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
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...
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.
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.
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
Monday, December 31, 2012
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Thanks to Thilina Heenatigala of AWB now we can have a list of web-streams of the total solar eclipse.
The totality of 2 minutes will take place at 20:38 UT on 13th November. (06:38 AEST on 14th of November). In Sri Lankan local time, it would be 02:08 am in the morning of 14th.
Don't miss out !!
Cairns Solar Eclipse, 2012
The official destination website for the total solar Eclipse over Cairns and Great Barrier Reef will feature Terry Cuttle from the Astronomical Association of Queensland as the host. He will be joined by Kate Russo (eclipse chaser and author), Ben Southall (winner of the 'Best Job in the World' promotion and tourism ambassador), Richard Fitzpatrick (an underwater cameraman, will be live from under water) and Alan Hale (from Hale-Bopp comet who is studying comets close to the Sun which can only be seen during an eclipse).
2012 Eclipse live from a Cairns Hot Air Balloon
Up to a dozen hot air balloons floating west of Cairns, Queensland Australia, with visitors from 20 different countries will be part of a live webcast of the 2012 total solar eclipse.
SLOOH will broadcast a free, real-time feed of the stunning total solar eclipse live from Cairns, Australia. The broadcast team includes Patrick Paolucci, Bob Berman, Lucie Green, Matt Francis and Paul Cox.
Cairns City Eclipse 2012 webcam
Can't make it to Cairns to see the Eclipse? No problem! Just check back on 14 November before 6:39am AEST (GMT+10) to see it live on our webcam.
Videos and pictures of the eclipse will be broadcast live on the internet starting at 20:30 UT. Additionally meteorological data will be collected to allow students to perform an interactive experiment. During the broadcast there will be live commentary in Spanish and English.
Live Web Camera from Port Douglas Australia 2012
Monday, November 5, 2012
|Dr. G.T.F. De Silva during his lecture|
|Mr. Tharaka Gamage, while he was addressing the gathering during his presentation|
|Mr. Nishantha Dilruk putting into words his experience during the initial stages of ASSC, and describing how they worked in numerous projects, such as to build telescopes from scratch with raw materials.|
|Rev. Father Anthony addressing the gathering|
|Professor Kavan Ratnatunga, during his video presentation|
1. Sri Sumangala College, Panadura
2. Central College, Piliyandala
3. Science College
4. St. Joseph's College, Nugegoda
5. Isipathana College
6. Defense College
7. Buddhist Girl's College
8. Prince of Wales College, Moratuwa
9. Kothalawalapura Maha Vidyalaya
10. De Mazenod College, Kandana
Thus the upcoming events of ASSC look promising, as the next program is due on 10th of November 2012 from 1:30 pm onward at the Subodhi premises. If you're not a member, you too can take part and make sure to be there in time, next Saturday joining the noble endeavor of exploring the universe.
Thursday, November 1, 2012
IAU Office of Astronomy for Development: Internship Opportunity
The International Astronomical Union (IAU), in partnership with the South African National Research Foundation (NRF), has established the global Office of Astronomy for Development (OAD) at the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) in Cape Town, South Africa. The OAD began its work on 1st March 2011 and ambitiously sets out to use astronomy as a tool for global development. This office is to be the centre of development activities worldwide in the areas of (i) astronomy for children and schools; (ii) astronomy for universities and research; and (iii) astronomy for the public. The OAD is the first step in the implementation of the IAU decadal strategy entitled “Astronomy for the developing world” (www.iau.org). It will coordinate three task forces in the areas mentioned above and several regional nodes across the world.
As the OAD gains momentum it seeks assistance in many different forms. The internship position
should be filled by an energetic person with strong computing and excellent communication skills. Not only will this be an opportunity for the person to contribute meaningfully to this global development project but it will also provide them with unique international experience in using astronomy for development. The position could be part time or full time depending on the applicant’s current study commitments. It will be based at the OAD in Cape Town and the intern will report directly to the Director of the OAD. He/she will be responsible for all or some of the specific tasks listed below.
