ASTRONOMICAL EVENTS FOR NOVEMBER 2010



Nov 1: The Moon is 5 degrees S of Regulus in the East before dawn

Nov 4A Waning Crescent Moon is about 7.5 degrees SE of Saturn in the East just before dawn

Nov 6 : New moon

Nov 13: First Quarter Moon

Nov 16: A Gibbous Moon is nearly 6.5 degrees away from Jupiter

Nov 17/18: The Leonids Meteor Shower will peak. This shower has produced meteor storms in the past, but no storm is expected this year. Also the Waxing Gibbous Moon will shine till after Mid-Night.


Nov 18: Neptune Eastern Quadrature


Nov 20: Mercury and Mars are just 1 deg 40’ apart in the W-SW, very low after Sunset.


Nov 21: Full Moon.


Nov 22: The Moon is just 1 deg 30’ away from M45-The Pleiades (after mid night) but an observer will have to use a binocular to glimpse M45.


Nov 29:  A Last Quarter Moon is nearly 9 degrees from Regulus




NOVEMBER 2010 PLANET ROUND-UP



MARS: Very low in Scorpius in the Western evening sky in the beginning of month. On 8th at evening Mars will share company with a very thin Crescent Moon and also they will form a trio with Regulus. On 20th November at evening Mars will be paired with Mercury by just 1.5 degrees apart.


NEPTUNE: The planet shining at magnitude 7.8 in the beginning of the month. FindNeptune just within 12’ 53” NW of the 5th mag Mu Capricorni star. Neptune will be at Eastern Quadrature on November 18.


JUPITER and URANUS will remain around 3 degrees throughout the month. Jupiter shining at mag -2.7 along with Uranus (mag 5.7) is well placed in the sky after sunset for observation


SATURN: The ringed planet will rise around 5am in the month’s beginning. On 4thNovember the planet will be nearly 7 degrees N-NE of Crescent Moon forming a very nice naked-eye view. Saturn will begin this month by staying within 1.5 degrees East from Porrima in Virgo and will keep moving away toward east.


VENUS: The brightest planet will emerge from the Eastern morning sky during the first week of the month. On November 18, the planet will be 3 degrees 18’ East of Spica.


MERCURY: Very low in the evening Western sky will remain in the glare of the Sun. The inner most planet will emerge from the Western horizon during 10th November and will form a trio with Mars and Antares in the evening of 15th November. Mercury will be just 1 deg 40’ from Mars on 20th evening. Mercury will slowly keep getting up the western sky unless it reaches Greatest Eastern Elongation on December 1st.

AASTRO Kottakkal commemorates Bhabha,the renowned Indian scientist

October 30th is the 101st birthday of Dr. Homi Jehangir Bhabha, a man who throughout his life dominated both the scientific and policy spheres of India's nuclear affairs, first bringing the Indian nuclear program to life and then setting its priorities and direction.

AASTRO Club,Kottakkal is all set to make this occasion memorable by organising a photo exhibition,a quiz programme and releasing a newsletter on him.

Bhabha was born in 1909, of a wealthy well connected Parsi family.In 1927, he sailed to England to study engineering at Cambridge. He soon decided that his true interest was in nuclear physics, a field then flowering with Cambridge as one of its centers. Bhabha received a Ph.D. in physics from Cambridge University in 1935, studying the physics of cosmic rays. While in Europe he met many of the greatest physicists of the day, who would later play major roles in the US-UK wartime atomic weapon programs -- among them Niels Bohr, James Franck, and Enrico Fermi. Bhabha was well respected within the international physics community, and has left his name associated with the phenomenon of Bhabha electron scattering. One of Bhabha's friendships at Cambridge would later play a prominent role in the development of India's nuclear program - his friendship with his rowing teammate W.B. Lewis, later chairman of the Canadian Energy Programme.

