27 December 2009

ISRO Mars Mission

Indian Government has finally approved for the Indian Mars Mission. But the mission may take place anytime between 2018 to 2030. ISRO chairman is pretty confident that the mission will be done before 2030. I'm not sure on why ISRO needs such a long time to plan the mission. But looks like they are concentrating on the Moon and Manned Space missions for now.

Chandrayaan-2 is set to launch in 2013 with a rover (robotic car) and based on the result of C2 ISRO may plan C3 with man landing on the moon. The discussion will start only after the success of C2. Also Manned Space Mission is on the way when India may send their own astronauts to space by 2016. ISRO will only start planning the Mars mission after the success of these missions.

China has already planned their Mars mission 'Yinghuo-1' which was set to launch on October 2009??? I have no idea what happened to this mission as no website seem to mention this. Even Wikipedia says that "it will be launched on October 2009" (note the future tense).

19 December 2009

Picture of the Month - December 2009

Most of you would be familiar with the star trail images. Well, its just a photograph of the sky with the shutter opened for hours so that it can capture the trail or the movement of the stars. This image also shows the trail of the moon (you can easily guess) and also Jupiter (the bright trail very near the moon). This image also shows that the stars get dimmer as it reaches the horizon. That is because of the greater air masses at the horizon.

30 November 2009


Supernova (Supernovae in plural) is a Stellar Explosion (explosion of a star) which are so bright that it can be clearly seen even during the day time for months. Every star is made up of Hydrogen atoms. Just like how humans convert oxygen to carbon-dioxide in the process of breathing, similarly stars convert their Hydrogen atoms to Helium. When all the hydrogen atoms in the star has been converted, it will no longer be able to resist the gravity trying to compress the mass into its core. The star collapses and the outer layer is exploded resulting in Supernova. Not all stars ends in a Supernova.

Stars with a mass of more than 6 times the mass of the Sun ends up in a supernova explosion and the stars with lesser masses (including the Sun) ends up as a White Dwarf. A white dwarf radiates the remaining heat through out the universe for billions of years.

As the outer layer of the star explodes, the core of the star collapses either as a Neutron Star. If the mass of the remnant is large, it ends up into a Black Hole.

The last supernova in the Milky Way was recorded in the year 1604 called Kepler's Supernova (SN1604) which was brighter than all stars and planets. There hasn't been a supernova recorded in our galaxy since then but many were recorded in the nearby galaxies.

This is a false-color composite of Kepler's Supernova

Supernova is classified based on absorption lines of chemical elements. But it gets too scientific and so I don't want to go into it.

On June this year, astronomers noted that a star 'Betelgeuse' (one of the brightest stars in the night sky), in the constellation of Orion has shrunk 15% since 1993 at a very high speed. It is one of the largest known stars (Red Supergaint). There is a possibility that the star has already had a supernova explosion. Since it is around 600 light years away, we could see the explosion only 600 years after it has really occured. The explosion maybe expected anytime within the next 50 years atleast. The explosion will be the largest ever recorded and it may be as large as the moon. Betelgeuse will end up into a black hole due to its huge mass. Unlike certain theories this explosion will not cause any problem to Earth.

Post requested by Sidhu

29 November 2009

Picture Of The Month - November 2009

Water has been discovered on the surface of the Moon. Chandrayaan-1's Moon Mineralogy Mapper radios back that parts of Moon's surface absorb a very specific colour of light which are identified previously only with water. But there is no clue of what amount of water or what form exists there. A fascinating clue being debated is whether the water signal rises and falls during a single lunar day. If true, the signal might be explainable by hydrogen flowing out from the Sun and interacting with oxygen in the lunar soil. This could leave an extremely thin monolayer of water, perhaps only a few molecules thick. Some of the resulting water might subsequently evaporate away in bright sunlight. Pictured above, the area near a crater on the far side of the Moon shows a relatively high abundance of water-carrying minerals in false-color blue

26 November 2009

Nibiru - The Birth

Nibiru, the most talked topic of the century, is (unbelievably) believed by many. You search Nibiru online and every website tells you that it is a fact and that it will destroy Earth in 2012. But if you notice carefully, you'll realize that none of these websites were created by a professional astronomers. I made a little research to find more about how the rumor of Nibiru actually began.

It all began with the Mayan Calendar. Mayans were one of the oldest civilization. They had formatted a calendar which lasted for more than 3000 years. The last date of the Mayan Calendar leads to 21st December, 2012. Why did the Mayans stop their calendar on that date and why didn't they continue beyond that? Did the Mayans think that Earth will end on that date? These questions attracted many people. And that's how it began. But Mayans never meant the end of the world with their calendar. Mr. Jim Papp from Seattle made a research back in 1998 and found that the Mayan Calendar does not end in 2012, but in fact it was the end of a cycle and that the cycle would repeat all over again. It is similar to the Chinese 12-year Calendar.

Visit this website to know more about research of Mr. Papp.

Another very important fact is that the Mayans never mentioned about any unknown planets.

If Mayans didn't know about the planet Nibiru, where did it come from. Well, the name 'Nibiru' was invented by Zecharia Sitchin (born 1922 A.D.), who is an author and a scholar. He created a theory which says that an unknown planet, which he called 'Nibiru', collided a planet that existed between Mars and Jupiter and this collision led to the formation of the asteroid belt. He claims that this effect happened in 2024 B.C. Sitchin himself accepted that it was only a theory and no proof of the existence of Nibiru. He also said that he never theorized about Nibiru colliding Earth.

