Astronomy Camp at AIS 2011

Well, this is the first blog post that I'm publishing after 2 months. I'm really sorry about the absence of updates and news as i was really busy with University academics and AIESEC work. This post is about the Astronomy camp that we conducted for the Asian International School (AIS) last 18th of March

Astronomy Camp - March 2011 at University of Colombo

I'm now gonna blog about an event that we had in our University almost 2 months back. I'm really sorry guys for dragging this such longer due to the busy schedule I've been undergoing last few months due to various reasons. Hope you don't mind me sharing in so late. Anyway here it is...

Watch Total Solar Eclipse 11th July 2010 Live Streaming from EclipseBlog

The most awaited total solar eclipse of the year 2010 is about to take place in less than next 20 hours from now. There have been a lot of groups/ individuals flocked at South Pacific islands and Chilean territories right now waiting for the eclipse to take place.

IYA2009 Commemorative Coins Issued by Many Countries Worldwide

As the title of this post hints, there were lot of countries involved in this worldwide celebration during 2009, which was the 400th anniversary of both the discovery of telescope for astronomical observation by Galileo Galilei and the publication of “Astronomia Nova” by Johannes Kepler. These were the reasons which were prominent in specifying 2009 as the IYA.

A Tribute to Fiami the author of The Lives of Galileo

I have already made a post about Fiami, and his great gift that I received during the Christmas season. I got many great feedback on that and even my friends wanted to read it, as none of them had the comic book with them, So I thought of doing a youtube video featuring Fiami

The Blog Has Moved !

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Fiami Sent me a Christmas Gift for IYA2009 : The Lives of Galileo

This was the most amazing bit of highlight that I've got at the moment. It is all about Fiami and his generosity. Yep, he send me a hard copy of his book "Lives of Galileo". I received the English version during this Christmas week, and I was very delighted to have received it. I'm sure I'll never ever forget this in my life. I've also attached the images of the book and you can browse them here. Credit should go to my Uni friend Lakitha for photos.

I have been trying to get this amazing science, astronomy much popularized among all. Therefore I believe Fiami's this exceptional service should be highly valued and appraised, for Fiami, himself has devoted to the course of popularization of astronomy by publishing a book, which depicts the world history and he takes the reader on a tour to different parts of human history with Galileo.
fiami, iya2009, lives, galileo, galilei

Galileo Galilei, whom after the IYA2009 has most been talked about, is significantly brought closer to general public by Fiami. Fiami gretely contributed to IYA2009 with his comic book "The Lives Of Galileo" and his comic book was translated to over 10 languages worldwide, thus boosting the meaning and theme of IYA2009,:- Discovering the universe yourself !!

fiami, iya2009, lives, galileo, galilei

In addition I take this opportunity to thank and congratulate Fiami for the service he's rendered to everybody !!

You can also browse for detailed stuff for Fiami's site

Merry Christmas with IYA2009

This is the Christmas season, and it's so much special because of this is IYA2009 !!
A Christmas in the International Year of Astronomy, However these are late wishes from me to you all !!

This was due to my absence in online during the Christmas season, In fact I went to Southeastern Sri Lanka for the small break I had. I went with my friends down to Tangalle, a coastal area some 220Km far from capital Colombo.

Merry, Christmas,  IYA2009

And I have good NEWS, The skies in Tangalle were clearer and less polluted. I looked at the the heavens so eagerly grabbing the pure sight which is not polluted with human activity, as in Colombo. We also enjoyed the beaches and had a fine visit in Tangalle and I believe this trip to Tangalle brought me an insight in IYA2009, which was finding a perfect place for observation,

I'm pretty sure I'll visit this place again with more equipment and a crew to observe the better skies.

However these are my seasonal greetings for you in this IYA2009

Merry Christmas folks !!
Joyeux Noël!
Frohe Weihnachten !!
Wesołych Świąt!
Buon Natale!
Feliz Natal!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

IYA2009 Closing Ceremony

Preliminary IYA2009 Closing Ceremony Programme


10:00-13.30 REGISTRATION

Session I. Welcome & the IYA2009

14:00-15:00 Welcome addresses:

Università di Padova Rector; Padova Mayor; W. Erdelen (UNESCO); R. Williams (IAU President); Tommaso Maccacaro (INAF President), Italian University & Research Minister *

15:00-15:30 Catherine Cesarsky: "Overview of IYA2009"

15:30-16:00 COFFEE BREAK

Session II IYA2009 in the World

16:00-16:20 Pedro Russo: "Coordinating IYA2009"

16:20-16:40 Lars Lindberg Christensen: "What Worked Best in IYA 2009"

16:40-18:10 Six 15-minutes talks by SPoCs: "IYA2009 Activities & their Impact"

Dr. Claudio Moises Paulo (Mozambique); Ms. Hoda El-Mikaty (Egypt); Prof. Maria Cristina Pineda (Honduras) Dr. Nguyen Quynh Lan (Viet Nam); Dr. Irina Vavilova (Ukraine); Prof. Ranjeev Misra (India)

18:10-18:20 Reynald Seznec (President and CEO of Thales Alenia Space)



Session III. Legacy of Galileo

9:00-9:30 Francesco Palla: "Stars & Planets of Galileo"

9:30-10:00 Paolo Rossi: "Galileo and the Development of Scientific Thought"*

10:00-10:30 George Coyne: "Galileo & the Church: Lessons Learned"

10:30-11:00 COFFEE BREAK

Session IV. Science & Society

11:00-11:30 TBD

11:30-12:00 Norio Kaifu: "Impact of Astronomy and IYA2009 on Asian Society"

12:00-12:30 George Miley: "Importance of Science Education to Society"

12:30-14:00 LUNCH

Session V. Astronomy After the IYA

14:00-14:30 Isabelle Grenier: "Astronomy at all Wavelengths"

14:30-15:00 Roberto Gilmozzi: "Large Ground-based Optical Telescopes"

15:00-15:30 Ron Ekers: "Large Radio Astronomy Projects"

15:30-16:00 COFFEE BREAK

16:00-16:30 Antonella Nota: "Future of Space Astronomy"

16:30-17:00 Robert Williams: "The IAU & Astronomy After the IYA2009"

17:05 Closure of the IYA2009

Browse more stuff @

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

9 Days left in IYA2009

There are only 9 days left for this so cherished IYA2009. In fact it was a great year right from the beginning. In Sri Lanka I can recall how the things got kicked off in January 2009.

