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, February 26, 2009

IYA 2009 launched in Edinburgh, Scotland

Professors, scientists, accredited personnel, amateur astronomers, teachers and outdoor educators flocked at the Royal Observatory Edinburgh on 25th Feb. 2009 morning , to remark the launch of the International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA 2009) in Scotland.

It is planned to host a variety of activities throughout the country and hosting will be conducted by affiliated Universities, schools, astronomy societies, education institutions and environmental groups. Activities include star-gazing, public discussions, exhibitions to celebrate the legendary 400th year since Galileo Galilei's first observations of the night sky with a telescope. Professor Ian Robson, Director of STFC's UK ATC and the UK Chair for IYA 2009, who is based at the Royal Observatory said, "The year is a global celebration of astronomy as one of humankind's greatest achievements."

As a part of the launch of IYA in Scotland, teachers and pupils from Galashiels Academy in the Scottish Borders and Liberton High School in Edinburgh are to be awarded telescopes, in connection with the "Telescopes for Schools" project, by Professor John Brown, Astronomer Royal for Scotland. Moreover Suzanne Pritchard, a physics teacher at Galashiels Academy, says: "This is perfect timing for us". " With the freedom of the new Curriculum for Excellence, the telescope gives our pupils a fantastic opportunity to have a go at real observing, guided by a real astronomer" she added.

Thus ninety schools in Scotland will be granted telescopes as part of the project, which is led by the Society for Popular Astronomy to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers, which is very essential as far as modern status of Astronomy is concerned. Speaking further, Professor John Brown says of the programme: "Scotland will have a tremendously vibrant and exciting programme of astronomical and dark sky events for the public and schools, led by researchers, amateur astronomers and science communicators."

It's great to see the voluntary community is leading the way right across Scotland to popularize and improve the understanding of both IYA 2009 and Astronomy. Bill Leslie, from SIGMA, the astronomy club for Moray, will be running activities throughout the Highlands and Islands. Bill says: "The year will really put the spotlight on the fantastic range of events run by Scotland's amateur astronomy groups."

Professor Anne Glover, Chief Scientific Advisor for Scotland says: "The Scottish Government is providing over £100,000 to help fund a range of public astronomy events across Scotland this year. This includes a grant of £49,000 for projects co-ordinated by the Royal Observatory Edinburgh. Stargazing is a great way to encourage our young people to engage with science and I'm delighted that many of the events planned for IYA2009 have families and young people at their heart."

That's the updates of Scottish IYA 2009 schedule.

Be updated with us!!... Link: http://www.edinburghguide.com/story/education/3020



IYA 2009's"From Earth To The Universe ( FETTU)" Launched Globally.

FETTU - " From Earth To The Universe " another IYA 2009 project launched 25th Feb. 2009

25th Feb 2009 marked the international launch of FETTU project, another milestone of IYA 2009, with the initial celebration starting from United States. It was celebrated with an exhibition filled with vivid astronomy images and it's still open at the Tucson International Airport in Arizona. The FETTU is aimed at showcasing uniqueness of Astronomy and making it accessible to the general public, through a series of free showings across the country.

FETTU is ranked a major project of both the US and global endeavours for IYA2009. High quality images taken from both ground- and space-based telescopes will be contributed to FETTU to boost its task of offering picturesque and manifold pictures on astounding astronomical objects - quas

ars, planets, comets, stars, nebulae, galaxies, clusters, satellites and much more. It is also possible to have different scopes of the same image through the electromagnetic spectrum which could enhance the scientific eye with a good analysis of wave-lenghts, belonging to X-rays, Gamma rays, Ultra-violet , Infra-red etc.

FETTU showcasing will be taking place almost everywhere, where there is general public. FETTU images are selected so that they can grab the attention of the viewer. The images should contain a glorious attraction and the target or the goal is to make an ordinary man understand the beauty of the universe and enjoy it while knowing the importance of astronomy as a fundaamental science as soon as he is drawn to the image.

More News

FETTU is sponsored by NASA in US and will appear in semi- permanent installations in Atlanta and Chicago later this spring. The traveling unit of FETTU, with its first stop in Tucson, will then head to Memphis in April. More FETTU locations are being processed across the US and an enhanced schedule is on the way.

