GSLV mission: Scientists say cryogenic engine had ignited

A team of Indian space scientists has established that the indigenously built cryogenic engine had ignited for a second during the  failed last GSLV mission .

"This took place for a second and then the fuel supply to power turbo got blocked. Indian Space Research Organisation chairman and  we knew this on Thursday but then we wanted to be doubly sure about it. And now this has been substantiated with the data. By all  means this is a great achievement," said a senior scientist.He added that they have with them records to prove that compression had  taken place and the cryogenic engine had ignited. The GSLV D3 blasted off with a GSAT 4 satellite around 5 pm. Thursday from  Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh but then stopped emitting signals within minutes.

A high-level meeting held  to review the flight data of the  failed mission.It was at ISRO's centre at Valiyamala, in  Thiruvananthapuram, that the cryogenic project took shape from the design stage to the assembly stage.

v s/AASTRO

Astrophysicists looking for evidence of dark matter

Astrophysicists are looking everywhere - inside the Large Hadron Collider, in deep mines and far out into space - for evidence of dark  matter, which makes up about 25 percent of the energy density of the universe. Despite the recent tantalising observation of excess  high-energy positrons - thought to be due to dark matter, researchers say we're not quite there yet.

Positron is an elementary particle having the same mass and magnitude of charge as an electron but exhibiting a positive  charge. Worldwide, the hunt for dark matter is in full swing. In the 17-mile-long tunnel of the Large Hadron Collider near Geneva,  Switzerland, scientists are smashing together subatomic particles at nearly light speed in a quest for insight into the nature of the  universe. In dark mine shafts, researchers are registering faint hints of subatomic particles that they surmise could be dark matter.  There are satellite, balloon-borne and ground-based endeavours to find high-energy gamma rays, neutrinos and antimatter that  could be signatures of dark-matter particles.

Models predict that when dark-matter particles collide, they'll annihilate some of the time into electrons and positrons.Scientists  working on a satellite experiment called PAMELA recently identified a large excess of positrons, causing a flurry of excitement about having detected dark matter. These studies sharpens predictions of what scientists can expect to detect from the annihilation of dark-matter particles in our galaxy.

While it shows that currently popular models cannot account for the excess positrons observed, it leaves open the possibility that discovery of dark-matter evidence could be right around the corner, perhaps within reach of current and planned experiments. Success in these multipronged efforts would bring astronomers closer to identifying the invisible material that constitutes a quarter of the world and determines the architecture of the visible universe and physicists would have the first evidence supporting the theory that all forces of nature can be unified under one mathematical expression.

Image-Stabilized Binoculars for Astronomy



Imaged-stabilized (IS) binoculars give stunning low power views of the night sky without the dreaded “image shake” of standard binoculars. Based on technology developed for military surveillance and laser-based weaponry, IS binos are amazing high-tech wonders.

Inside the body of the binoculars, piezoelectric motion sensors detect the pitch and yaw motion caused by shaking, over-caffeinated arms. The sensors feed into a microprocessor that initiates image stabilization by controlling a vari-angle prism – a pair of glass plates joined by flexible bellows. The space between the plates is filled with a silicon-based oil to maximize image deflection to correct for the unwanted motion.

The motion sensors work in daylight or total darkness and operate at any orientation, so there are no restrictions on where the binoculars can be pointed… up, down, sideways, anywhere.
You switch on the IS feature by pressing a button.  When you do, the image doesn’t “freeze”, but rather wanders slowly enough for your eye to follow. If your arms shift a little, you’ll still see motion, but it’s much slower and steadier than without the IS feature.  The IS still works when you sweep across a field of view, although there is a slight hesitation.  It takes a few seconds for the IS to kick in, and perhaps 10-15 seconds for the IS to really get ahold of the motion of your slightly shaking arms.

One drawback regarding these binoculars are  these devices are battery hogs. You can burn through a pair of alkalines in 5 minutes on a cold night. With rechargeables, you might get 2 hours, or longer with warmer temperatures.  Of course, you can turn off the IS feature when you’re not using it.

Nikon, Canon, and Fujinon, among others, offer some type of image stabilization. Canon models seem to have the widest following among amateur astronomers.And about the price,A Canon 10 >< 30 set is priced 500 USD which is equal to roughly 22,ooo Indian Rupees.But  the more expensive binoculars give you a brighter view of the stars for sure.

v s/AASTRO

AASTRO Thrissur Fraction meet on Monday

AASTRO Thrissur District Chapter will have its first get together on Monday,19th April at KSSP Parisara Kendram,Thrissur by 4    o'clock in the evening. Astronomy enthusiasts and science popularization activists will take part in the meet.Thrissur district chapter     will frame activities and programmes for the coming days and will have discussion on it. Anyone who is interested to join AASTRO or   can direct someone can contact the district organizers for the same .

Do contact

Shri.Manoj Kumar,Ph : +91-9446462637, Shri.V S Shyam Ph : +91-9447589773

Ph.D Admissions @ IISER,Thiruvananthapuram

Applications are invited from highly motivated students for admission to the Ph.D. programme beginning in August 2010 at Indian Institute of Science Education and Research,Thiruvananthapuram.



