Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Changing times, changing interests!

myself @ IISC bookstore
         Life is strange isn't it?  How things change rapidly with time, how our interests, hobbies, passions change in course of time, no fixed time period though. Apart from Astronomy, which is inbuilt in my gene, when I was in hostel during engineering days it was Hollywood flicks & chicks. Thilak my friend inspired me to watch English movies. This was a wonderful world of story telling. I saw so many movies, that if anyone asks my favorite movies I can tell over hundred of them easily. Easy availability facilitated this, thanks to torrents & piracy; otherwise I would never have afforded so many movies. Say in 4/5 years now watching a movie has become a passé in my life. What really happens when you watch so many movies is expectations increase or other side effect is you get irritated by so many not-so-good movies coming all the time. Nowadays it blogging, writing & reading books. Just find very hard to find time, Attracted towards blogosphere which is also platform of story telling, various stories about so many things in the world & out of the world. I didn’t know such a world existed until some months before. Very young people have such an excellent command over English & write so elegantly that makes me wonder how come they have opinion about anything & everything. Some of them write so elegantly, so expressive that they bring out the exact opinion in reader’s mind they wanna convey, apart from creative writing blogging is all about beautifying your blog as well, people play with HTML like paint brush. Some blogs are so full of art & beauty. 

Thoughts_behind : IISC library has some of the best colletion of physics books, was very glad to see latest printed releases of Feynman Lectures on Physics. So many books to read, So less time left in life !

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Amateur Astronomy Workshop July,2010

BAS  conducted yet another successful workshop on July 24th & 25th. Below is the report written by me.
The same report can be found here.

       Bangalore Astronomical Society organised amateur astronomy workshop and about 55 participants were registered. A program which run for two day, covering various aspects of amateur astronomy. This workshop was mainly organised to share the learning BAS members had over the period of years. Workshop was organised in short notice but the participants made it a huge success and with all the positive feedback we have received about the workshop, we will come back soon with many more such events.

Thanks for our guests and Amateur Astronomers Prakash (ABAA) and Subramani (ABAA) for their kind support and participating in the workshop. I would like to thank, National college Jayanagar management for renting us the seminar hall, all BAS volunteers ( Vivek, Achyut, Gautham, Ravi, Viswa, Amar, Udayan, Pavan K) for their hard work in organizing and support.

Thanks for Sunil G for writing a good report about the workshop.

Looking forward for many more such workshops and participation.

Naveen Nanjundappa

Reports follows here..

In the movie ‘A walk to remember’, Jamie's ambition in her life was to ‘witness a miracle’

Well, to say this workshop was a miracle I witnessed. Other miracles being with BAS more than 2 yrs now included watching TSE with Akarsh, Pavan etc & ASE with Naveen, Sharanu etc & so many star parties with Amar, Vivek & Akarsh & so many wonderful astronomy enthusiastic friends.

First of all Congrats BAS for conducting the workshop successfully & wonderfully with so much knowledge shared among us. I had forgotten that this workshop was my idea until Akarsh told me about this! I joined BAS couple of years back, when I had completed reading 4/5 popular books like - A Brief history of time, Universe in a Nutshell etc & was wondering what’s next? From that point of time I am able to explore various aspects in astronomy being with BAS, learnt so many things from everyone...to mention a few Naveen, Amar, Akarsh, Vivek, Parag, Pavan, Rakesh, Keerthi Kiran, Achyut, Ravi babu, Goutham, Viswakeerthi, Kiran Tikare etc.

Here is a summary of what we learnt @ workshop:

> There are many aspects of Amateur astronomy, you can observe planets, deep sky objects, astrophotography, astrosketching, radio astronomy(electronics expts specially for electronics engineers), learn theoretical astrophysics, Astrometry, do experiments, build telescopes, optics, instrumentation & the list goes on. Last but not the least, hunt for meteorites, comets, supernova etc.

> Ancient astronomy, Astronomers & their contributions. Galileo Newton etc. How our concepts changed with time. Lucky people as they were blessed with good skies then!