It is reported that several editions of FETTU will also be appearing in the San Francisco and the Bay Area beginning in May. Therefore a lot of excitement is already left. The monetary allocations are from NASA’s Lunar Science Institute, the Fermi and Swift missions through Sonoma State University, and several other organizations which contribute to make FETTU a great success. Furthermore the NASA IYA Student Ambassador program is facilitating a FETTU exhibit in Madison, Wisconsin. With NASA's support, FETTU panels for the visually impaired are being prepared. There would be comprehensive collection of 50 images in the US and the caption material is avaiable in both English and Spanish.

Kim Kowal Arcand of the Chandra X-ray Center and principal investigator for the NASA FETTU grant said “It’s very rewarding to see FETTU taking shape across in the United States thanks, in large part, to NASA. It’s also amazing to see how it has taken off around the world.”



Worldwide Focus

At the moment through IYA 2009 events FETTU is already being showcased in a variety of formats - both as physical installations and digital displays - in over 40 countries around the globe. Having been funded by a variety of local resources these episodes are getting more popularized among the public day by day.

Stay tuned to hearing updated!!


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Comet Lulin Updated


The Path of the comet Lulin



Click the image to get a clear view!

Through this image you can determine the path of the Green Comet and have clear observation without hassle.
The constellations beside the trajectory will help you to identify Lulin, when it comes to practical observation.
Of course the image is courtesy of Sky & Telescope

Friday, February 20, 2009

Astronomical Society of Nalanda College





Briefing:

Astronomy can be mentioned as a subject that has been developed from the beginning of Mankind to the present day. Therefore, Astronomy is the oldest science in the whole world. Though, it is gathering its pace through some present day to day scientific activities. School Education, Scientific Organizations, Government & Non-Government Research Institutions and Scientists in this field have been a big part in this process.

Though Astronomy was one of the most popular sciences in the world, Sri Lanka was poor in progress. Therefore, at the beginning it was hard to carry on with our programme, because no one knew about this science and not much people were involved in this subject. It was our society that changed the gear and gave this subject the recognition it should have had in Sri Lanka.

NCAS regularly had lectures for their members in each week, on every Friday. Other than that, they had done more than 200 night camps, some day camps, special lectures, workshops, astronomy days, quizzes and exhibitions.

Links:

www.nalanda.sch.lk

Astronomical Society of Dharmaraja College, Kandy





Briefing:

Dharmaraja College-Kandy has a long based history regarding astronomy. But it was around the year 1996, the ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY of DHARMARAJA COLLEGE (ASDRC) KANDY-SRI LANKA, legally came into existence. It is the common meeting place for students of Dharmaraja College to communicate-investigate-standardizethe knowledge pertaining to astronomy and allied sciences. Since then, ASDRC was able to serve the school community as well as the entire nation with a wealth of scientific intuition. Today it remains the unprecedented high-school Astronomical Society in Sri Lanka besides being the progenitor institution for a number of other astronomical societies all around the country. Now with immense pride and prestige, it has entered the global community as well.


Updates:

Astronomical Society of Dharmaraja College held its annual Astronomy workshop on Saturday, 15th November 2008 in grand scale. Theme of the program was 'Expanding The Universal Imagination '08'. Senior Professor Tissa R. Herath conducted a great lecture on Astrobiology and another lecturer, Sumudu Weerasekera conducted a lecture on Solar System. There were enough items to keep up the attendees all night and examine their knowledge. 'Astro Olympiad' challenge trophy - the most prestigious inter-school Astronomy quiz competition in the Sri Lankan Astronomy quiz arena, conducted by ASDRC for the 7th consecutive year, was won by Nalanda College, Colombo-10 and observation title was taken by Ananda College, Colombo-10. Quiz competition was held as preliminary round, semi finals and grand final, as usual. The Rajans' Sky Observation competition was organized for the third consecutive year. Due to the non favorable weather conditions on that day, observation competition was circumscribed to Moon Sketching, Deep Sky Observation and Constellation Mapping. Organizers received a very good internal and external response for their work. Committee extends its utmost heartfelt gratitude to all its members and past pupils who contributed to make this event a success.

Links:

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A Quadruple-transit on Saturn on 24th

Quadruple Transit of Saturn's Moons

Briefing:

A life time experience: Never miss it... A great extraordinary thing will take place on Saturn as forecast by scientific community.

According to Keith Noll of the Hubble Space Telescope Science Institute, there would be a quadruple transit of Saturn's moons. He said that Titan, Dione, Mimas, & Enceladus would pass directly in front of the Saturn and observers could see their silhouettes crossing the cloud-tops of the Saturn.