- Communicate regularly with international stakeholders and manage email lists
- Coordinate translation/interpretation services as required
- Oversee maintenance of website, databases, new media (twitter, facebook, etc)
- Source information as needed for OAD operations (this may entail literature searches, research into regional strengths and weaknesses, surveys, etc.)
- Assist with administration of small grants
- Provide assistance to Director wherever needed (e.g. in preparing international funding proposals, coordination of volunteers across the world, collecting resources, etc.)
- University degree in astronomy or related field
- Demonstrated experience relevant to the tasks above
- Good communication skills (both written and verbal)
- Good computer skills and knowledge of social networking
- Highly organised and a quick learner
- Project management and financial experience will be advantageous
Interested candidates should send a cover letter containing a motivation, and full CV, including 2
letters of reference, to the SAAO Human Resources Manager, Linda Tobin (Address: P O Box 9,
Observatory, 7935, phone: 021-4470025; fax: 021-4473639; email: firstname.lastname@example.org, web:
www.astronomyfordevelopment.org, www.saao.ac.za. For further information please refer to the
Director of the OAD, Kevin Govender (email@example.com)
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
The next total solar eclipse is not that far away, We're about 2 weeks away from it. On 13th and 14th of November 2012 (UT) those who are located in Cairns, Australia and southern Pacific Ocean will have the chance of observing this. This time the greatest totality will last around 4 minutes of time with a magnitude of 1.05 Generally a solar eclipse will take place when the Moon passes in between Sun and the Earth, shading the solar view partially or fully relative to an observer based on Earth. The solar eclipse is said to be a total solar eclipse when the Moon's apparent diameter is larger than that of Sun, completely obscuring the view of Sun and the corresponding areas of Earth will experience darkness during such an event. Thus the totality will be visible to observers located in a narrow traverse across the Earth's surface whilst a partial solar eclipse will be experienced in a broader region.
Where to be
How to view SAFE
It is really important to be savvy how to SAFELY observe a solar eclipse, for what you're playing with is sun and hence there shan't be any mistakes at all, for they would lead to irreversible damage to your eye. You should never directly look at the sun with the naked eye or with some optical devices such as telescopes binoculars. During a total solar eclipse, there are 3 phases which are the phase of totality and the ones before and after totality. However it is safe to view the solar eclipse without any filters, ONLY when there is the short phase of totality. It is imperative that safely precautions must be adhered to during the other 2 phases. One common solution is using the welder's goggles/ glasses with the rating 14 or higher, as they screen out the harmfulness.One of the safest methods on the other hand is the indirect projection. The image of the sun is projected onto a white piece of paper using binoculars (with one side covered), a telescope or another piece of cardboard which has been made into a pinhole camera (by making a small 1mm hole in it).
Live streaming of total solar eclipse 2012
It is true that most of us can't travel to Cairns or to be in a cruise in South Pacific Ocean during the time of the eclipse. Therefore there will be live webcast/ streaming via internet as the total eclipse will take place. A Google search will take you where you want. However nothing beats the exciting adventure of traveling to the eclipse site and observing it physically and only reminds me the eclipse chase tour to Jaffna, Sri Lanka in January 2010 for the annular solar eclipse.
Here are some useful websites especially dedicated to bringing you updates and news from Cairns.
Monday, October 29, 2012
Astronomy & Space Study Center, affiliated to Subodhi Institute of Integral Education based in Wewala, Piliyandala has been a center of astronomy knowledge and resources for students and astronomy enthusiasts in Sri Lanka for about 24 years. Astronomy & Space Study Center has thus far rendered a great many astronomy professionals working at both national and international arena. Having been once, the most active astronomy society in Sri Lanka, the center has been instrumental in organizing astronomy lectures, activities and observational camps during its regular Saturday programs. Since the society has been inactive for about last 6 years, now a revival attempt has been made to get things back on track.