Bhabha learned of the discovery of fission while abroad. He returned to India in 1939, taking the post of Reader in Theoretical Physics at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bangalore under Nobel laureate Sir C.V. Raman.Bhabha showed an immediate visionary interest in nuclear technology, apparently independently detecting the existence of the Manhattan Project during the war by noticing the absence of publications from the leading physicists with which he was acquainted. In March 1944, even before the successful achievement of a chain reaction became publicly known, Bhabha wrote a proposal to the Tata Trust that led to the establishment of an institute for nuclear research in India. This institute, the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) named for Bhabha's uncle, was created on 19 December 1945 in Mumbai with Dr. Bhabha as its Director. And so from the very outset, only four months after Hiroshima and years before India became an independent nation, Bhabha was already in command of India's nuclear future. And so he remained until the moment of his death over 20 years later.

Bhabha was acquainted with India's first Prime Minister Jawarhalal Pandit Nehru, having met him on the voyage home in 1939. After Nehru became the new nation's first leader Bhabha was entrusted with complete authority over all nuclear related affairs and programs and answered only to Nehru himself, with whom he developed a close personal relationship. All Indian nuclear policy was set by unwritten personal understandings between Nehru and Bhabha.

From the outset Bhabha's plans for India where extraordinarily ambitious. In April 1948 Nehru agreed to legislate at Bhabha's request the Atomic Energy Act in the Constituent Assembly, creating the Indian Atomic Energy Commission (IAEC).On 3 January 1954 the IAEC decided to set up a new facility - the Atomic Energy Establishment, Trombay (AEET), later to become the "Indian Los Alamos". On 3 August 1954 the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) was created with Dr. Bhabha as Secretary. This department answered directly to the Prime Minister and has continued to do so down to the present day.

Bhabha personally recruited and sponsored many of the principal players in the successful efforts to develop and test nuclear weapons such as Homi Sethna, P.K. Iyengar, Vasudev Iya, and Raja Ramanna.Although Nehru founded the non-aligned movement, and generally promoted disarmament efforts, he  actually opposed complete abolition of nuclear weapons, and supported Bhabha's plans for developing an Indian nuclear weapons option.

In 1955 Bhabha's personal relationsip with Lewis was instrumental in the program to build Cirus, the Canadian heavy water reactor - ostensibly for peaceful research but desired by India for its potential as an ideal system for producing weapons grade plutonium, a capability later exploited.The power that Bhabha held is no where more sharply illustrated by the fact that in the wake of China's first nuclear test PM Lal Bahadur Shastri, Nehru's successor, found it necessary to align his policies with the preferences of Dr. Bhabha, and secure his personal endorsement to withstand legislative and public criticism.The earlier pattern of Bhabha and the Prime Minister privately setting Indian nuclear policy, which had been established under Nehru, continued under Shastri.

Dr. Homi Bhabha was killed while on a trip to Europe when the plane in which he was flying collided with Mount Blanc. India's impressively large nuclear establishment was suddenly left without any plan or policy to give it direction.On  January 1967, the Atomic Energy Establishment, Trombay -- India's premier nuclear center, and weapon development laboratory --was renamed to be the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC).

More details on his remembrance programmes can be obtained from the organisers  http://aastroktkl.blogspot.com/