Hubble Space telescope would not be the only observer as it is possible for ground-based astronomers to witness this life time experience. However it is such that the ideal locations will be along the Pacific coast of North America, Alaska, Hawaii, Australia and East Asia.

Meantime on Feb. 8th, astrophotographer Christopher Go of the Cebu City in Philippines got a preview when Titan transited Saturn all by itself. He was able to record this clip with an 11-inch telescope:



" I woke up at one o'clock in the morning to photograph Titan's passage across the disk of Saturn, the sky was overcast, but I was fortunate to see the end of the transit through a break in the clouds. The emergence of Titan was really stunning because it gave the moon a 3D appearance!" Go said.
jjk This kind of transits are very rare and happen once a 14-15 years when the orbits of the moons of Saturn are nearly edge-on to Earth. In 1995/6 Hubble captured photos of two transits, photographing Titan and Tethys during elapsed, while the other was an encounter, which was visible with Mimas, Enceladus, & Dione. Moreover this would be the very first time Hubble is employed in a mission to photograph a Quadruple transit.

The movie begins at10:54 UT (2:54 a.m. PST) on 24th Tuesday morning as Titan's circular shadow falls across Saturn's cloud-tops. After 40 minutes the ruddy disk of Titan would be seen moving over the clouds.

"Titan is pretty big and you could easily look through the eyepiece of a small-telescope and you wouldn't require special equipment" Go says.

As Titan commences the procession, his other counterparts Mimas, Dione, Enceladus will approach the Saturn background respectively. The climax will be at 14:24 UT, casting the shadows of all four satellites simultaneously on Saturn's disk.


To photograph the smaller moons, you'll need a mid-sized backyard telescope equipped with a good CCD camera.

Right - An animation of the quadruple transit prepared by amateur astronomer Christopher Go using the program Winjupos.


Earlier Episodes





Left: A Hubble photo of Titan and Tethys transiting Saturn in 1995. Credit: E. Karkoschka (University of Arizona) and G. Bacon (STScI)

Observations conducted through Hubble Space Telescope naturally naturally become embedded with Hubble Heritage Project, which is a 10-year outreach effort aimed at producing images of exceptional beauty for the general public. And Noll, one of the project leaders, says that only 0.5% of Hubble's observing time is devoted to Heritage work, and that they are picky about their targets. He thinks the quadruple transit could rank among the best planet-shots ever taken, in Hubble's archive. Perhaps the analysis of images might lead to new theories and wider understanding about the Saturn's moons and their atmosphere. Saturn could be used as a backlight to determine the size and transparency of Titan's atmosphere apart from Cassini's involvement. The study of reflectivity of ring particles could also be of great importance.

Important:

To find Saturn on Feb. 24th, look southwest before sunrise. The planet is easy to see shining like a golden first-magnitude star in the constellation Leo By cosmic coincidence, Feb. 24th is also the date Comet Lulin makes its closest approach to Earth--and the comet is right beside Saturn! Using a small telescope you can catch a comet, a ringed planet and a quadruple transit; it's a nice way to begin the day. Clear Skies obviously....

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Space Carnival: An innovative introduction.. 51st edition..

A view from Space Shuttle Endeavour STS-118 of the station and Earth (NASA)

"""Hello and welcome to the 51st edition of the Carnival of Space! My name is Ian O’Neill, UK solar physicist and writer for the Universe Today. I am honoured to be hosting the Carnival, so thank you Fraser for letting me loose on seven days-worth of excellent space related news from the growing blogosphere. Astroengine is my online home, delving into the inner workings of the cosmos, so it’s good to freshen the site up with news from a superb cross-section of space blogs.

There is a huge breadth of topics this week with no particular trend, but as Earth Day was on April 22nd, I’ll kick off with the some of the stories a little closer to home (and then end up somewhere in the proximity of the Big Bang, 13.7 billion years ago). As said by the great Yuri Gagarin, “I see Earth! It is so beautiful!” I begin with our Blue Planet…"""

Monday, February 16, 2009

Cosmic Origins Revealed....


[RxPG] Processes that laid the foundation for life on Earth -- star and planet formation and the production of complex organic molecules in interstellar space -- are yielding their secrets to astronomers armed with powerful new research tools, and even better tools soon will be available. Astronomers described three important developments at a symposium on the Cosmic Cradle of Life at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Chicago, IL.