> Various Coordinate systems, Equatorial coordinate system - Right Accession & Declination. Difficulties with coming up with the coordinate system to locate a particular point for an observer on any part of earth for apparent view of obervable sky, directions, terms like hoizon & zenith.

> Stars patterns are called Constellations - how mythology has inspired to accept amazing patterns. Identifying tips, star hopping techniques, averted vision, - present day -88 Constellations as per IAU.

How star atlas is different from a catalog ? Messier marathon - Annual event where all 110 objects can be observed in one night .

Collins Gem Night sky pocket size beginner‘s guide to identifying constellations.

Various Star charts & catalogs exist.

Messier catalog – 110 comets like objects – the most beautiful things in night sky!

> Sun, study of surface features of Sun like sunspots, prominences . Life cycle of star moon & phase lock, eclipses, TSE, ASE retrograde motion.

TSE, ASE -how lucky we are to witness such amazing phenomena. The distances between Sun & Moon & the apparent sizes of moon & sun for an observer on earth are such that they give rise to such beautiful phenomena! not only beautiful view , but during eclipses lot of experiments can be done.

Binoculars, what best you can do with binocs, care while choosing one, what 10X50 means ?

Asteroids are minor planets, orbiting between Mars & Jupiter. Vishnu Reddy, the most famous amateur astronomer from India discovered asteroids http://blog.vishnureddy.net/

Asteroids, nomenclature. Meteor craters. Lonar crater in Maharashtra is the nearest & one of the significant in the world.

> Role of atmosphere & sky conditions, Bortle scale of sky darkness.

How light pollution, clouds, city lights, water vapor or haze can play spoils sport in observations & photography. On the other hand Auroras, rings around moon sun are awesome atmospheric phenomena

DSO comprising identifying constellations, open clusters, globular clusters, asterisms, nebulae, galaxies, cluster of galaxies etc.

Difference between magnitude & surface brightness. Catalogs of DSO.

How advanced DSO involves observing & recording features like spiral arms, nebulae in other galaxies,

Averted vision, star hopping techniques.

Importance of maintaining logs of your observations

Optics concepts like magnification focal length, resolution

Instrumentation aspects , choosing binocs, telescopes, focal length, magnification, eyepieces etc

Various filters which allow certain range of frequencies of light to pass & give amazing images.

Comets are most wonderful & beautiful visitors ,

Comets, core, coma, tail, composition & Oort cloud, types of comets with some breadth taking snaps of some of the comets. Indian Comet discoverer :


Step by step guide to challenges involved in Astrophotography, techniques like SLR, Star trails, Tripod, Prime focus, manual tracking, piggy backing, Automatic mounts,

Suresh Mohan’s photographs: http://picasaweb.google.com/drsureshmohan/


Amazing phenomena which you should not miss to watch & photograph like Eclipses, Occultation, Auroras, halos around sun moon etc meteor showers.

My favourite part was :

Galaxy, classification – Elliptical, Spiral, Barred spiral, Irregular, Some irregular galaxies, Peculiar galaxies, Seyfert, Active galactic nuclei (AGN )

Our home- milky way, spiral arms etc. an observer on earth is seeing the galaxy edge on from inside! Advanced DSO includes seeing features in galaxy.


Last but not the least, how amateurs can contribute in the field of astronomy.

Share the fun & excitement of astronomy!

Thanks for the wonderful feedback, it will hep us create more enthusiasm in making Astronomy more amazing to learn.

Welcome to be a member of BAS, & share the excitement called ‘Astronomy ‘



Sometimes I wonder there just aren’t enough stars!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Happy teacher’s day

                     To all the teachers out there, I wanna express my gratitude & wish them a very happy teacher’s day. I don’t have any particular teacher in mind to call up or recall & wish exclusively, not because they were not good, but I was just different & got drifted away from my education at quite early stage, hence lesser appreciation towards things & teachers. As I a good listener, I always wanted to be a student in class room of the great scientist & teacher Dr Richard Feynman. I have been most inspired by his books & lectures & learnt so much. I wish, I could be in his class saying “Thanks professor”   .

