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 !

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Astronomy Awareness Program at Galle Concluded a Success

Well, as I told you in the previous post, on last Monday the 22nd, we left from Colombo to Galle.
In fact I departed from home at 7:30 am local time and soon I was joint by my fellow astronomer Pulasthi Kanatthage at about 8:45 am. We traveled from bus to Galle town and arrived there at 11:00 am. Since the school, that were to lecture, was situated in the suburbs of Galle we had been given the transportation by a three-wheeler to the school. Within a drive of 10 minutes, we got to our location.

The Richard Pathirana College (In fact the college was thus named after the late Minister of Education, who was from Galle and earlier this had been named "Uluwetike Maha Vidyalaya, Galle", where has the beginning of the college runs back to 1896 AD) was located near to the road and we were warmly welcome by the teacher-in-charge of the astronomical association of the school, Mrs. Dissanayake. The were were directed to the principal of the school, who was a Buddhist Thero. We explained the plan to teachers and got the students readied and flocked to the main hall.

We had an younger audience, which was composed of students from Grade 6 to Grade 9. Therefore we had to adjust our methods of lecturing as well to better suit the gathering. After a brief introduction on the first lecture Pulasthi Kanatthage started the basic lecture of "Introduction to Astronomy". This lecture explained the main branches of astronomyAstronomy Awareness Program at Galle Concluded a Success and their influence on everything in general. The topic included explanations and discussions on General Astronomy, Astrophysics & Cosmology, Rocketry, Astrobiology and related issues.

Then I also delivered a lecture on "Eclipses". This lecture included the basic idea of as eclipse and the dual segments - Solar and Lunar Eclipses. Moreover I taught them how an eclipse takes place and the number of (2) Solar or Lunar eclipses that occur annually. The students were glad to know that there's an total Solar eclipse would be on the way on 22nd July 2009, although Sri Lanka would be experiencing a partial Solar Eclipse in the morning.

In addition to these 2 lectures we didn't forget to make them aware of IYA 2009, International Year of Astronomy 2009 and its influence on global community.

In the end we had some good questions from the audience and we enjoyed answering them. However we came across this amazing guy who was actually the president of the society, currently engaged at writing a science fiction at an early age of 15 years. Unfortunately we noticed that he had a firm belief on ufology rather than anything else. We assumed that he had been greatly influenced by those UFO-marketed books available almost everywhere in Sri Lankan territories. I think those have to be exposed and truth should be engraved.

In the end we headed back to Colombo in the evening after a successful completion of the Astronomy Awareness Program at Richard Pathirana College, Galle.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

An Astronomy Awareness Program to be held tomorrow

It is a pleasure to tell you all that I have been invited together with my fellow astronomer Pulasthi Shyamika Kanatthage for an astronomy awareness program to be held at Richard Pathirana College, Galle, Sri Lanka. The program will be held tomorrow 22nd June, at 11:00 am (01:30 h EDT) at the college premises.

The awareness program includes 2 main lectures on Basic Astronomy & Eclipses. The session is scheduled to last 2 hours plus an interactive discussion session. What I feel is that there should be more events like this for the awareness and better understanding of astronomy. Since this is IYA 2009, the opportunity is here, so as to popularize and promote astronomy and International Year of Astronomy in geAn Astronomy Awareness Program to be held tomorrow in Galleneral.

We have prepared to make the event more informative and exciting with some secret plans, which will be revealed during the program. Moreover it's great that we got a news to Colombo from Galle that there would be a participation of more than 100 students for this event. If you are nearby the city of Galle, located in Southern Sri Lanka, just feel free to drop in during the noon and witness another productive event of IYA 2009.

Please be contribute by your comments...