In one development, a team of astrochemists released a major new resource for seeking complex interstellar molecules that are the precursors to life. The chemical data released by Anthony Remijan of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) and his university colleagues is part of the Prebiotic Interstellar Molecule Survey, or PRIMOS, a project studying a star-forming region near the center of our Milky Way Galaxy.

PRIMOS is an effort of the National Science Foundation's Center for Chemistry of the Universe, started at the University of Virginia (UVa) in October 2008, and led by UVa Professor Brooks H. Pate. The data, produced by the NSF's Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope (GBT) in West Virginia, came from more than 45 individual observations totalling more than nine GigaBytes of data and over 1.4 million individual frequency channels.

Scientists can search the GBT data for specific radio frequencies, called spectral lines -- telltale fingerprints -- naturally emitted by molecules in interstellar space. We've identified more than 720 spectral lines in this collection, and about 240 of those are from unknown molecules, Remijan said. He added, We're making available to all scientists the best collection of data below 50 GHz ever produced for the study of interstellar chemistry, Remijan said.

Astronomers have already identified more than 150 molecules in interstellar space in the past 40 years, including complex organic compounds such as sugars and alcohols. This is a major change in how we search for molecules in space, Remijan explained. Before, people decided beforehand which molecules they were looking for, then searched in a very narrow band of radio frequencies emitted by those molecules. In this GBT survey, we've observed a wide range of frequencies, collected the data and immediately made it publicly available. Scientists anywhere can 'mine' this resource to find new molecules, he said.

Another key development, presented by Crystal Brogan of the NRAO, showed that highly-detailed images of protoclusters of massive young stars reveal a complex mix of stars in different stages of formation, complicated gas motions, and numerous chemical clues to the physical conditions in such stellar nurseries. We saw a much more complex picture than we had expected and now have new questions to answer, she said.

Using the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory's Submillimeter (SMA) in Hawaii, Brogan and her colleagues studied a nebula 5,500 light-years from Earth in the constellation Scorpius where stars significantly more massive than our Sun are forming. It's essential to understand what's going on in systems like this because most stars, Sun-like stars included, form in clusters, Brogan said.

The most massive stars in the cluster have a tremendous impact on the formation and environment of the rest of the cluster, including the less-massive stars and their planets, Brogan said, adding that if we want to understand how solar systems that could support life form and evolve, we need to know how these giant stars affect their environment.

Also, Brogan said, the massive young stars are surrounded by hot cores that include copious organic material that later may be spewed into interstellar space by stellar winds and other processes. This can help seed star-forming regions with some of the chemicals found by the GBT and other telescopes.

Narrowing in on the problem of how planets form around young stars, David Wilner of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics presented observations with the SMA that revealed new details of solar systems in the earliest stages of their formation. Wilner and his colleagues studied nine dusty disks surrounding young stars in a region in the constellation Ophiuchus.

These are the most detailed images of such disks made at these wavelengths, Wilner said. The images show the distribution of material on the same size scale as our own Solar System, and indicate that these disks are capable of producing planetary systems. Two of the disks show large central cavities where young planets may already have swept out the material from their neighborhoods.

Before, we knew that such disks have enough material to form solar systems. These new images tell us that material is in the right places to form solar systems. We're getting a tantalizing peek at the very earliest stages of planet formation, said Sean Andrews, a Hubble Fellow at the CfA.

All three areas of study are poised for major advances with the impending arrival of powerful new radio-telescope facilities such as the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter (ALMA) and the Expanded Very Large (EVLA), and new capabilities for the GBT.

Studies of protoplanetary disks and young solar systems will benefit greatly from the groundbreaking new capabilities of ALMA, Wilner said. While we've been able to study a few of these objects so far, ALMA will be able to give us highly-detailed images of many more that we can't study today, he said. Wilner added that ALMA also will likely provide new information on the chemicals in those still-forming planetary systems.

The complex motions and chemistry of Brogan's protoclusters of young, massive stars, also will become much clearer with ALMA. Both the detail of the images and the ability to find molecular spectral lines will improve by a factor of at least 25 with ALMA, she said. In addition, the increased power of the EVLA will give astronomers a far better look into the inner regions of the disks around young stars -- regions obscured to telescopes operating at shorter wavelengths.

We know that complex chemicals exist in interstellar space before stars and planets form. With the new research tools coming in the next few years, we're on the verge of learning how the chemistry of the interstellar clouds, the young stars and their environments, and the disks from which planets are formed is all linked together to provide the chemical basis for life on those planets, Remijan explained.