The best books in Physics  :  Feynman Lectures on Physics

     As my sister said it - the American education system is designed in identifying & improving strengths so that people excel in what they are good at, achieving something in life,  hence the number of PhD's in US exceed by a large factor compared to India,. The Indian educational model identifying only weakness, doesn't even care about the interest of students & does not appreciate the strengths etc, hence making all people normal persons.  They invest their time & mental energy in improving their weakness whole lifetime & hence become ordinary persons just like everyone else. Education model basically should concentrate in helping students in identifying their interest. Counselling should be an essential part of the school activities. More important then that education system should focus on inculcating good values of our society & culture thus giving out responsible & best citizens for tomorrow. We must start implementing new policies which calls for an unconventional approach now ! 

Friday, September 3, 2010


This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 14; the fourteenth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.

Here goes a few lines of Aerosmith's Tune….

I could stay lost in this moment forever
Every moment spent with you is a moment I treasure
I just want to stay with you in this moment forever and ever
Don't want to close my eyes
I don't want to fall asleep
Cause I'd miss you
And I don't want to miss a thing....

                 There are quite a few occasions in my life, I have felt I can’t afford to miss even a fraction of a second without enjoying to fullest-the ecstatic moments to cherish in my entire life. Enchanting Ganapati Bappa Moraya in Pune’s splendid Ganesh Chaturti festival was an incredible experience two years back, although I missed celebration of the same back home. Those huge artistic beautiful idols, devotees in thousands, ten thousand watt speakers, dancing & celebrations all were such ecstatic moments that they can’t be described in words. I felt as though I was in another dimension of living where my mind went into some sort of a hibernation and the heart chanted prayers of Lord Ganesha. Somehow for the first time in my life, I appreciated the beauty of God & the need to be thankful to Him to whatever he has given me. A deep mystic sense of gratitude arouse in me. Everyday while leaving home, as the Lingayat tradition goes, I apply 3 horizontal lines of Vibhuti on my forehead, rapidly recite a prayer without knowing its meaning, more importantly without knowing it's significance in life & rush to live my daily life without even realizing what God meant to me. It's like, I give a power point presentation to god about my wishlist in life & erase the vibhuti as soon as I am out of mom's sight, thinking it had become a passe. 
      God is not essentially an incomprehensible form whom we blindly worship. God is a feeling, an Ehsaas, an emotion, a tribute to the creator & sustainer of life, a feeling of thankfulness etc. You can customize God to the form you like to worship, May it be in love towards your parents, profession, knowledge, possessions etc. You may see God in your beloved people, in  your family. Sounds rather bizzare- I find God in Astronomy- the subject I love the most. I find God in the love towards my family - my parents & grandparents who were freedom fighters. I have heard stories from my grandma about how Ganapati festival & processions happened in pre - independence days & hence have a sort of emotional attachment to all this. As a family tradition the idol we bring is from same shop made by the same person every year. 
         All great scientists who are logical thinkers throughout their lives are firm believers in God. This spirituality, devotion, is all beyond logic. We need a much higher level of thought process to understand & appreciate such things. Ordinary people like us who do not care much what mythology or history defines God to be, have an option to perceive & worship God in whatever form we like.
Ganesh Chaturthi, which was initiated for the purpose of national integration among Indians during days of freedom struggle, creates a wonderful atmosphere of joy, happiness celebration in home as well as in society.
I am waiting for the return of this splendid festive season, to re-live the Ganesha moments again (modaks included!).
Ganapati Bappa Morya, Purchya Varshi Laukariya !!

P.S : First job, new city, first time living away from home, no friends at all - I went to Pune & my uncle's friend picked me up & on way to his home, where I was supposed to be staying for a week, saw  Dagdusheth Ganapati  & exclaimed Whoa !  such a beautiful idol !  - first time I left saying the 'F' word for all exclamatory things, after 4 yrs of hostel life - my first dose of refinement I suppose. 
Unlike other Gods, probably the duration for which we keep Ganapati idol makes it so special, kind of missing feeling after festive season. Hope to catch up both this year - Pune's Ganapati celebrations & at my home too. For those of you who have not seen the Pune's Ganapati festival, do make a plan to be a part of the same this year.

You can get more info at : Ganesh_Chaturthi@Wiki
The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.


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