I could still recall the last day program we had on 31st of December 2006, almost 6 years ago and gathering from what was following never did I think that it would cost 6 whole years of absence for ASSC to be activated again. The pause was presumed to be for about 6 months or at most one year, but things happened in such a way that it got dragged up to 6 years. The Saturday program that we had each weekend was missing big time and one of the resources that was active providing astronomy knowledge to the country had gone missing. However what has happened has happened, and only those inspired can change the happening.
|Letters of invitation|
|Dileepa at work !|
Fr. Mervyn Fernando will patronize the ASSC as usual with the revival of ASSC due next Saturday and the regular Saturday program will be effective each Saturday with an interesting blend of astronomy content and activities. We've already sent out invitations for about 60 schools throughout the island to take part in the event of revival, commencing at 1.30 pm at the Subodhi premises. I sincerely think this would be a great chance to meet old friends, and make new friendships and of course to learn about astronomy. Feel free to comment here if you have some thought to share or anything to clarify or even if you're interested in being a part of this endeavor. Looking forward to meeting many astro-enthusiasts !
|Invitations, off they go !!|
Facebook event : https://www.facebook.com/events/360137447413015/
Sunday, September 9, 2012
My co-ordinates in Piliyandala
There was a bright red dot noticeably visible to where I was and I was observing it for almost an hour before it disappeared. However I noticed that the background stars were moving relative to this strange red dot and the dot was frequently varying its color. During this course I assume the dot remained static in its celestial location/ co-ordinates. Thus I noticed a fast variation of its brightness. Unforgettably I didn't have advanced equipment for recording this, but I informed some of my friends located in the same vicinity and few of them could observe the strange red dot.
Just few minutes before it was gone, I noticed the dot becoming even redder and I had no clue what it was, I ruled out that it was a satellite as it was a static object as per my observations.
Finally what I could figure out was that this might be some explosion very far far away from our solar system. Could it be something in the range of what Tycho Brahe observed to be a supernova explosion for months, located from Europe during the 16th century, whereas the duration of this as 1 hour more or less ?
Looking forward to your comments and maybe similar reports..
Clear skies !!
Monday, August 6, 2012
Plus what kind of discoveries can be made with this rover's expertise. By far Curiosity is the largest rover to have landed on Mars as we know and what we all just have to do is let the science begin, Already there are torrents of photos and data being sent to Earth and you all can see the pictures in NASA website. Quite interestingly it was seen that the NASA web-servers crashed at the high traffic naturally triggered for the Curiosity's news of safe landing. Anyway stay tuned in for NASA for latest news about the Curiosity.
|Practice of the tradition of munching peanuts before the entry of the rover|
Just before the first entry point, it was seen the usual tradition of munching of peanuts was practiced and now we all know that Curiosity has made it to Mars safely. The crews at JPL were exhilarating as they made the achievement when the pictures of the Martian surface appeared on the screen. It was truly a moment of joy and celebration, as their untiring efforts paid off.
|JPL Crew reactions at the touchdown of Curiosity Rover|
If you have time just try to find and have a look at the animation depicting the entry and landing, the technique of parachute and rocket boosters is novel and interesting. They have built the largest ever parachute for this endeavor, I heard. Looking forward to more updates from Curiosity !
Pictures courtesy : NASA TV
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
However the Venus transit is still in progress for us in Trincomalee, Sri Lanka and it will last for almost 1 hour more or less. Here I'm posting some pictures of this final Venus transit of the century, taken by me and also some other photos of the outreach campaign we conducted for the school students and people in the areas, It would be great to hear what you guys had been through during the same time, so let's share !!
|Above was taken around 7.40 am local time from Trincomalee, Sri Lanka, just above the eastern horizon.|
|The above was also taken around 8.00 am local time from Trincomalee, Sri Lanka, just above the eastern horizon.|
|The above was also taken around 8.10 am local time from Trincomalee, Sri Lanka, just above the eastern horizon.|
Pena que eu não tive tempo antes para trazer esta notícia antes, sobre o fenômeno histórico, onde pela última vez neste século, assim como em quase todo o nosso tempo de vida. Vênus passará diante do Sol, visto da Terra, ocultando uma pequena parte do disco solar. Eu viajei para Trincomalee na costa leste da ilha (Sri Lnka) só para observar isso alguns segundos mais cedo do que os meus vizinhos em Colombo (Capital do Sri Lanka). Nós (membros do MAS ) estamos trazendo um webcast ao vivo, via streaming de Trincomalee. Vamos, naturalmente, perder os 2 primeiros pontos de contato devido à nossa localização geográfica, porém, poderemos assistir a partir do nascer do sol no horizonte oriental e os pontos 3 e 4 do evento. Estou colocando o link, onde teremos o streaming do trânsito de Vênus . Você tem também a chance de conferir ao vivo, com o streaming abaixo.