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson of the American Museum of Natural History noted, Like no other science, astrophysics cross-pollinates the expertise of chemists, biologists, geologists and physicists, all to discover the past, present, and future of the cosmos -- and our humble place within it.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Happy B'day Galileo Galilei : It's 445 already & last year it was 444


Galileo's birthday:





Galileo Galilei was born on February 15, 1564. Neither his parents nor their neighbors in Pisa expected at the time that 436 years later a spacecraft named after him would be on its way to Jupiter, or that a crater on the moon would bear his name, or that more than two hundred thousand Galileo Internet sites could be accessed by a few computer keystrokes. But Galileo's road to fame was not without its pitfalls, and he ended up nearly blind (from looking directly at the sun through his telescope) and a prisoner in his own house, courtesy of the Inquisition.

How did Galileo get into such trouble with the Catholic Church? The Church had already accepted the heliocentric theory of Copernicus as a working hypothesis, and Galileo himself had enough fame and prestige to be granted audiences by two successive Popes. But Galileo's own daughter (a nun who was no mean thinker and astronomer herself, as their preserved correspondence proves) as well as many of Galileo's influential friends warned him not to force the debate over Copernican theory into the religious arena: the Church was in the midst of the Counter-Reformation and wasn't in the mood to be lectured on religion by a scientist.

In 1611 Galileo had made a well-publicized visit to Rome where Cardinals feted him and Pope Paul V praised his work. Cardinal Maffeo Barberini was particularly intrigued and met often with Galileo. But for the next twenty years, his relations with the Church deteriorated. Galileo became a politico-religious pamphleteer belligerently confronting both the Church and other scientists.

Galileo's pamphlets were not bland scientific arguments, and he finally infuriated even Cardinal Barberini, who in 1623 had been elected Pope Urban VIII. In his famous Dialogue, published in 1632, Galileo cast the defenders of Aristotelian cosmology as fools, and he gave Simplicio, the most foolish of the fools, lines that clearly reflected Urban VII's own publicized arguments in the ongoing cosmological debate. Almost simultaneously he alienated the Jesuits, who had previously defended him, by publicly and violently attacking their theory on the nature of comets (and Galileo was dead wrong on this one -- he thought comets were "exhalations of the atmosphere.") The Pope and the Jesuits did not participate in the attacks on Galileo, but they didn't defend him either when the many enemies he had made brought his case to the attention of the Inquisition.

For information about the famous scientist, visit the following Internet sites:

For a biography and useful Galileo links:

http://www-groups.dcs.st-and.ac.uk/~history/Mathematicians/Galileo.html

For NASA's Thursday's Classroom information for Student's, teachers and parents:

http://www.thursdaysclassroom.com/

For the Catholic Church's historically accurate if slanted defense of its dealings with Galileo:

http://www.catholic.net/rcc/Periodicals/Issues/GalileoAffair.html

For information of the Galileo space mission to Jupiter and its moons (which Galileo discovered):

http://galileo.ivv.nasa.gov/

NASA plans a party for Galileo

WASHINGTON, Feb. 10 (UPI) -- The U.S. space agency is planning a special exhibit to celebrate Galileo's 445th birthday and 2009's designation as the International Year of Astronomy.

In conjunction with Galileo's birthday next Sunday, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration is releasing images from its Great Observatories -- the Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes and the Chandra X-ray Observatory -- to more than 100 U.S. planetariums, museums, nature centers and schools.

"The selected sites will unveil a large 9-square-foot print of the spiral galaxy Messier 101 that combines the optical view of Hubble, the infrared view of Spitzer and the X-ray view of Chandra into one multi-wavelength picture," NASA said. Each image presents a different wavelength view of that galaxy, illustrating how far astronomy has come since Galileo first turned his telescope to the sky in 1609.

"It's like using your eyes, night vision goggles and X-ray vision all at the same time," said Hashima Hasan, NASA's lead scientist for the International Year of Astronomy.

Messier 101 is a spiral galaxy about 22 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Ursa Major.