Saturday, June 20, 2009

H2 Fuel Leak Again Postpones the Launch of Space Shuttle Endeavor

For the second attempt during a session of 5 days, NASA had to postpone the launch of space shuttle Endeavor's STS-127 mission due to a detection of the hydrogen gas leak, on last Wednesday the 17th. The launch was postponed earlier on last Saturday, the 13th due to a similar reason. The leak had been observed from the gaseous hydrogen venting system, located outside the shuttle's external fuel tank.

However Endeavor's next launch has been arranged to tale place on next 11th. This is because, of a beta angle cut-out, which is an orbital sun-angle condition, occurring from 22nd June to 10th July. Basically this cut-out results in a thermal condition that prevents docked operations.
H2 Fuel Leak Again Postpones the Launch of Space Shuttle Endeavor
Moreover the H2 venting system is functional for carrying the excess H2 away from the launch pad.

Beginning from July 11th, the 16-day space mission will employ the astronaut crew installing a new module for the JAXA's (Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency) Kibo Science Laboratory at ISS (International Space Station).

This is planned to be done with 5 spacewalks and in additi0n, there will also be a replacement of the Japanese astronaut Koichi Wataka presently at the ISS by the NASA Flight Engineer Timothy Kopra.

Stay tuned with the latest updates with Mission Commander Mark Polansky's twitter feed..

Friday, June 19, 2009

Ancient Chinese Star Map: Please Decode

This is an image I found at Facebook. In fact this is the 1st occasion I stumbled at this.
It is supposed to showcase the ancient Chinese map of Earth. It portrays northern hemisphere and it is a part of Chinese Dunhuang Star Atlas from 649 to 684 d.C.

I would like to investigate more on this and I see some Chinese characters written on the image.
I shall be more than glad if I could find someone out there, who is able to translate them to English.

Ancient Chinese Star Map, Please Decode

In fact it's a worthy cause and I request our readers to find more about this and let the others know about the findings as well.

Just go to Google and do some research.

Comments are always welcome !

Spaceport: A Reality by Next Summer | Virgin Galactic Will be Ready

It seems that Western US will be more and more popular in the times to come, as the world's first ever rather primordial Spaceport is planned to be set-up in the frontier, starting from today 19th June 2009. Today will remark the beginning of an extraordinary episode of space travel, and to be precise space tourism in fact. New Mexico will provide the house to this first commercial spaceport, enabling a wide range of global citizens to go beyond Earth's limits.

This imaginary picture depicts of the completed Spaceport, named as Virgin Galactic. The groundbreaking ceremonies will start with a flyover by the White Knight Two, which is the Mothership that will transport the tourist aboard towards heavens. Perhaps it might be possible to find famous tycoons waving to their friends saying "I'm gonna go to heavens for a while, let's join" in the recent times with the unveiling of the Virgin Galactic.
Spaceport: A Reality by Next Summer | Virgin Galactic Will be Ready

It's highlighted that the waiting list for the upcoming voyages has been extended with the names exceeding 25o people already. The list is supposed to continue rapidly as the establishment of Virgin Galactic is now in progress.

The runway will be finished by next summer whereas the corresponding terminal and hangar will be completed by the December 2010, giving hopes for a soon tour amidst the orbits.
Meanwhile companies such as XCOR Aerospace and Armadillo Aerospace are developing spacecraft for $95,000 flights. However it's expected that the costs will drop as there are many options. Furthermore there is a launching pad from the terminal and it is prepared for 20-foot rockets, which have been used for scientific research purposes during last 2 years.

If you are located near to New Mexico, why not drop by at the groundbreaking ceremonies,which are free for public to attend?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Latest Astronomy Podcast of Kaguya & Endeavor News

Latest Astronomy Podcast of Kaguya & Endeavor News
I was again privileged to contribute for yet another astronomy podcast, courtesy of
In fact the podcast was scheduled to be recorded online via Skype in the night of last Saturday, the 13th June 2009. However there we 3 pod casters online, namely the two webmasters of Hasitha Karunarathne and Madusha Dedigamuwa, together with me. We had planned to focus on 2 latest topics, which were the Kaguya's Lunar Impact and Endeavor Shuttle's delay, which was reported to us a short while ago. Unfortunately due to a certain technical problem, (In fact it was my mike, which was not performing properly) we postponed the podcast to next evening.