First we had the partial solar eclipse in January on 26th. Then came the green comet Lulin, then a lot of cornerstone and special IYA2009 projects also came into effect. Afterwards, the Hundred Hours of Astronomy / 100HA was an amazing experience with the heavens.

Meantime a wide range of outreach projects also took place, you can browse the whole archive here and I'm just rushing through the key events that took place locally and globally. We also conducted seasonal Observation Camps for the benefit of school children and amateur astronomers.

Eyes on the skies was also hit with huge attention during the course of popularizing the IYA2009 and Galileo's 400-year-old legacy the Galileoscope. Many countries issued stamps (Malta/ Italy) and even coins (Australian Royal Mint) in celebration of this mammoth milestone of astronomy. Of course you can browse this blog's archive and found out the stories themselves, that I have blogged earlier.

Globe at Night, From Earth to the Universe and other IYA2009 projects were successful although there were some problems from weather.

We had also the chance of witnessing the eclipse which was on last July.

In September 2009 we had the largest IYA project of Sri Lanka which was Star Party 2009, organized by Ananda College and Mahamaya Girls College. It was also a victory that we were able to feature Star Party 2009 as a Galilean Nights project although the majority of Galilean Nights was held in October.

We also did a podcast for 365days of astronomy and it was the very 1st podcast done by Sri Lanka for this podcast series. We also continued the weekly radio program on Astronomy "Taru Widu Saraniya" @ SLBC. SkyLK was the first astronomy resource for Sri Lankans right from the beginning of IYA2009, providing people with astronomy. IYA2009 news and knowledge.

Thus IYA2009 is coming to the end, Only 9 days left and many of the Earthlings were able to observe the skies and get some know-how than they did previously, discovering the universe on their own.

I feel gkad to have blogged for IYA2009 and being the blogger from Sri Lanka for IYA2009, contributing to the internet with updated details on the niche !!!

Long Live IYA2009 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Another Interesting Story for IYA2009 from Jam Jamam

This is such a wonderful story that I came to know yesterday from my Facebook friend Jam Jamam, I thought you guys would also like to hear it and am just gonna blog about it.

The wonderful day was last Friday, to be precise the 11th of December 2009. Jam and his friends have had a wonderful session of observation and analysis with sophisticated equipment. I believe the session had been so exciting and is really appealing to me, who has never been with such high-tech astronomy stuff so far, In his gallery Jam had uploaded those pictures, he's taken during the unforgettable night.

From his location @ DSO, Normandy, France Jam conducted all this stuff and here are the images of them.

The above image is the conrtol room and here you can see Jam is more concentrating on the screen on left rather than the other, which portrays the Facebook page. The left screen features the Rosette nebula and see guys, what an incredible photo it is !!

Above is the chamber allocated for the telescope and as per Jam the temperature inside was 4 degrees Celsius.

And next is a raw image that Jam's taken featuring Rosette Nebula.
I hope that it won't take Jam a long time to process and decipher the valuable data embedded in those images.. Jam's smart !!

Below is the famous Orion nebula through Jam's equipment. (Focus on the belt to see the nebula, not the whole constellation)

Here you go through the Horse Head nebula, wonderful !! (Rotate it 90 degrees anticlockwise to get the usual image)

However the analyzed data will be featured on Jam's website at and you are encouraged to pay a visit and browse a lot of astronomy data !!

Thank you again Jam for sharing the story !!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Celebrating Sir Arthur C Clarke's 92nd Birth Anniversary

I believe he's the person of the last century. The mastermind who revolutionized the process of communication, while visualizing about a realistic futurism. Sir Arthur Clarke has already left his legacies behind for all of us, for the whole humanity. Sri Lanka is today proud to have had such a person as a resident throughout many decades. However I believe that it's the time we paid tribute to him in memory of his contributions and ideas in this context, where the 92nd birth anniversary of Sir Arthur Clarke falls on next 16th. (Just 4 days left).

Sri Lankabhimanya Sir Arthur Charles Clarke was born on 16th December 1917 in Minehead, England. Then onwards he led a "diverse career" in his own words, being a space promoter, science popularizer, underwater explorer, and a Sci-Fi author. Well, I don't mean to plagiarize what wikipedia has. If you want the bio, go here to wikipedia.
Celebrating Sir Arthur C Clarke's 92nd Birth Anniversary
However I'm happy that Sir Clarke's last wish (Achieving lasting peace in Sri Lanka) out of his 3 wishes on his 90th birthday, has today come true. May the other 2 will come true sooner rather than later !!

As I guess, locally there would be some programs to celebrate the 92nd birth anniversary of Sir Clarke. Especially as this is IYA2009, there could be interesting turnouts to happen in felicitating Sir Arthur Clarke. Arthur C Clarke Institute for Modern Technologies, (ACCMT) should lead this ceremonies as far as I'm concerned. However it doesn't matter whoever pays tribute as long as Sir Clarke is cherished.

So guys, my wish in the end is that you blog about Sir Clarke on your blogs during this week.
Let as many people as possible to discover the importance of contributions that he had rendered.
I encourage everybody to blog about Sir Clarke celebrating his 92nd Birth Anniversary.

And let me know you idea on that suggestion as well.

Here is Sir Clarke making his speech on his 90th B'day (16th December 2007)

More information:

FYOSA Ends with Success Achieved

As you have been aware from my previous posts, FYOSA (Forty Years of Space Age & Beyond) took place at the premises of Royal College, Colombo as one of the key IYA2009 projects of Sri Lanka. The FYOSA proved to be a magnificent collaboration of astronomy and had a massive multitude of 6000+ visitors during its 2-day duration from 8th to 9th December.

FYOSA was basically conducted with 3 segments which were a workshop, a Sci-Fi competition and a Moon rock exhibition, which showcased stardust from legendary Apollo 11.

Here you can watch the trailer of FYOSA and you can watch it here...

More details would be found here at Thilina's blog..