The Feb. 14-28 unveilings will occur at 76 museums and 40 U.S. schools and universities. A list of the exhibits is available at http://hubblesource.stsci.edu/events/iya/participants.php

"You shall cost more for candles rather than the cake, and that indicates you're getting old..." - Bob Hope

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Approaching Comet Lulin








Comet Lulin is with a tail and an anti-tail on January 19, 2009, when Michael Jaeger photographed this image from Austria, using an 8-inch f/2.8 astrographic camera for exposures through LRGB filters totaling 10 minutes.Comet Lulin on February 2nd 2009, at magnitude 6.5 with tail and anti-tail. See the difference between two images.





Various tail images from the Comet Lulin.
Comet Lulin was discovered in 2007 by a Strait-bridging team of astronomers from Taiwan and China. Lulin is swinging around the sun and approaching Earth. Astronomer Karzaman Ahmad had this picture taken 7th Jan. 2009 from the Langkawi National Observatory in Malaysia

Resources:

http://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/highlights/35992534.html

http://www.christian-forum.net/index.php?showtopic=27562

http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap090202.html

IYA 2009 LK affiliated Observation Camp at Piliyandala

Yesterday, 13th of Feb. 2009 I got a chance of contributing to the 4th annual Observation Camp organized by the Leo Club, Piliyandala for the students of Kahapola Junior College. I was glad to see nearly 100 students from Grade 7 to 11 flocking together for such a scientific gathering. Camp took place at the college premises, starting at 6.30 pm and lasted till the the dawn of the next day.


The participants got a fair knowledge on Observational Astronomy and had a team work session, where they made impressive modes of the Colombia Space Shuttle in memory of the 6th anniversary of the honourable astronauts of the very Shuttle.

Apart from the indoor activity, they had the outdoor observation session and everybody got a clear impression on star charts and got familiar with celestial bodies, thus adding a variety for their normal routine. The Lunar phrases, and rings of the Saturn were clearly observed with a Newtonian Telescope with an Alti-Azimuth mounting system.

At the end everybody, including teachers and parents were capable of having a promising impression on Observational Astronomy. Accredited personnel from AALK ( Astronomical Association of Sri Lanka ), Skylk and ASSC ( Astronomy & Space Study Center ) contributed their voluntary service to this endeavour. Also a special thank goes out to the members and BoO of Piliyandala Leo Club for making the necessary arrangements under their Educational Projects.

This Observation Camp was held in affiliation with the IYA 2009 events of Sri Lanka.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Primordial Astronomy Podcast in LK

Please find below the 1st ever Astronomy podcast cast on last Sunday 8th of February 2009. The location was Malabe, LK and the podcast featured three amateur astronomers talking about NEOs ( Near Earth Objects ). Review the comments and contribute to stuff such like this.

http://www.skylk.com/pod/

The podcast discussed about possible impacts and ways of minimizing the damage despite the Demise of Dinosaurs.

Look on for the upcoming podcasts on knowledgable topics filled with enthusiasm and curiosity.

http://www.skylk.com/pod/

Featured Podcasters


Hasitha Karunarathne - www.SkyLK.com

Thilina Heenatigala - Astronomical Association of Si Lanka

Sithum Gunarathne - Ahasa Astronomy Magazine


http://www.skylk.com/pod/

Monday, February 9, 2009

Antigravity Explained with Meissner effect

video

Please try to do your own research and submit scientific papers of your own. If you have videos related to this subject please feel free to upload them to youtube and post the link here as a comment.

Meissner Effect Explained




Friday, February 6, 2009

Sri Lanka goes off to Orbits

Lanka going into orbit


Sri Lanka is to launch its first satellite, a Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) type, this year, an official said yesterday.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa has decided to name the satellite after space prophet Sir Arthur C. Clarke, Telecommunication Regulatory Commission Director General Priyantha Kariyapperuma said
A second satellite, a geostationary type, would follow the Arthur C. Clarke LEO, he said.

The TRC chief said these satellites would bring about a huge foreign exchange saving as Sri Lanka was now dependent on satellites of other countries for broadcasting, telecommunications and even defence-related information.

A low-earth-orbit satellite

“The satellites will be used to develop our communications sector. We are talking to a number of satellite manufacturers but we have not finalised plans yet,” Mr Kariyapperuma said.“We can use the LEO for imagery and disaster management by collaborating with LEO satellite clusters of other countries. The satellite will cost around US$ 20 million.

A geostationary satellite will also be launched, but this will take over two years. The ‘geo’ can be used for broadcasting, communications and high speed Internet. A ‘geo’ satellite will cost more US$ 100 million,” he said.

