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 !

Friday, April 9, 2010

GAM-Global Astronomy Month (GAM2010) - Trailer Launched

Guys, here is the long waited official trailer of GAM2010 :

If you have a close friend you'd love to take to a star party,
a family member you'd like to show the sky,
a colleague you've always wanted to understand the exciting things in the sky,
a distant friend who shares your passion for astronomy,
a stranger on the street you want to encourage to look up at the wonders that lie just above,
this is your invitation to share the sky with them all.
Take your family. Invite your friends. Share your sky.
Be part of Global Astronomy Month.
~One People, One Sky~

And here is the Spanish version of the trailer :

El trailer oficial del Mes Global de la Astronomia, 2010, en EspaƱol. Un mismo Pueblo, un mismo Cielo!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

GAM- Is There Anybody Out There ? : Spying the Exoplanet TrES-3b

Back to back nights with astronomy, which is such an irresistible sequence of events, were taking place right from 06th of April, This GAM 2010 featured remote observation sessions continued even on 07th of April, supporting the fact that quench for the true astronomy is hardly appeased. I hope this is the 2nd night that Gianluca broke rest. His dedication to the GAM & Astronomy is so remarkable...

After running a long marathon collecting more than 100 Messier objects all over the heavens, our next goal was an espionage, Yes literally we set out to spy the Exoplanet TrES-3b, which was transiting over it's own star. We were led by Gianluca with his clear and detailed commentary and we had Virtual Telescope by your side to equip us with the tools necessary for the analytics of  far-away TrES-3b.

Here is a video that I created, featuring Gianluca during our Espionage of TrES-3b.

This starry adventure was more of a scientific one, which was capable of determining many parameters with pure science, astrophysics indeed. We can plot a graph from the data yielded from observations and then integrate all the plots with error bars to determine important information of the target, which in this case was TrES-3b. I have posted below some of the raw plots and full graph in the end.

The parameters such as velocity, mass,  orbital period, etc of Exoplanet TrES-3b could be deciphered from the plots, and I welcome anybody to go ahead and analyze the data and make them available here with a comment. This is just to make you, readers more knowledgeable and build a colloquium on this great exercise..

As same as in the previous remote observation session, participants were issued with a certificate, which is in fact a souvenir of GAM2010. So far GAM has been so thrilling and exciting and I believe in the fact it will continue to fascinate more people under the AWB's general slogan "One People One Sky"

Here is the certificate

Thus follows the plots, First I will post the final Plot, !!

Here are the rest of plots that were made with the help of Virtual Telescope, There are ordered in the order of their time of being plotted. Firtst one is the earliest and so on and so forth.

Thank you AWB, VT & Gianluca for giving all of us a great chance to keep discovering the universe on our own with GAM 2010. Be ready for the upcoming GAM events Saturn Watch and Here Comes the Sun !

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

GAM-Messier Marathon with 6,500 Runners ! 10 + Hours

I was lucky enough to be a part of the largest Messier Marathon, which could be claimed as the largest event of such a kind with the participation of more than 6,500 runners (participants) for throughout a period of 10+ hours. This was the 1st virtual remote observation session that we had in GAM, The observations were based on Virtual Telescope located at the backyard observatory of Dr. Gianluca Masi, Ceccano, Italy together with the guided narration from Gianluca. In fact the Origins of the Online Messier Marathon are connected with 100HA, which was a great project that we had during IYA2009. Now this endeavor is progressing with the initiative taken by AWB with GAM 2010.

In the end we were able to observe 103 Messier objects located all over the sky and of course have fun together.

The Online Messier Marathon started on April 5, staring at 18.00 Universal Time and continuing with the Messier catalogue, classified by the famous French astronomer/ comet-hunter Charles Messier. For me, this was not only my first chance to take part in a messier Marathon, also a platform where I could meet and interact with a lot of fellow astronomy friends/ colleagues from around the globe.