Eligibility:

Masters degree in Physical/Chemical/Biological Sciences (including Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences)/Mathematics/Statistics (minimum 60% marks    or  equivalent, relaxable by 5% for SC/ST candidates). Qualifying in one of the following tests with validity as on 1st of August 2010 :GATE/JEST/NBHM/CSIR-   UGC-JRF/ICMR JRF/DBT JRF

Satisfying the eligibility criteria does not entitle the candidate to be shortlisted. Shortlisting is  based on their academic performance including but not limited to performance in the national qualifying tests. The shortlisted candidates will be called for a test/interview.

Scholarship:  JRFs of CSIR/UGC/ICMR/DBT etc. will draw fellowship and contingency according to the granting Institutions. The other qualified candidates will draw scholarship of Rs.12000/- p.m. from IISER-TVM.

Application form and other details can be found from IISER Website , http://iisertvm.ac.in/

Students registered for the Ph.D. Programme at IISER-TVM are required to take a minimum of four courses and clear the Comprehensive Examination to be eligible to continue with the research programme

Items to be enclosed with the application:  Duly filled application form, Demand Draft for Rs.200/-(Rs.100/- for SC/ST candidates)  drawn in favor of the Registrar, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Thiruvananthapuram, Attested copies of mark-sheets and certificates of all examinations, two letters of Recommendation in sealed envelope and a statement of purpose not exceeding 150 words.

Completed applications (hard copy) should be sent to The Chairman, Graduate Admissions Committee, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Thiruvananthapuram, Computer Science Building, CET Campus, Engineering College PO, Thiruvananthapuram-695016, Kerala so as to reach here on or before 29th April, 2010.

Ph.D Admissions @ IISER,Thiruvananthapuram

Applications are invited from highly motivated students for admission to the Ph.D. programme beginning in August 2010 at Indian Institute of Science Education and Research,Thiruvananthapuram.

Eligibility:
Masters degree in Physical/Chemical/Biological Sciences (including Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences)/Mathematics/Statistics (minimum 60% marks or equivalent, relaxable by 5% for SC/ST candidates). Qualifying in one of the following tests with validity as on 1st of August 2010 :GATE/JEST/NBHM/CSIR-UGC-JRF/ICMR JRF/DBT JRF

Satisfying the eligibility criteria does not entitle the candidate to be shortlisted. Shortlisting is  based on their academic performance including but not limited to performance in the national qualifying tests. The shortlisted candidates will be called for a test/interview.

Scholarship:  JRFs of CSIR/UGC/ICMR/DBT etc. will draw fellowship and contingency according to the granting Institutions. The other qualified candidates will draw scholarship of Rs.12000/- p.m. from IISER-TVM.

Students registered for the Ph.D. Programme at IISER-TVM are required to take a minimum of four courses and clear the Comprehensive Examination to be eligible to continue with the research programme.

  • Candidates shortlisted for test/interview will be intimated and their names will also be displayed on IISER website.

  • Candidates selected for admission will be intimated and their names will also be displayed on IISER website.

  • Application form and research interests of the faculty can be found from

ISRO to analyse cause of GSLV-D3 failure

Thiruvananthapuram : India's top space scientists are meeting in Thiruvananthapuram on Saturday to analyse the data and find the cause for failure of GSLV-D3 rocket that was launched for the first time on Thursday using an indigenously made cryogenic engine. As per the initial indications, the problem could have been related to the ignition of the cryogenic engine leading to the rocket tumbling, losing altitude and finally plunging into sea little over eight minutes after the lift-off from Sriharikota spaceport.

The meeting would be chaired by S Ramakrishnan, Director (Projects), Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC). The flight-testing of the indigenous cryogenic engine and the stage as part of the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-D3) mission was not successful, dashing India's hopes of joining the elite club of space-faring nations possessing the complex technology required for launching heavier satellites. The Thiruvananthapuram-based VSSC is the major centre of ISRO, where the design and development activities of satellite launch vehicles and sounding rockets are carried out and made ready for launch operations.

"The problem may be related to the ignition of the main engine. But it (the analysis) is going to be a tricky affair as the data we got is limited," the official said. ISRO officials would analyse the flight data in terms of parameters such as pressure and temperature and hold discussions on corrective measures to be taken for the next flight test of the indigenous cryogenic engine and stage within the next one year. GSLV-D3 vehicle lifted off as planned at 4.27 pm from the spaceport of Sriharikota after a countdown procedure lasting 29 hours. The countdown went off as planned. GSLV-D3 vehicle performance was normal up to the end of the second stage lasting 293 seconds. Afterwards, the cryogenic stage was to ignite and burn for about 720 seconds to provide the necessary velocity to inject the GSAT-4 satellite, carried by the rocket, into the intended geosynchronous transfer orbit, but things did not go as planned in that phase.

