Only means of reaching Dhanushkodi or kodandaramar temple is by ST bus or Auto from Rameswaram and for Dhanushkodi after road's end it is only by fish carts or 4x4 SUVs. Permission is required for entering Dhanushkodi ruins from the coast guard post as that area is 10 km from Sri Lankan coast.

    The centre line passes some 2 km east of Kodandaramar Temple. The exact location is between NH end and Dhanushkodi ruins. Dhanushkodi is about 2 km east of the central line. The degree difference is about 0.2 between Central line - Kodandaramar Temple and Dhanushkodi ruins vice versa. Dhanushkodi is about 5 km from Kodandaramar Temple.

    AASTRO Ernakulam Fraction organised Galileo Night

    AASTRO Ernakulam Fraction organised Galileo Night,One day Sky Watching Camp on January 8th 2010 at  Youth Hostel Kakkanad, Ernakulam. The
    program was inaugurated by Prof.K.Babu Joseph,Ex. Vice-Chancellor of CUSAT.

    The program was open to students and public.Around two hundred people participated in the program.There were classes on star watching, solar eclipse, history of telescopes,astronomy software, and poster exhibition on the history of astronomy.Several telescopes were arranged to observe moon, planets, nebulae, galaxies, ..etc.

    The program was guided by Dr. Titus K Mathew, Dept. of Physics, CUSAT, Dr. N Shaji, Dept. of Physics, Maharajas College, Ernakulam,Mr. P S Sobhen, Dept. of Physics, Maharajas, College, Ernakulam and other experts.

    The program was supported by Department of Physics, CUSAT as part of the IYA celebration, Financed by Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment in Collaboration with SPIE CUSAT Chapter,Department of Physics, Maharajas Collage, Ernakulam and Kerala Sastra Sahitya Parishat Science Forum

    AASTRO Club @ MG College,Thiruvananthapuram

    AASTRO is going to commence its first unit,AASTRO Club,the very first of its kind in the state in Mahatma Gandhi College,Thiruvananthapuram .The Club will be officially launched by Prof (Dr.) Susanne Hüttemeister,Director,Zeiss Planetarium,Germany.AASTRO President Prof.K.Pappootty,Cillege Principal Dr.MadhuKumar,AASTRO Club co coordinator Dr.Ajith Prasad are some of them who will attend the function. will be present.Prof (Dr.) Susanne will deliver a lecture on Popular Astronomy.

    AASTRO Inauguration on January 14,2010

    Amateur Astronomers Organization, Kerala will be officially launched on Thursday,Jan 14th at Kerala State Science & Technology Museum Hall by Daniel Fischer,International Astronomical Union Member from University of Bonn,Germany.

    The function will be presided by Prof.K.Pappootty,President ,AASTRO kerala.Celebrated personalities in science popularisation and allied fields will be present.Prof.Dr.Susanne Hüttemeister,Director of Zeiss Planetarium will deliver a talk on Astronomy after the official function

    An exhibition also is arranged in the venue which reveals the beauty of the Cosmos.

    In connection with the inauguration,AASTRO arranged talks,interactions and various programmes in different colleges in the city.