One of the benefits you can have individually, was that you could take real time images, which are really great and informative while running in the marathon. As you click on the dynamic page the picture will be opened in a new tab ready to be saved. As far as I remember we started the marathon from M31 and continued through M110, M52, M103..etc : This was the unique URL of this event.

Now I will focus on interesting things happened during the tiresome but enjoyable run. However I will not post more images here but facts. Of course the images will be online soon at Gianluca's Facebook.

Once we were having a short break and afterward the break Gianluca was gifted with w nice artwork done by our Nicaraguan friend Julio Vannini. It resembled waving Gianluca smiling in a background of heavenly bodies, Gianluca was so much thrilled with it and you can also see the image here.

Then Gianluca dedicated a nebula to Julio withing a short while. (Actually I fee I am still living with the Messier Marathon as I'm writing this :) ) Can anyone guess the gift given by Gianluca?... It was Messier 64 (M64, NGC 4826) the famous Black Eye galaxy. (Julio owns a Galaxy now :D)
M64- Black Eye galaxy

We also had a 1-minute silence for the innocent people who were faced with the Earthquake in Italy back in April, 2009. This happened during IYA at the time, when 100HA was concluding and was one of the sad news everybody shared.

Mike Simmons the chair of GAM 2010 and president of AWB also joined the EPIC run amidst his busy schedules and shared the joy of starry nights with One People One Sky slogan.

 Global Astronomy Month : Online Messier Marathon

Yet one of the significant features of this long Messier Marathon was that everyone was issued with a certificate of participation, I hope this would be a wonderful souvenir for any astronomy lover. Here is mine.

In addition to this we had loads of fun, with chatbox and Gianluca's accompany...It was just fantastic, you never need to miss such a great one. It's tantalizing.... I also had screen capture recording of the event and will put them youtube soon...

And folks, await the next one, happening less than in 10 hours from now : "Is There Anybody Out There?"

Check out more info here :

In the end I thank Gianluca, Mike, and all the AWB/ GAM officials and other supporters who committed their efforts in bringing up this event to such an overwhelming success.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Here are some of the Images that I was able to save !!!!~~~~~~~

M13 - Hercules Globular Cluster

M20 - The Trifid Nebula

M84 - A galaxy of the Virgo Cluster of Galaxies

M45 - Elegant Pleiades

M99 - A spiral galaxy in the constellation Coma Berenices

M57 - Ring Nebula

Sunday, April 4, 2010

A Set of Podcasts dedicated to Global Astronomy Month |GAM 2010

I was lucky enough to hear about lot of projects organized by different countries for GAM 2010. The GAM kicked off on 1st of April and this is the 4th day of GAM. Thus far, I have heard of Nepal's endeavors for GAM especially through Facebook network, I saw frequent status updates from my Nepalese friend Riwaj about their GAM activities started right from the 1st day.

Well, as from Sri Lanka we will also have a set of projects to celebrate the Global Astronomy Month. As far as I am aware these projects include a series of GAM-dedicated podcasts, some observation sessions (day/ night) and astronomy talks.

However I will generally focus this post on the featured series of podcasts for GAM. In fact I was able to contribute to the 1st one of those today. We had a recording of a podcast this evening @ Hasitha's place in Malabe. My colleagues Thilina, Hasitha, & Anuradha were the other guys with me, If you're familiar with this blog you should know about these people, Thilina is the General Secretary of Sri Lanka Astronomical Association, whereas Hasitha & Anuradha (Anu) are the webmasters of famous Sri Lankan astronomy portal SKYLK.COM
 Here we are at the podcast session !

In today's podcast we didn't stick to a single topic as usual, and highlighted GAM 2010 and brought out some astronomy news basically on CERN, Saturn, Sun Spots & etc. SO I had a great time recording the podcast this evening.

The recorded podcasting sessions will be edited and will soon go online on SkyLK Podcast
We are planning to do 4 podcasts throughout the GAM and bring it out with more interesting topics, that might appeal to you all.

Feel free to share your GAM experiences here as well, simply because it's all about One People One Sky !