AASTRO making its District Chapter in Idukki



AASTRO Idukki District Chapter will be formed on Sunday,18th April.The organization meet is arranged at Govt.High school,Adimaly at 10 am.A presentation on "Wonders of the Sky" also is fixed during the occasion.Astronomy enthusiasts and science popularization activists will get together for the meeting.After its official launch,AASTRO Idukki chapter will coordinate vivid activities throughout the district via astronomy clubs in schools and colleges.Anyone who is interested to join AASTRO or can direct someone can contact the district organizers for the same .

Do contact

Shri.Manilal,Ph : +91-9496461176, Shri.C.Subramahnian Ph : +91-9446692295

ASTRONOMICAL EVENTS FOR APRIL 2010

APRIL 1: Venus and Mercury are 3 degrees apart, very low near horizon in West at 7:50pm.
 
APRIL 4: A Waning Gibbous Moon stands around 5 degrees E-SE of Antares.
 
APRIL 6: Last Quarter Moon.
 
APRIL 9: Mercury Greatest Eastern elongation.
 
APRIL 12: A very thin Crescent Moon will be nearly 6.5 degrees N of Jupiter just before dawn. The pair will be low in east at 5:30am.
 
APRIL14: New Moon.
 
APRIL 16: A Waxing Crescent Moon (just 4% illuminated) will be about 4 degrees NE of bright Venus.
 
APRIL 17: A Waxing Crescent Moon (now 10% illuminated) will be 4 degrees SE of M45-The Pleiades.
 
APRIL 17: Mars will pass very close to M44-The Beehive Cluster.
 
APRIL 21: The Moon is 6.5 degrees S-SE from Mars.
 
APRIL 23: The Moon is 4.5 degrees from Regulus.
 
APRIL 25: Venus will be within 4 degrees from M45-The Pleiades.
 
APRIL 25: The Moon is around 7.5 degrees from Saturn at 9pm.
 
APRIL 27: The Moon is around 3 degrees 49’ from Spica.
 
APRIL 28: Full Moon.
 
APRIL 28: Mercury Inferior Conjunction.
 
APRIL 2010; PLANET ROUND-UP
 
MERCURY: Mercury will be low in west and will be paired with Venus at the month’s beginning. Mercury is on greatest elongation on 9th. The planet will be on inferior conjunction with Sun on April 28th.
 
VENUS: Venus will remain in west in the evening sky. Venus will be paired with the Crescent Moon on April 16th. The planet will pass very close to the open cluster M45 during April 24 and 25.
 
MARS: Mars is high in the sky at the time of evening during month’s beginning. It shines at magnitude 0.17 and will get slightly dim, at magnitude 0.68 by the month’s end. Mars will pass very close to the open cluster M44 during April 17th.
 
SATURN: Saturn rises at the time of sunset by month’s beginning. The ringed world shows the disc of diameter 20 arc seconds in telescopes.
 
NEPTUNE: Very low in east just before the beginning of morning twilight. The planet is in Aquarius.
 
JUPITER: The giant planet will emerge from east at the time of dawn by the month’s beginning. Jupiter will be very close (only 5’) from the 4.2nd magnitude star Phi Aquarii on the morning of 1st April.
 
URANUS: The planet is even lower than Jupiter in the morning sky. It will be hard to observe this planet during this month.

AASTRO is all set to celebrate Global Astronomy Month 2010



AASTRO Kerala will organize vivid programmes through out the state on the backdrop of Global Astronomy Month (GAM 2010),an international project in April which is a follow up to IYA 2009.AASTRO joined other astronomy groups worldwide to share their enthusiasm ans innovation,and to connect people through skies.

The official launch of AASTRO GAM 2010 activities will be on April 3rd Saturday at Manachira Square,Kozhikkode.AASTRO Kozhikkode District Chapter will organise a mega event in which Prof.K.Pappotty will inaugurate the function and other experts will lead.Sky watching,Planet observations through telescopes,presentations and talks on astronomy are also arranged.

Through out April,District chapters of AASTRO will take up wide range of activities for students,teachers,academia and public.Trivandrum wil host public sky watch events,science fiction writing competition,star parties,astronomy software workshops,public lectures,observation sessions at Sree Chithra Poor Home,IIST,Kendriya Vidyalaya and the concluding session on April last week.

Observations sessions at schools,star parties and presentations for public will be organised at Kollam,Alappuzha,Wayanad,Ernakulam,Thrissur and Palakkad.AASTRO Wayanad will have different programmes for students,teachers and public.

On the occassion of Hubble Space Telescope completing 20 years in space,AASTRO will release a video CD in Malayalam during the concluding session of GAM activities.April month we have special events for anniversaries of Appolo Mission(1970),Yuri Gagarin's first space flight(1961),Newton's celerated bok "Principia"(1686),First space shuttle flight (1981) and so many other notable events.

In short,AASTRO will provide a great oppurtunity for students ,teachers and public to explore the excitement through these events throughout the state.Global Astronomy Month will have something for everyone.Please do contact concerned district co ordinators to join GAM 2010 activity at your place.