Friday, December 11, 2009

Recording Taru Widu Saraniya The Astronomy Colloquium on Radio @ SLBC

Apart from the special happening of my blog's celebrating its 1st anniversary there was also another news to blog about. It was the recording session we had @ SLBC (Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation) yesterday evening.

I think you guys are aware of Tharu Widu Saraniya, of which I've blogged before in a previous post, which is here.

The radio broadcast is conducted by Chinthaka Weerakoone, a 3rd-year medical student of University of Sri Jayawaradanepura, Colombo. Tharu Widu Saraniya is broadcast once a week on Wednesdays from 4:30 pm onwards in the local radio channel "Swadeshiiya Sewaya" via FM 90.3 and 97.3

Except Chinthaka Weerakoone, himself there were 3 other contributors for the recording of radio broadcast including me. We were Prasanna Deshapriya, (me) Hasitha Karunarathne and Madusha Dedigamuwa from SkyLK. I represented Mathematical & Astronomical Society of University of Colombo.

Altogether there were about 6 recordings and we talked about modern trends of astronomy such as the up coming Sir Clarke's 92nd birth anniversary on 16th December 2009. We also discussed about the latest finding that reveals that CH4 / Methane of Mars is originated from a metabolic process of existing life. We also shared our ideas about 2012 hoax of word's end and lot of stuff.

So guys, you too can listen to the radio broadcast at above mentioned time lines. Then let us know what you think and moreover you can stand a chance to win an "Ahasa ' magazine for yourself if you answer the question asked at the end of the program.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

1st Anniversary of IYA2009 Astronomy Sri Lanka Blog

Happy Anniversary !!!

Guys, I'm so happy today as today marks the 365th day since the start of this blog. In other words, this IYA2009 blog celebrates its 1st anniversary today. Yes, literally I started this task of blogging on 10th December 2008. You can refer to the archives in this blog for verification !! It's been a whole year full of exciting IYA endeavors throughout !!

I feel it's exciting to be a blogger of astronomy as you have updated news regularly to blog about.

Initially this blog was started as a my own idea and I tired to blog as frequent as possible updating you people with regular news regrading IYA2009. Right from the beginning there were a lot of people who were supportive for my task of blogging. They include Prof. Kavan Ratnatunga, the SPoC of national node of Sri Lanka, Mr. Thilina Heenatigala, the national node secretary, Mr. Hasitha Karunaratne and Mr. Anuradha Jayathilake the webmasters of and many others to whom my sincere thank goes out to.

1st Anniversary of IYA2009 Astronomy Sri Lanka Blog

I'd also thank you people the community around me for encouraging me with your valuable ideas via comments and keeping me up throughout the blogging. Therefore it's my sincere wish that you would join hands with me in this endeavor of promoting and sharing stuff for IYA2009.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

CH4 on Red Planet; Mars has origins of life or water, or both: Researches Suggest

According to a latest research Methane (Chemical Formula CH4; where 4 is sub-scripted) on Mars comes as a result of a meteorite impact taken place many eras ago, is no longer valid. New hypotheses include either of following candidates or both may be.

The first idea is that CH4 could be a by-product of some metabolism, happening with animalcules on Red Planet and the other suggestion of the research says it could be a consequence of Martian seismic activity.

Initially Methane on Mars was detected a decade back in 1999 and again at regular intervals. However there was not strong suggestion earlier about the origin of the organic gas CH4 on Mars.

CH4 on Red Planet Mars has origins of life or water, or both: Researches Suggest
The lifetime of Martian Methane is not longer than few centuries as an atmospheric chemical reaction depletes it together with the sunlight.

The research was conducted by Imperial College London.

Therefore this would be a god news for all of you to enjoy !!

Read more stuff here with Universe Today.

2009 Geminids Meteor Shower: A Chance not to be missed in IYA2009

Guys, Get ready have your stuff arranged outdoors, Make the Binos ready !!!

Well, you might ask me what's the hack's going on and what I'm so much impressed about, Yes it's a big thing.. A bigger thing compared to past years, The Geminids on the Way, Hopefully as per the calculations the Geminids 2009 will likely to be more happening. Yep the best meteor shower in whole IYA2009, is about to show off.

Conditions will be ideals for you if you're located in North America, nut if you aren't don't give up I say. It would be a long cold night probably there in the US during next few days. As per the Bill Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office, the peak of 2009 Geminids meteor shower will peak on 13th and 14th of December 2009. Let's see what the International Meteor Organization, has got to say,. They say that the maximum activity should occur around 12:10 a.m. EST (0510 UT) on Dec. 14th 2009.

Now let's see what Geminids is all about. In fact it's 3200 Phaethon which is the matter of focus.
It's now a dead comet that orbited the sun and has evolved into a stream of star dust today. As the Earth makes its way around the sun, the 3200 Phaethon is encountered during mid-December. Apparently the 3200 Phaethon, which is nothing more than a piece of rocks stuff makes its presence in the foreground of constellation Gemini, hence the name Geminids is coined.

Here is a graph plotted by Bill Cooke in order to have an idea on how the meteor shower will evolve and has already evolved throughout the decades. According to the latest data, one could assume that there would be 140-200 counts per hour during the peak as 3200 Phaethon is passed with its celestial debris.

2009 Geminid Meteor Shower: A Chance not to be missed in IYA2009
Have a break and Enjoy the Geminids from your end !!

I'm pretty sure this would prove to be an unforgettable experience for all in this later part of IYA2009..

Galileoscope Another Legacy of IYA2009

It seems like that IYA2009 is leaving us with a lot of legacies left behind. I think many of you guys have experienced Galilean moments and funny moments in this IYA2009. However for us Sri Lankans it was unable to get Galileoscopes and even IYA2009 Firstscope as a legendary tool and as well as a souvenir to cherish the International Year of Astronomy 2009. I tired to get them down via the national node but the efforts didn't succeed.

However I believe that there are ample of people with Galileoscopes with them at the moment,
Therefore I'm posting this youtube video to show you how how to assemble and utilized, mount the Galileoscope out of the pack. This clearly shows how it's done perfectly.

Of course, you might wonder what could be seen with a Galileoscope ?