v s/AASTRO

ആസ്ട്രോ തൃശൂരില്‍ ചന്ദ്രശേഖര്‍ അനുസ്മരണം സംഘടിപ്പിച്ചു

ആസ്ട്രോ കേരളയുടെ തൃശൂര്‍ ജില്ലാ ഘടകത്തിന്‍റെ ആഭിമുഖ്യത്തില്‍ പ്രമുഖ ജ്യോതിശാസ്ത്രജ്ഞനായിരുന്ന സുബ്രമഹ്ണ്യം ചന്ദ്രശേഖറുടെ ജന്മശതാബ്ദി ആചരണം നടത്തി.അദ്ദേഹത്തിന്‍റെ ജീവിതത്തെയും സംഭാവനകളെയും കുറിച്ച് ആസ്ട്രോ തൃശൂര്‍ ഘടകം ചെയര്‍മാനായ ശ്രീ.പി ആര്‍ ചന്ദ്രമോഹന്‍ വിദ്യാര്‍ഥികള്‍ക്കായി ക്ലാസ് നയിച്ചു.ഒക്ടോബര്‍ 19 നു തൃശൂര്‍ ഗവ.മോഡല്‍ ഗേള്‍സ്‌ ഹൈസ്കൂളില്‍ വച്ചു  നടന്ന പരിപാടിയില്‍ ആസ്ട്രോ ഭാരവാഹി ശ്രീ അജയകുമാര്‍,സ്കൂള്‍ ഭാരവാഹികള്‍ തുടങ്ങിയവര്‍ സംബന്ധിച്ചു.നിരവധി വിദ്യാര്‍ഥികള്‍ പരിപാടിയില്‍ പങ്കെടുത്തു

NOVEMBER SKYMAP_ഈ മാസത്തെ ആകാശം

AASTRO Quiz competition accomplished to gain student mass

The quiz competition conducted by AASTRO on the centenary birth day of Dr. S. Chandrasekhar was rich in participation and knowledge. Around 80 students from various schools in Thiruvananthapuram participated actively in the contest. The program was formally inaugurated by Shri. Arul Jerald Prakash, Director of Kerala Science and Technology museum.The quiz was lead by Prof. Pappootty. Anand Justin from St. Mary's HSS, Thiruvananthapuram came first in the Higher Secondary level and Sreelakshmy V P from Govt. GHSS Cotton Hill came first in the High School level.

The quiz was followed by a lecture by Shri. D Krishna Warrier on Chandrasekhar's contribution to astrophysics and other related facts. Students, teachers, AASTRO members and many interested public participated in the program.

Astronomy Quiz for students in connection with Chandrasekhar Centenary Programs

On the centenary birthday of Indian legend in the field of astrophysics,Dr.S. Chandrasekhar, AASTRO conducts an astronomy quiz competition for High School-Higher Secondary students. The competition will start at 1.30 pm at the seminar hall of Kerala State Science and Technology Museum, PMG.  From an institution, ten students can participate in the competition (5 from HS and 5 from HSS).

Dr.C.P. Aravindakshan will moderate the competition, which will commence at 1.30 p.m. Not more than 10 students can participate from a school. Each participant will have to pay Rs.25 as registration fee at the venue. The quiz is to commemorate the birth centenary of Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, eminent Indian-born physicist and Nobel Laureate.Dr. Chandrasekhar is particularly remembered for his contributions to the study of evolution of stars in astrophysics.The quiz is  designed to give the students some new knowledge , rather than just testing their knowledge. The programme will be followed by an astronomy lecture by Prof. K. Pappootty,Director,State Institute of Encyclopedia Publications.  Students other than the participants, teachers and interested public from any field are also invited to this event.. They will get opportunity to interact with eminent people in the field.

For details, please contact Mr. Vaisakhan Thampi (9846608238) or Mr. Pradeep Attukal (9447525367)

Its the birth Centenary of a legend - Dr.Subramanyam Chandrasekhar

ChandrasekharComing October 19th is celebrated as the 100th birthday of Dr. Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar (October 19, 1910 – August 21, 1995), the Nobel laureate Indian American astrophysicist.  Chandrasekhar was tutored at home initially through middle school. Later he attended the Hindu High School, Madras  and then he studied at Presidency College, Chennai. In 1930,  Chandrasekhar went to pursue his graduate studies at the University of Cambridge with a  Government of India scholarship and became a research student of Professor R. H. Fowler. In 1933, Chandrasekhar was awarded his Ph.D. degree at Cambridge.

After studies, he was recruited as Assistant Professor in University of Chicago.He studied stellar structure, including the theory of white dwarfs and subsequently focused on stellar dynamics. Next, he concentrated on the theory of radiative transfer and the quantum theory of the negative ion of hydrogen. Then he studied the equilibrium and the stability of ellipsoidal figures of equilibrium, and also general relativity. He also studied the mathematical theory of black holes, and, finally, during the late 80s, he worked on the theory of colliding gravitational waves.