However, by that time we had flocked to Hasitha's home and recorded the podcast there.

The podcast started with the news of Kaguya, as Hasitha Karunarathne was carrying it out.
During the podcast, Madusha Dedigamuwa described the early attempts for impacts with Moon, such as by Chandrayan 1 if India and the latest image analysis data, of the impact, Actually there was a faint flare/ flash shapped in high sensitive telescopes. He also explained how the JAXA's ( Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency) Selene project carried out the missions towards the very end of Kaguya.

I, Prasanna Deshapriya explained the existed situation of Endeavor Shuttle, as the launch had been delayed, due to a reported hydrogen leak. In fact at that time it had been delayed till the following Wednesday, that would be today, the 17th. Further I spoke of the objectives of the mission that was to install 2 modules to the Japanese Science Kibo Module and the replacement of the Japanese astronaut Koichi Wataka aboard the ISS(International Space Station) by NASA Flight Engineer Timothy Copra.

You can listen to the Podcast here

Friday, June 12, 2009

Astronomy News: Kaguya Crashed into Moon

Astronomy News: Kaguya Crashed into Moon
Having orbited Moon for almost 2 years and having completed its mission successfully, Kaguya the Japanese Spacecraft, crashed on the surface of Moon last Wednesday, leaving the Earthlings its cherished memory as it make flashes of flares upon smashing into the Lunar territories.

Having snapped for each 0.6 seconds this series of images, features how the collusion took place. If you look carefully, you will probably notice the flare being brightly visible on the second image (center). The third shows a much faded-away image while the flare seems to have been disappearing when it comes to the last image of the series.

(Image: Jeremy Bailey/University of New South Wales/Steve Lee/Anglo-Australian Observatory)

Credits go to the observers at Anglo-Australian Telescope.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

IYA 2009 Astronomy Sri Lanka Blogger Onair

Taru Widu Saraniya radio program on astronomy, onair Recording

Hello Everyone!

I'm getting back to you after a while and some pause. Thanks a lot for those who sent comments enclosing feedback. Well now I'm gonna tell you about a privilege that I was entitled to, as per my title of IYA 2009 Astronomy Sri Lanka blogger.

In fact, I was invited for an astronomy-related radio program, broadcast in local Radio. The recordings were held at SLBC (Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporations) in the evening of last Saturday, the 6th.

I took part to the recordings together with 2 of my astronomy colleagues, who are namely Pulasthi Shyamika Kanatthage and Hasitha Karunarathne. It is important to say that latter is a webmaster of SkyLK, an astronomy related website, featured in Sinhalese.

The program was "Taru Widu Saraniya" translated :Wisdom of Astronomy. 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
Actually this astronomy broadcast is a part of a children's program called "Lama Pitiya" and the main goal is helping the children, teenagers and students, to improve their knowledge in astronomy.

Well, we discussed onair, a bunch of important things on that day. In the initial stage we started from new trends and updates of global astronomy and then moved on to different aspects, like the Nebulae, Lunar stuff and Anti-matter plus the inadequacy of optional energTaru Widu Saraniya radio program on astronomy, onair Recordingy source, faced by developed states.

Moreover it's glad to highlight that there's such a method for the listeners, to receive free star-maps, and stand a chance to win an astronomy book, by answering the question, asked in the end. Meantime, I would like to thank Mr. Chinthaka Weerakoon, the conductor of "Taru Widu Saraniya", the producer, assistant producer, the technical team, the staff of SLBC and all others, behind the voice. It's my firm conviction that Taru Widu Saraniya will continue to be the best astronomy radio program in Sri Lanka.

May you long live, Taru Widu Saraniya!

I think that there should be more programs like this everywhere, and more often as it's already the International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA 2009)