Yes it's so amazing that IYA2009 has been able to replicate astronomy genius Galileo's telescope with today's material. You can observe the crater of Moon, the phases of Venus, the Jovian Jupiter complete with Galilean satellites, Saturn's rings and many celestial and heavenly objects that are too much faded/ invisible to be seen with naked eye. I thank for the collective efforts of International Astronomical Union (IAU), United Nations Educational, Scientific & Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

So here is the video....

Furthermore, as I believe this video will be able to give an insight and reflect the IYA2009's legacy Galileoscope for the people who are unable to have it so far. Everyone is encouraged to get a Galileoscope and go out in the night for observing heavens even in this latter past of IYA2009. (See: only 22 days or just 3 weeks left in this IYA2009 ) Hurry up guys !! Grab your IYA2009 souvenir Galileoscope right now ASAP.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Bringing Astronomy to Galle : Another Outreach Project in IYA2009

IYA2009 is now almost at the end. Already more than 11 months have passed my leaving ourselves with amazing legacies to cherish. I'm publishing this post as the 119th post of this IYA2009 blog. In fact this is an update about the latest outreach project I contributed.

I got in touch with this through the Department of Physics, University of Colombo, where I'm reading for my B.Sc at the moment. Especially I would like to thank Ms. Monika Madhavee, Mr. Buddhika Priyasad, Ms. Chethya Vidanapathirana of MAS (Mathematical & Astronomical Society) of UoC (University of Colombo) who made me aware of this outreach project and encouraged me in many instances during the scope of the project.

So let's go ahead with the story...

In fact this project was conducted by the NSF (National Science Foundation), Sri Lanka together with the Universities of Colombo & Kelaniya. I was affiliated to the crew of University of Colombo during this project and contributed to the astronomy segment of the project (Project was comprised of a bunch of sciences such as Chemistry, Physics, Astronomy, Geology, Botany, Zoology, Electronics, etc and each segment was headed by a professional of the field). In our crew, were senior lectures of Department of Physics, Dr. Gamini Piyadasa & Dr. Gomez together with demonstrators from the same department and other departments as well. I had 2 of my batch mates also in our crew, namely Kasun Madushanka & Thilini Dilhara.
Bringing Astronomy to Galle : Another Outreach Project in IYA2009
We left Colombo around 6.30 am in the morning of 3rd of December 2009 towards Galle. As we were supposed to conduct the astronomy session/ segment we brought a Newtonian telescope and some lenses to demonstrate how the idea came into being initially. Our destination was the President's Girls School, Walahanduwa, Galle and we arrived there at about 9.45 am. The school was a government school which was built after the tsunami catastrophe devastated the local coastal area back in 2004.

This outreach project was a workshop, in fact and we had an audience from Grades 6-8. In addition to the girls of President's Girls School, there were other children from nearby schools such as Richmond College, Siri Dhamma Vidyalaya, Sangamitta Vidyalaya, etc. Within a short while after the arrival, were welcome by the School staff and we set up our individual built-in mobile labs where we were gonna demonstrate different science stuff.

I, Kasun & Thilini were the conductors of astronomy session. We mounted the Newtonian telescope that Kasun had bought few months ago and focused it to distant objects. However I should say that we had to use simple language, free of scientific terms as we were dealing with secondary level children. This made it easy for them to understand the session and learn new astronomy stuff.

By the end of the workshop we had 8 sessions with 8 (10-15 members in a single group )groups each of which lasted for about 45 minutes. We educated the children not only on the astronomy and telescope, but also on the grounds of IYA2009 and Galileo with a brief explanation on significance of IYA2009. It was glad to see that the students were being really enthusiastic and learning new things about the most ancient science on Earth.

Moreover we demonstrated how the idea of tele-scope (later known as telescope) came into being with thanks to the efforts of Hans Lippershey and then further developed/ utilized for astronomical means by the great scientist Galileo Galilei, 400 yeas back in 1609.

We conducted the sessions towards 4.00 pm and all of a sudden it began to rain as well. (Refer to weather report on 3rd Dec). In the closing ceremony we distributed valuable gift packs, sponsored by NSF among the participants. We came back to Colombo in the late evening at about 8.00 pm amidst heavy showers.

I hope there would be more programs like this to boost the knowledge of school children on astronomy and science in general in order to make them understand the importance of those fundamental sciences and learn how the nature behaves. So far IYA2009 has been so successful in bringing this out with its unique theme UNIVERSE YOURS TO DISCOVER.

Friday, November 27, 2009

The SkyLK's Legacy of IYA2009: Special Award of Sinhalese Blogging Competition

This is the latest wonderful news that is fast spreading in Sri Lanka at the moment. It's not more than 6 hours since the awarding ceremony of Sinhalese blogging Competition. The SkyLK blog was awarded a special prize at this ceremony held by the Royal College IT unit. It can be concluded that SkyLK received the legacy of IYA2009, at the time when IYA 2009 is reaching its conclusion.

What a wonderful way to be paid tributes !! Here is the certificate SkyLK received. A big thank goes out to SkyLK for its endeavors in ameliorating the astronomy knowledge of locals to a higher level with manifold initiatives, varying in the range of updated podcast, blog posts, youtube videos, downloads (astronomy software like stellarium), important PDFs and significantly the online registration facility for Star Party 2009, enabled during the Largest IYA 2009 project of Sri Lanka.

The SkyLK's Legacy of IYA2009: Special Award of Sinhalese Blogging Competition

Here is the outstanding SkyLK team.

Anuradha Jayathilake
Hasitha Karunaratne
Madusha Dedigamuwa

Congratulations guys, you deserve it, the legacy of IYA2009 !!!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

40years of Space Age & Beyond - FYOSA- by Royal College Astronomical Society

International Year of Astronomy is fast reaching its irresistible end at the moment, However the people have not given up their endeavors in organizing mega events to celebrate the 400th anniversary of first Galilean telescopic observations back in 1609. Especially the students of RCAS- Royal College Astronomical Society have prepared themselves to showcase yet an extraordinary event for IYA2009.