Aproveite para compartilhar, desejo-lhe tudo de bom, e um bom clima!
Translation Credit: Hermerio Júnior
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Too bad I didn't have time earlier to bring you some early news about this historical phenomenon, where for the last time in this century, as well as in almost all of our life time, Venus makes a transit across solar disk, as seen from the Earth. I've traveled to Trincomalee in the East coast of the island just to observe this a few seconds earlier than my neighbors in Colombo. We (members of MAS) are bringing a live webcast/ streaming from Trincomalee as the event takes place. We will of course miss the first 2 contacts due to our geographical location this time, however we will take it from the sun rise from the eastern horizon to be followed by 3rd and 4th contacts.
Here I'm giving the online link where we will have our Venus transit webpage and you have also the chance of viewing it live from this blog right now.
Enjoy and share and I wish you all good weather !!
What is a transit of Venus?When Venus passes directly between earth and the sun, we see the distant planet as a small dot gliding slowly across the face of the sun. Historically, this rare alignment is how we measured the size of our solar system.
When is it?The next transit of Venus occurs June 5 or 6, 2012, depending on your location. Observers in North America see it the evening of June 5. This will be the last transit of Venus to occur in your lifetime.
For Sri Lanka
Sunday, June 3, 2012
I had the pleasure of participating in the 5th International Meeting on Astronomy and Astronautics as an invited speaker as the president of the Mathematical & Astronomical Society of University of Colombo. Having arrived in Brazil for the first time, and being though my first 2 days in Brazil I was slowly having my lessons and learning about the culture and the people, who proved to be very dynamic, spontaneous and friendly as I was progressing with rest of the stay. The hospitality I received was amazing, Professor Marcelo was always making sure I was doing fine and helped me in whatever possible way he could have had, and later as I was traveling in some parts of the Brazil, it proved to be no exception, as the Brazilian hospitality I received was at its best.
|My Visa for 5th International Meeting on Astronomy and Astronautics|
Well, Let's get straight into the context, 5th International Meeting on Astronomy and Astronautics started on the 19th morning inside the cinema hall of the Shopping Boulevard in Campos dos Goytacazes. Saying something about the hosting city, which is usually referred to as Campos, it is located almost in the middle between the cities of Vitória and Rio de Janeiro, which are the metropolitan capitals of Brazilian states of Espirito Santos and Rio de Janeiro respectively. I think you would get to Campos in a 3-hour driver from Rio. In Brazilian Portuguese, Campos means fields and they say Gaytacazes is an Indian tribe that used to live in the area and hence the name Campos dos Goytacazes.
|The audience at the same time: The audience consisted of students, teachers, and citizens of Campos dos Goytacazes|
|Professor Marcelo Souza, speaking at the opening ceremony|
|Just before the start !|
|Tamas Ladanyi from Hungary - TWAN (The World At Night)|
|Professor Marcelo performing the interpretation task during the astrophotography workshop of Tamas Ladanyi|
During the evening of the second day he also conducted a workshop on using equipment/ gear for astrophotography, touching down many technical specs as well. Then he led an expedition into a darker and distant area of the city with Professor Marcelo to flee from the lights of the city to get involved with more hands-on activity, where he demonstrated exactly the very steps that one needs to follow in taking a decent photo of some celestial object with the inclusion of a landscape as well. I was able to join this expedition and get more insights into my understanding of this beautiful branch of astronomy. Below you will see a picture that Tamas made at the end of the observation session at this remote location, along with all the participants.