During his last years  Chandrasekhar worked on a project devoted to explaining the detailed geometric arguments in Sir Isaac Newton's Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica using the language and methods of ordinary calculus and published the book Newton's Principia for the Common Reader, in 1995.

He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1983 for his studies on the physical processes important to the structure and evolution of stars. The first Indian scientist to win a Nobel Prize, Sir C. V. Raman was his paternal uncle.

Chandrasekhar was an honorary member of the International Academy of Science. He also served as the editor of the Astrophysical Journal.

He died of heart failure in Chicago in 1995.

AASTRO will be organising various events commemorating Dr.Chandrashekhar through out the state.detailed info can be accessed from District Chapter co-ordinators

AASTRO Lecture@University College

On the backdrop of World Space Week, AASTRO conducted an Astronomy lecture on 8th October at department of Physics, University College, Thiruvananthapuram. The lecture was given by Shri.S. Rajashekar, who is a scientist from ISRO on the topic "Mysteries of the cosmos" which is the theme of present year's space week. It was a colourful presentation about the various wonders and mysteries in the universe that fire human imagination and inspire thrill. The function, presided over by AASTRO office bearer Shri. Vaisakhan Thampi,and was formally inaugurated by Dr. K. Madhosoodanan Pillai, Head of the Department of Physics, University College. Around 50 people including  teachers, undergraduate and post-graduate students in the department were present for the talk.

AASTRO Observed World Space week

As part of its World Space Week celebrations, AASTRO -Thiruvananthapuram chapter conducted a lecture series on 7th October for students and public. The program started at 3 pm at the seminar hall of Kerala State Science and Technology Museum, PMG, Thiruvananthapuram. The first lecture was presented by Dr. Thirtha Pratim Das, Scientist, VSSC about 'Discovery of H2O on Moon'. Dr. T. P. Das, with the aid of beautiful slides, lucidly presented the chronological development of the explorations that finally confirmed the presence of water on moon. The second lecture was presented by Prof. K. Pappootty, Director, State Institute of Encyclopedic Publications and President of AASTRO, about 'Astronomy and Astrology'. He briefly explained the difference between the purely scientific concepts of of Astronomy and the superstitious interpretations given to them. The lectures were followed by interactive sessions where the audience could clear their queries.

WORLD SPACE WEEK 2010

World Space Week is observed annually from October 4 to October 10 as announced by the United Nations General Assembly and has been considered as an International Celebration of Science and Technology. This day is observed for its contribution to the improvisation of the human condition. World Space Week is supported by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs with the assistance of World Space Week Association, an NGO.


Each year World Space Week commemorates this week with a mission to encourage, educate and commemorate space exploration across the world through various programs and events centered at a specific theme. For 2008 that theme was "Exploring the Universe", and for 2009 it was "Space for Education.".

The theme for World Space Week 2010 is "Mysteries of the Cosmos."

Throughout history, humans have looked to the heavens and wondered about the universe and our place within it.   Today, we are learning much about our universe but, with each answer comes more questions.   Not only do the questions deal with the nature of the galaxies and stars, but the nature of life itself.   This year World Space Week is a time to probe what we know, what it means, and what we have yet to learn about the mysteries of the cosmos.

World Space Week is a transnational observance of space science and the mileages enjoyed by the human race in terms of space-related technology. Objectives were encouraging public in space exploration, educating children, and promoting international coordination in space-related endeavors.The first World Space Week, held in 2000, was commemorated in 31 countries. The event has grown gradually with 54 countries participating in the year 2009. Participants come from every continent excluding Antarctica.

We have come a long way since the inception of human race, but we are still oblivious of the immense secrets and facts the space and astronomy holds in store for us, which will take years for us to explore.

Let’s celebrate and move a pace ahead towards the next level of development and our destination to explore even new aspects and facets of milky space in 2010, the New Year, which has already ushered in our lives with yet more hopes and with new enthusiasm.

v s / AASTRO