Yes, literally speaking these young fellas have come up with a great theme - 40Years of Space Age & Beyond. What a theme for an IYA event !!40years of Space Age & Beyond ,FYOSA, Royal College Astronomical Society

This will be the largest IYA 2009 project organized by RCAS integrating an astronomy workshop, Sci-Fi competition, and an elegant exhibition featuring the moon rocks from the memorial Apollo 11. The event will take place from 8th to 9th of December 2009.

The Royal College Astronomical Society, which has a history of more than 4 decades, has contributed immensely towards the enhancement of astronomy and science in Sri Lanka. Its projects have been successful in ameliorating individual skills to professional levels, enabling students to find their careers in astronomy. One such example is Professor Kavan U Ratnatunga, who is an alumnus of RCAS.

40years of Space Age & Beyond ,FYOSA, Royal College Astronomical Society
Well, the workshop of FYOSA will focus on space programs of last 40 years, and future missions to space, plus colonies in extra terrestrial territories. (I hope Virgin Galactic/ Spaceport owner, Richard Branson will have some idea to share with, lol). As I remember the workshop is an annual event that the RCAS has been going ahead with. For sure, it will have more highlight with FYOSA in this IYA2009

More info here:

Furthermore the moonstones from memorial Apollo 11, that were presented to Sri Lanka from the US president Richard Nixon, will be on display during the 2 days. This would be historical as these stones are usually not displayed for public, without any special cause. So guys, don't miss out this great chance. Have either of 8 and 9, or both free to visit the Royal College, Colombo and be an eye-witness of this historical change. Moreover some important and valuable photographs taken from Apollo 11 will also be displayed together with the moonstones during the exhibition session.


The awarding ceremony of Sci-Fi competition will also take place during this great event. I have earlier posted about the competition in this blog and you may find some important details here as well.

The official news is here too

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Youtube Video of IYA2009 Featured Scientist of the Day

I hope all of you guys remembers the series of featured scientists that I introduced under an enhancement step for this IYA2009 blog. Now they are all collected in this video. You can watch them all with this video and enjoy.

Please do contribute to spreading news information on lives of these eminent scientists, whose knowledge has immensely contributed towards the understanding of Universe. Starting from early ages, the series expands to modern Scientists, who lived in the industrialized world as well.

Here is the video for you to enjoy !!!

Please note that the above picture is a courtesy of Asia Travel

Friday, November 13, 2009

Send Your Messege to Venus along with Your Name; Your Gift for IYA2009

Today, I come back to you with this cool news, which will make many of you amazed. Yes, it's true. Now you can send your name to Venus together with your name aboard AKATSUKI, (Planet-C) The Venus Climate Orbiter, scheduled to be launched in 2010 by JAXA (Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency)

According to their project, JAXA is allowing anyone, interested to send their names across AKATSUKI to Venus. You can send them online @ following page of JAXA site.

Momentarily you will be given a certificate upon the submission of the message together with your name. The certificate portrays your message together with your name in an elegant manner. I have attached mine here for you guys to have a look. All the messages will be etched on Aluminum plate prior to them being put aboard AKATSUKI, The Venus Climate Orbiter.

Send Your Massege to Venus along with Your Name; Your Gift for IYA2009

Since the deadline is 25th Dec 2009, be hurry and spread the message among friends.

In addition this is carried out with respect to IYA 2009 by International Year of Astronomy 2009 Japan Committee, which presently manages the message campaign, allowing anyone on Earth to send their wishes and thoughts to the Goddess of Beauty , Venus. This message campaign is aimed at improving the understanding of Japanese space science research activities, thus enabling the general Japanese IYA2009 missions to be accomplished as well.

I can also recall few years back when I got the Change to send a message aboard a spacecraft for the very first time, the Selene project, which was also carried out by JAXA. It was during 2006/2007 I guess. I still have the certificate that I received upon submitting the message.

Therefore you're strongly encouraged to send a message in this special year of IYA2009.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A UNAWE project @ HFC, Dehiwala : Featured with IYA2009 & Observation Astronomy

A UNAWE Project for Girl Guides : A Session with Celestial Stuff

In fact I think that I should have blogged this earlier. However now the story has already hit the UNAWE site, thanks to Dr. Carolina Ödman, the Single Point of Contact of UNAWE. This has already fallen as an IYA event into IYA 2009 projects of Sri Lanka.
A UNAWE Project for Girl Guides : A Session with Celestial Stuff
This project was organized in last August, by the Girl Guides of Holy Family Convent Dehivala, Sri Lanka. There was a participation of over 50+ students for the event, which is also tagged as the very first program of UNAWE in Sri Lanka. The students who were from Grades 6 to 9 got a chance to have a scope on looking at heavens. In addition to students, there were teachers among those who took part to the wonderful evening that was more focused to celestial stuff rather than the old syllabi of school, and text books.

My colleague Thilina Heenatigala who is also the IYA2009 Sri Lanka National Node Secretary, gave an introduction to Observation Astronomy as initial outset of the program. Afterward Dimuth Waliwitiya, who also happens to be a colleague of mine, gave an overview on how to use star maps in dealing with the starry nights. It was very educative for students to improve their knowledge on how to recognize a patter of a constellation and then make out what the constellation really is. Then came the practical observation session, where the duo divided the students into 2 groups and conducted group sessions to further boost the understanding of heavens. Hopefully this ended up in allowing the students, themselves to determine the constellation prior to looking at and verifying the starts, and constellations, all of which proved to be successful. The evening session concluded merrily with the dinner leaving with everyone, a delightful evening with stars in their mind.

So that's the old story I missed to blog. You can also refer to Carolina's article here @ UNAWE site.

Here are some random images depicting how the event went.

A UNAWE Project for Girl Guides : A Session with Celestial StuffDimuth among students @ star map session
A UNAWE Project for Girl Guides : A Session with Celestial Stuff
Thilina @ the lecture sessionA UNAWE Project for Girl Guides : A Session with Celestial Stuff
Students, stargazing !!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Annual Astronomy Workshop 2009 at Southlands College, Galle, Sri Lanka

It was the last day of the October in fact. The 31st to be precise. The day dawned with promising sun light from the East. However we were supposed to travel to South , to Galle for the annual Astronomy Workshop of Southlands College. I think doing many outreach programs like this will help the students/ children in farther areas, to develop their knowledge on science and astronomy in general. They have limited resources and it's an obligation of ours to help them enjoy the life with the beauty of astronomy in this IYA2009.