The LEO satellite is also seen as essential to monitor Sri Lanka’s territorial seas after expansion of the Exclusive Economic Zone.

“Our Exclusive Economic Zone will probably expand this year from 200 nautical miles to about 800 nautical miles. The most efficient and cost effective way to monitor such a large expanse of ocean will be to use the LEO satellite,” Mr. Kariyapperuma said.

The government is exploring different financing mechanisms, including public-private partnerships and foreign assistance, to put the satellites in orbit.

At present, neighbouring India has about 11 satellites in service, and Pakistan also has its own satellites, but most other countries in South Asia do not have their own satellites.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Sir Arthur C Clarke Memorial SF Short Story Competition 2009

Sir Arthur C Clarke Memorial SF Short Story Competition 2009

SRI LANKA ASTRONOMICAL ASSOCIATION PRESS INFORMATION NOTE

Date: 02 February 2009 For Immediate Release
Ref.: 2009-03
Issued by:
Sri Lanka Astronomical Association
Mr. Thilina Heenatigala.
Mob: +94 (0) 716 245 545
thilina_atn@yahoo.com
website: http://aalk.lakdiva.net/
Sir Arthur C Clarke Memorial Science Fiction Short Story Competition 2009
DATE:
02 February 2009
Event: Science Fiction Short Story Competition 2009

MEDIA ANNOUNCEMENT

Under the International Year of Astronomy 2009 programs, the Sri Lanka Astronomical
Association has organized a science fiction short story competition in memory of late Sir
Arthur C Clarke.

The competition is open to school students between grades 8 – 13 which falls under two
categories as junior and senior. The entries could be submitted in English or Sinhalese
preferably.

All the entries will be judged by professionals in the field and the award ceremony will take
place on the 19 March 2009 along with the first year passing of the late Sri Arthur C Clarke.
All the entries must reach the association secretary before 28 th of February. The winners will
be awarded cash prizes and certificates and the winning entries will be published in
newspapers.

All the entries must follow the definition of Science Fiction which is;
Science fiction differs from fantasy in that, within the context of the story, its imaginary
elements are largely possible within scientifically established or scientifically postulated
laws of nature (though some elements in a story might still be pure imaginative
speculation). Exploring the consequences of such differences is the traditional purpose of
science fiction, making it a "literature of ideas". Science fiction is largely based on
writing entertainingly and rationally about alternate possibilities in settings that are
contrary to known reality.

These may include:
A setting in the future, in alternative time lines, or in a historical past that contradicts
known facts of history or the archeological record.
A setting in outer space, on other worlds, or involving aliens.
Stories that involve technology or scientific principles that contradict known laws of
nature.
Stories that involve discovery or application of new scientific principles, such as time
travel or psionics, or new technology, such as nanotechnology, faster-than-light travel or
robots, or of new and different political or social systems.

FURTHER INFORMATION

Sri Lanka Astronomical Association - http://aalk.lakdiva.net/
International Year of Astronomy2009 - Sri Lanka - http://aalk.lakdiva.net/iya2009
International Year of Astronomy2009 - http://www.astronomy2009.org/

NOTES FOR EDITORS

The Ceylon Astronomical Association which was founded in June 1959, (later known as
Sri Lanka Astronomical Association) and now revived as the Astronomical Association
of Lanka (AALK) is a not-for-profit association founded by Sir Arthur C. Clarke and late
Herschel Gunawardene.

It is for the purpose of pursuing the study of astronomy and promoting the education of
astronomy and related sciences. The revived Association’s goals would include usage of
internet to carry research on astronomy and related sciences among university students
and others.

International Year of Astronomy 2009

The International Astronomical Union (IAU) has launched 2009 as the International Year
of Astronomy (IYA2009) under the theme “The Universe, Yours to Discover”.
IYA2009 marks the four hundredth anniversary of the first astronomical observation
through a telescope by Galileo Galilei. It will be a global celebration of astronomy and its
contributions to society and culture, with a strong emphasis on education, public
engagement and involvement of young people, with events at national, regional, and
global levels throughout the whole of 2009. IYA2009 has been endorsed by UNESCO,
which recommended it for adoption by the United Nations.

The IYA2009 activities will take place locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.
National Nodes in each country have been formed to prepare activities for 2009. These
Nodes establish between professional and amateur astronomers, science centers and
science communicators in preparing activities for 2009. More than 140 countries are
already involved.

Sri Lanka Astronomical Association acts as the National Node for IYA2009.