Have a thorough look at the southern skies !!
|Southern skies and the participants of the Tamas Ladanyi's workshop - Tamas himself, Professor Marcelo Souza and Johannes Stübler from Austria are also presented in the picture. (Photo Credit : Tamas Ladanyi)|
|Me and Tamas Ladanyi|
|One of the funny slides of José Carlos Diniz (Photo Credit : Johannes Stübler)|
The next was the presentation of Johannes Stübler, the National Co-ordinator of AWB (Astronomers without Borders) from Austria. Johannes gave an account about his ambassador role in "Living the Idea", traveling from Linz, his home city in Austria across Jordan, Syria and Turkey, promoting the astronomy and trying to get more people, met on the road to look at the skies and get interested. I was convinced that it is a great coincidence that Johannes Stübler also comes from the same city that Johannes Kepler was once living, as I was gathering more information.
|Astronomy Outreach - from Orient to Occident (Photo Credit : Johannes Stübler)|
|A souvenir I received from Johannes Stübler|
|Me and Johannes Stübler, he presented me the gift of the raffle draw :)|
|Another picture, you add the caption for this !|
|Dimitri Gadotti, a Brazilian working at ESO in Chile, during his presentation|
“Jorge Marcgrave in Dutch Brazil: his founder role in Astronomy of Brazil and of the New World” - This sounded different for me in the beginning, Dutch Brazil ? Well, as I was through the presentation of Oscar Matsuura, who is a veteran researcher based in São Paulo, Brazil, I managed to figure out answers to my puzzle. He spoke about the pioneering role of Jorge Marcgrave in astronomy in Dutch Brazil or Brasil holandês as it is said in Brazilian Portuguese and about the influence he had on the people of northern parts of Brazil when they were Dutch colonies. Although I've included the Wikipedia link about Jorge Marcgrave here, I'm more than sure the presentation of Oscar was more resourceful.
|Oscar Matsuura, and me outside the Shopping Boulevard, Campos|
|Attendees for the 5th International Meeting on Astronomy and Astronautics waiting inside the Shopping Boulevard, You can also see the telescopes, multimedia, mobile planetarium, belonging to the Louis Cruls Astronomy Club.|
|Dr. Robert Zubrin from United States during his presentation|
|Professor Marcelo & Dr. Zubrin with Monique, Ana, Lucas & Hermerio - First Brazilian Crew in Mars Desert Research Station|
One of the other interesting as well as curious sessions to follow was the presentation of meteorite hunter Dirk Ross from Yamaguchi University, Japan and AWB with the topic "Meteor/Meteorite Soup"
|Here is Dirk Ross, as he presents on "Meteor/Meteorite Soup"|
|Dirk is confronted by curious students after his talk !|
|Dirk Ross at his meteorite hunting workshop, Look at the meteorites on the table !|
|Professor Marcelo, Dirk, Andrea and me as we were receiving the HOT news !, Believe me, this kept us sleepless and awake till the early morning.|
However later taking into account the information and all the possibilities, Dirk concluded it to be space junk, seen being burnt as it was entering the atmosphere. However it triggered some fuss and suddenly a lot of interest and attention was paid to what Dirk was trying to explain in his talks.
|The Souvenir from Dirk Ross|
Still on the second day there were many other sessions and activities too with the inclusion of variety of events both indoors and outdoors.
|The areas discussed in the meeting were vivid, here you see Eugênio Reis talking about Sun and its life cycle|
|Eugênio Reis with students at his outdoor session on solar observation.|
|Norma Reis from Brasilia, talking about her work with scientific communication, her topic was “Teacher’s MEC Portal exemplified by the site “Astronomy, Astronautics and Space Science at the School”|
|Here you see Oswaldo Barbosa during his workshop session, he's specialized about rocket propulsion and is from ACRUX Aerospace Technologies based in São Paulo, Brazil.|
|Outdoor adventure with Oswaldo Barbosa|
|Dirk Ross and me with some students|
|This is Gennady Saenko from ROSCOSMOS talking about "Russia in Space - Vision and Challenges"|
|Andrea Sanchez-Saldias from Universidad de La Republica – Uruguay, during her presentation of “Educational experiences in Uruguay (formal and non-formal)”|
|This is me with Adriano Leonês, who talked about “School in the Stars – Experiences and Reports of three years teaching astronomy”|
|During my presentation, which was the last on the agenda.|
|The amazing and promising team of Louis Cruls astronomy club, who were behind the organizing of the 5th International Meeting on Astronomy and Astronautics and bringing it to such a success. Kudos to all of them it was a great event !|