Well let's go ahead with the story !! We left from Colombo at about 7:00 am in the morning. Here is the outreach crew.

  • Professor Kavan U Ratnatunga
  • Mr. Thilina Heenatigala
  • Mr. Pulasthi Kanattage
  • Ms. Monika Madhavi
  • Mr. Buddhika Priyasad
  • Mr. Lasitha Senaratne
  • Mr. Prasanna Deshapriya (me)
  • Mr. Thishan Pavithra
  • Mr. Thanura Hashantha
It was great to visit Galle town after sometime and the weather was supporting us for the workshop, which was coming ahead. One can find the historical Galle Fort when getting into the Southlands College. You have to go through a small tunnel-like structure when getting into the college. We had a warm welcome, which was featured with an escort of band parade.

After the opening ceremony the workshop commenced with a lecture by Professor Kavan. The lecture delivered a scope on occultations and especially focused on upcoming Eclipse in January 2010. (You can read Prof Kavan's article here @ lakdiva site : This was featured on Sundaytimes as well)

Then everyone had lunch and we got ourselves prepared for the workshop. Basically there were few activities which were led by us. Following were the activities conducted.

1. Space Shuttle Model
2. Moon Colony
3. Discovery Shuttle Model
4. Model of International Space Station

model of the moon colony

The activities were interesting and students were able to learn something new and it was adorable to notice them enthusiastically taking part in activities. I have included some photos taken whcih highlights the activity session.

model of the moon colony

Annually Southlands College organizes such events like this which also include occasional nigh camps. If you are a frequent visitor to my blog, you might be aware of the previous events, which were organized by the Southlands College Galle. Especially I blogged about night camps they organized for the IYA2009

Special thanks should go out to Ms Nandanee & Kushani Imalsha for the co-coordinating purposes.

Friday, October 30, 2009

My Tribute to IYA 2009 : A Poem on Pluto

Here is my tribute to IYA 2009: A Poem

I composed this in early 2007, when I was the president of Anandian Astronomical Association for the years 2006/2007. However now it's the almost the end of 2009. Therefore, while IYA 2009 is still due, I hit on the idea of paying tribute to the Galileo's efforts with my poem which has not yet been published online. however it was printed on this years Star Party 2009 souvenir for the first time and I had good feedback on it. It was the era when Pluto was subject to many colloquial talks on astronomy. They were debating whether Pluto was a planet. I felt sad for Pluto and I though of composing a poem, from the perspective of Pluto.
My Tribute to IYA 2009 : A Poem on Pluto
Here is my poem..

Enjoy it !!!


Who am I?

Once was the quest of the Earthmen
Being so nicely shaped and probed
Who wanted me most were astrologers
Instead astronomers made me unclassified

Although far and smallest may I be
I feel I deserve a place you see
To be precise and to be a planet née
Hey all the summit members, vote for me

There will be a day, where you pay nemesis
Just for not letting me in the premises
Along with Nix and Hydra paying off my genesis
You could have seen me ill-treated Einstein the physicist

Artifacts will ever fly by
Even New Horizons may sometimes lie
Having this in mind I shall cry
I don’t know who am I ?

Composition :- J D Prasanna Deshapriya

Update 06/10/2014

Pluto to become a planet again ?

Well, after what is a matter of more than 5 years, from the above online publication and after 7 years from the original printed publication, my plea for reconsideration of Ploto for planethood seems to have been answered. Apparently there is a debate currently taking place in the community of astronomers whether Pluto should be validated and upgraded as a planet. Things seem a bit dramatic and we have to wait for the final endorsement from IAU, whether Pluto is no longer a dwarf planet. 

IYA 2009 Astronomy Sri Lanka just received Google PageRank 5

It's not a short while ago that I came to know Google PageRank has just updated. I usually tend to look at the Google tool bar's PR button when a page loads. For my surprise I had got PageRank 5. I was earlier with Google PageRank 4 for this IYA2009 astronomy blog and now I'm glad to have done that. That's why I made this quick post.

Improving PageRank is not very easy. You have to focus on building quality backlinks and updating the site with quality content regularly. In addition you should be patient as well, Last time I jumped into PR 4 from PR 0 during the last week of May 2009. That's when the last update of Google PageRank had been,

IYA 2009 Astronomy Sri Lanka just receive Google PageRank 5

I also hope you guys have also received PR updates and if so, please share the news.

You may also see the proof here with this image.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A random Idea I have: Do Atoms & Solar System (Planetary System) share a similarity?

This is one of those freaky matters that I have been thinking of, over the course of time. Now I though of posting it here and getting ready for a better discussion, argument or whatever.

So let's straightly get into the topic. I have also supplied pictures to illustrate the idea. Basically, an atom is of course made up of electrons, neutrons & protons. The electrons orbit the the nucleus, which houses the protons and neutrons. Hence the nucleus is positively charged and since the negatively charged electrons orbit the nucleus, in a nutshell, we can say the atom is neutral.A random Idea I have: Do Atoms & Solar System (Planetary System) share a similarity

Now let's focus on solar system. There is the mighty sun in the center, and there are other planets orbiting the sun. Therefore this is the basic anatomy of the planetary system. Now what I'm gonna do is compare the features of both systems and try to arrive at a compromise if possible.A random Idea I have: Do Atoms & Solar System (Planetary System) share a similarity

Let's take the nucleus. Now we can take the sun on the other hand, corresponding to the nucleus.

  • Both nucleus & sun are located in the center of the system.
  • Planets orbit the sun, whereas the electrons orbit the nucleus.
  • Planets go in orbits and electrons follow orbitals.

Planets move at slower speeds, compared to electrons, whose speeds are near C, which is the speed of the light, being 3x10^8 meters per second. Although there are many similarities shared by both systems, this seems , to me, as a contradiction. However there could also be a relationship, which is not derived yet and which is able to explain by taking, the sizes of the systems into account. May be the speed can be inversely proportional to the size of the system.

To add to the above facts, one can also claim that the clusters, and even super clusters have the same movement, which relates of a system, whose elements are orbiting a centered object.

This is the main focus of the today's post and I'm open for any argument or debate,

Your feedback is welcome !!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Series of Lectures by MAS UoC: Lecture 1- Space Shuttles

The Mathematical & Astronomical Society (MAS) of University of Colombo (UoC) has arranged a new lecture series, commencing from Friday, 23rd October 2009. The lectures are scheduled to continue weekly through the 1st semester of the academic year.

The lecturers will be fourth year students, who have been qualified for a special degree and office bearers of the society. Lecturers include following personnel.

  • Ms. Monika Madhavi - President
  • Mr. Buddhika Priyasad - Vice President
  • Mr. Lasitha Senaratne - Editor
The lectures will be delivered at the PSR (Physics Seminar Room), Department of Physics, UoC from 4 .00 pm onwards.

The Lecture No 01- Space Shuttles

A Series of Lectures by MAS UoC: Lecture 1- Space Shuttles
The very first lecture was on space shuttles and was delivered by Mr. Buddhika Priyasad - Vice President of MAS.

The lecturer Mr. Buddhika Priyasad interactively conducted the lecture and I also came to know more about the Space Shuttles and their structure. He explained how the 1st Space Shuttle was launched back in 12th April 1981, while 2 passengers John W Young & Robert L Crippon were aboard. Then there was more explanation on "anatomy" of a shuttle, ranging from SRDs (Solid Rocket Boosters), engines, ETs (External Tanks) to orbiter.

There was also a video featuring the launch of a Shuttle, which was impressive. In addition there was a live streaming of the lecture via official site @

If you have missed the lecture, still you can watch the archived videos here.

Recorded video clips - Lecture - 2009-10-23 - by Buddhika Priyasad

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Sri Lankan Team @ 3rd International Olympiad of Astronomy & Astrophysics, Tehran, Iran

It's just a while ago, that I got the updated images of the Sri Lankan delegation who left on 17th instant for the 3rd IOAA, at Tehran, Iran. In fact the delegation composed of 5 individual students, who were qualified via the national Olympiad on Astronomy & Astrophysics, together with the leader Dr. Chandana Jayarathne, who also is a senior staff member of Faculty of Science, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka and Mr. Saraj Gunasekera .

Sri Lankan Team @ 3rd International Olympiad of Astronomy & Astrophysics, Tehran, IranAbove you can see the Sri Lankan delegation majestically posing with our national flag- The Lion Flag

The delegation is as follows:

Leader: Dr. Chandana Jayaratne

Saraj Gunasekera

  • Eranga Thilina Jayashantha
  • Ashan Ariyawansa
  • Yasith Mathangasinghe
  • Shyaminda Bandara Basnayake
  • Danula Sochiruwan Godagama

Here is the image that anyone could see at the official site @
But at the time I was posting this, the site was not working and this is a saved image, thanks to Muditha Jayath of Anandian Astronomical Association.

Sri Lankan Team @ 3rd International Olympiad of Astronomy & Astrophysics, Tehran, IranWhile the Olympiad is in progress at the moment, I believe our talented team will see Sri Lanka won and bring glory to the island. Then that could be a greater victory for our country in the IYA 2009.

Out of the 5 local contestants for Olympiad, I personally know Eranga and Ashan and I hope they will do something better than last time. Especially I should highlight that Eranga Thilina, who holds the presidency of AAA, represented Sri Lanka in the last year's event @ 2nd International Olympiad on Astronomy and Astrophysics held in Bandung, Indonesia, from August 19 to 28, 2008 together with fellow compatriots Ashan & Yasitha as well.

Sri Lankan Team @ 3rd International Olympiad of Astronomy & Astrophysics, Tehran, Iran
I can also quote the Stats for IOAA 2008

  • Ashan Ariyawansa - Nalanda College - Colombo
  • Rajith Gihan Perera - De Mazenod College - Kndana
  • Eranga Thilina Jayashantna - Ananda College - Colombo
  • Yasith Mathangasinghe - Dharmaraja College - Kandy
  • K G D Nisal Menuka - Royal College - Colombo
Sri Lankan Team @ 3rd International Olympiad of Astronomy & Astrophysics, Tehran, Iran
Yasith Mathangasinghe of Dharmaraja College-Kandy received an honorable mention award at this Olympiad.
OK, Now let's get back to IYA 2009 & IOAA 2009
I have a set of images that were really speaking the situation at the opening ceremony !! Here they are..

Sri Lankan Team @ 3rd International Olympiad of Astronomy & Astrophysics, Tehran, IranOur delegation along the parade..

Sri Lankan Team @ 3rd International Olympiad of Astronomy & Astrophysics, Tehran, IranOur delegates, bidding welcome in Sri Lankan way : Ayubowan !!
Sri Lankan Team @ 3rd International Olympiad of Astronomy & Astrophysics, Tehran, IranEranga & Ashan looking anxious !!

Sri Lankan Team @ 3rd International Olympiad of Astronomy & Astrophysics, Tehran, IranOur guys, amongst other participants from around the world !!
Sri Lankan Team @ 3rd International Olympiad of Astronomy & Astrophysics, Tehran, Iran
Unforgettable snapshots of IOAA 2009, paying off the hardworking as potential being unleashed !!

So it's up to you guys.. we are anticipating ...All the best!!!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Hooray !! Star Party 2009 Featured as a Galilean Nights Project of IYA 2009.. Yeah

Guys, I have this wonderful news that we were able to feature the Galilean Nights with Star PArty 2009, representing Sri Lanka. I was just browsing through the Galilean Nights site and the map, at and I noticed Sri Lanka flagged with an event. When I found out it was Star Party 2009..

Here is the news in detail posted at

Hooray !! Star Party 2009 Featured as a Galilean Nights Project of IYA 2009.. Yeah

Find Event - Sri Lanka

Choose the first letter of the country to see a list of events.



Star Party 2009

Venue: University of Peradeniya
Street/Description: The Art theatre, Gymnasium & Grounds
City: Kandy
Post Code/Zip Code: 20000
Google Map Link

Start Date: 25/09/2009
End Date: 26/09/2009
Start Time (each day): 16:30:00
End Time (each day): 06:30:00 (approximate)

Contact Details
Organising Group: Anandian Astronomical Association, of Ananda College and Astronomical Society of Mahamaya Girls’ College
Main Contact: J D Prasanna Deshapriya
Phone: +940716202262

Further Details
A grand celebration, phenomenal sidereal endeavor, 12-hour premium experience of all time…. Since the early footprints of civilization, astronomy proved to be the blueprint of all the sciences. The prime etiquette of stargazing was the passion that our ancestry shared. Driven by the curiosity and evolving mind, our forefathers were path-finding through the unknown access towards the beauty of dark sky, which is considered a noble virtue today.

Thus all those things resulted in 2009 being named the international year of astronomy. A new era of astronomy is now surely in progress with the IYA 2009 coming into the effect with the approval of the global community as well. Therefore many countries have contributed to the IYA 2009 by numerous means with both collective and individual efforts. We are glad to step into the arena with Sri Lankan identity, featuring STAR PARTY 2009. In fact this Observation Competition will be the major focus of IYA 2009 endeavors of Sri Lanka. On the 25th of September 2009, STAR PARTY 2009 is scheduled to take place at the grounds of University of Peradeniya.

The elite passion of stargazing will continue on the very day from 6.00 pm onwards, lasting for almost 12 hours. Students from different parts of the island will have a scope on Observation Astronomy and will compete to be crowned as champions depending on how they utilize the talent they possess. Star Party 2009 will also be a resource center for the amateurs seeking the quencher for their taste on Astronomy. The workshop conducted in affiliation with the Observation Competition, will share the knowledge and will be delivered by accredited professionals.
Hooray !! Star Party 2009 Featured as a Galilean Nights Project of IYA 2009.. Yeah
Furthermore it’s worth referring to the Anandian Astronomical Association, of Ananda College and Astronomical Society of Mahamaya Girls’ College, Kandy for the commitment and innovation; they have taken up when it comes to organizing such a massive event. This will be the 6th occasion they organize Star Party, starting from initial appearance in 2004, where the latter was the primordial Observation Competition held in South Asia. Hence, there will be lot of cherished memories to recall, while marching towards the 6th successive milestone.

Be there, to eye-witness STAR PARTY 2009 The Rendezvous of Celestial Surveillance

IYA 2009 Highlighted Sci-Fi Competition Organized by Royal College (RCAS)

This post is about the latest Sci-Fi competition organized by the Royal College Astronomical Society. They are gonna have the competition featuring a quest to find the next Arthur C Clarke, as they claim. But I feel these days, students are less attracted to writing stuff, I presume. However this could turn out to be yet an exciting event for IYA 2009, The premier celebration of Astronomy.

Are You the next Arthur C Clark ??

Age group | Topic

>Grade 6-8 ~ "I met an alien!"

>Grade 9-11 ~ "Colonization on moon"

>Grade 12,13 & open ~ "Evolution of life in our solar system"

IYA 2009 Highlighted Sci-Fi Competition Organized by Royal College (RCAS)

You can either send in your stories/ entries to or post them to following address, which is of Royal College, Colombo.

Royal College Astronomical Society,
P.Box 635,
Rajakeeya Mawatha,
Colombo 07,
Sri Lanka.

For further details contact Thishan # 0719209097

Thishan is the president of RCAS & you can clear any doubt that you have with him.

Happy Writing !! Let the creative thinking begin !!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Successfully Ends Observational Night Camp by MAS , UoC

The very first Observation Camp that I took part at the University of Colombo, ended successfully on the 10th Morning of October 2009. In fact it was more than Successful I presume. My experience is unfolded as follows. Also I should add that the whole scenario was broadcast live with ustream.

The camp began with an introductory lecture to Observation Astronomy, delivered by Pulasthi Kanattage, who happens to be a colleague of mine as well. It was featured with basic facts of celestial sphere and the ancient accounts for having the heavens observed.

Afterward, we moved to observing the skies with binoculars and our own naked eyes. The skies were apparently not clear as the venue, Colombo was not a place where you could not find unlighted during the night. Of course, although there was some sort of light pollution being, we captured the constellations like Scorpius.
Successfully Ends Observational Night Camp by MAS , UoC
Meantime we took the dinner from Raheema, a hotel beside the University and got back to observation.

Soon we had an amazing session of activity, which was highlighted with making a lander, which housed an egg. The aim was to make the lander with raw materials, provided so that it will land the egg undamaged when dropped from 20 meters above. We (I & my colleagues) designed a parachute-like lander which housed the egg, covered with bent papers. Other teams also made their own designs taking various facts like center of gravity, center of pressure, inertia etc into consideration. To our joy, our lander landed safely and we won the game together with other 4 teams, despite only a single team failed in successful landing.

Then we moved to more observation sessions and observed more constellations. Even we observed Moon and Jupiter as planetary objects. There were coffee sessions as well to drive away the possible sleepiness.

In the end we had a guessing game and everybody with their teams tried to bring out an idea with performing in front without sounds. Other teams were supposed to guess what they were focused on. It aslo turned out to be an exciting item. You may watch us here perfroming our team work..

I hope it was more than ordinary and I got a good experience through the camp @ UoC.

Thanks MAS for organizing such a great feat !!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Observational Night Camp by MAS (Mathematical & Astronomical Society), UoC

Hi folks,

I have a good news for you again. It has not been a long I have posted that I got admitted to the University of Colombo Sri Lanka for my higher studies. Moreover I have also talked about the MAS, which stands for Mathematical & Astronomical Society of University of Colombo in my previous posts. If you have subscribed with me for a quite a long period, you must be aware of Star Quest | Interschool Quiz Competition, organized by the very society ( Read here )
. However, getting back to the topic, I have to say that I joined with those guys out there @ MAS ( Find more about MAS here and now there's an upcoming event organized by MAS featuring IYA 2009 as well.
Observational Night Camp by MAS (Mathematical & Astronomical Society), UoC

Thing is that there would be an Obdservational Night Camp on 9th of October 2009, meaning that it's the next Friday. The camp will be carried out from 6:00 pm to 5:00 am next morning.
The campaign will be held in the University premises and we are willing forward to an exciting event by MAS.

Please feel free to post your ideas, here...