Sumerian Mythology believes that a planet will collide Earth which will lead to the destruction of Earth and all mankind. Now the fact is that Sumerians never claimed to have seen this planet nor did they predict when this would happen. It was just a belief like every other civilization on Earth have, including the modern day ones. It was a belief just like Kalki in Hinduism and Judgement Day in Christianity.

Now lets get back to how the rumor began. People who were obsessed by the Mayan Calendar, began telling everyone that the Earth will end but none would believe. They realised that people will believe them only if they bring about a scientific theories which would grab people's attention. That's how the theories began. Some of the theories said the Earth will get destroyed by - a planet colloiding Earth, Cosmic Radiation, Nuclear War, Aliens attacking Earth, etc. Actually all these theories exists. But Nibiru was well bought by people - thanks to these websites.

Now if you go about those Nibiru websites, it is clearly written that Mayans named the planet 'Nibiru'. But wikipedia says that Sitchin invented that name. This clearly says which is true and which is fake.

Other 2012 rumors:

In 1995, Nancy Lieder proposed the theory of an object that would collide Earth. She describes herself as a contactee with the ability to receive messages from extra-terrestrials from the Zeta Reticuli star system through an implant in her brain (lol). She states that she was chosen to warn mankind that the object would sweep through the Solar System in May 2003, causing a pole shift that would destroy most of humanity. The date was then revised to 2010 and then to 2012. I'm pretty sure that in another 2 years it will again be revised to 2015.This whole story was created by her just to get public attention.
Click Here to read about Nancy Lieder from Wikipedia

Why don't you google search for "Nostradamus prediction of World War III". It says a nuclear war between major countries will begin which will destroy most of the Earth and it will end in 2012. The website actually says that it was predicted by Nostradamus himself. I saw this news in 2006 which then said that WW3 will take place between 2007-2012. A year later I checked that website. It was revised to 2008-2012. Now it says 2009-2012. Can you guess what it will be after few months. Hard guess, I guess. :p

Click here to read about the Nostradamus Prediction.

One of the visible star in the night sky called, 'Betelgeuse', was noted to have shrunk 15% since 1993. That is, it is expected to die anytime between the next 5-50 years causing huge explosion which will be clearly seen even during day (And this explosion will not affect Earth by anyway). But now some websites says that the star will die in 2012 creating huge cosmic radiation which will kill all humans just like it killed dinosaurs.
Click Here for the Betelgeuse Rumor.

There are hundreds of other theories as well but most of them are toooooo kiddish to even mention. Of all such theories only the ones I mentioned above had atleast a bit of logic. Well, my point is that all these theories have only one common stuff - the year 2012 and this clearly proves that these theories were created to make people get obsessed about 2012 but none of these will make is a fact.

30 July 2009

Sun Dog

I had mentioned in my previous post about Sun Dog, which is a type of an ice halo. Click Here to read my post on Halo.

A Sun Dog is a particular type of ice halo. It is a colored patch of light to the left or right of the sun, 22 (or more) degrees distant and at the same distance above the horizon as the sun. It is the most commonly or second most commonly seen of the ice halos. Sun Dogs can be seen anywhere in the world during any season. They are best seen and at their most conspicuous when the sun is low. They are not rainbows.

These Sun Dogs are commonly mistaken for the Planet Nibiru.

Here are some of the pictures of the Sun Dog.

21 July 2009

Planet Nibiru and 2012

This post is dedicated to my friend Shiyamili who once asked me to write a post about the Planet Nibiru and the destruction of Earth in 2012.

First of all, what is Planet Nibiru? There is a conspiracy thoery stating that a rogue planet will destroy Earth on December 12, 2012. It is said that this threatening planet on a 3600-year orbit was discovered by the ancient Mesopotamians, who named it Nibiru, and it was known also to the Mayans, who associated it with the end of their calendar "long count" in December 2012.

It is rumored that the planet will be visible to our naked eye by 2009 in the southern hemisphere. It is also rumored that NASA is keeping an eye on the planet.

"In spite of my frustrations, I can always hope that Nibiru will turn into a teaching moment. Its proponents are convinced that it will be visible to the unaided eye this coming spring, and its effects on the rotation and orbit of the Earth will be obvious by summer. When none of this happens, I hope they'll realize that they need better tools to distinguish fact from fiction.", says David Morrison, a space scientist at NASA.

The existence of Nibiru is based on Sumerian mythology. At that time there was no telescope and hence there was no way the Sumerians would have seen a planet beyond the range of Pluto. Moreover, every object discovered beyond the range of Pluto are smaller than Pluto itself. Such large planet doesn't seem to exist. If the theory is true, the planet must have been visible to our naked eye by now. The only way to confirm is, by waiting, as David Morrison said.

But there are news of Planet Nibiru, which can be seen in our naked eye. Here's the picture proof.

That's an interesting one. If Planet Nibiru was so bright, why aren't everyone able to see it? Anyways, you want to know what that bright spot is? It's called as the 'Sun Dog'. A Sun Dog is a particular type of a Ice Halo. Some amateur astronomers and photographers are confusing it with the Planet Nibiru. Click Here to know about Sun Dogs.

Well, all I can say is that there is no such thing as the Planet Nibiru or destruction of Earth in 2012. If it is true, you MUST be able to see the planet in the next few months. Or, it's just fake and nothing else.

Click Here to know how the rumor of Nibiru began.

17 July 2009

Solar Eclipse - July 22, 2009

A Total Solar Eclipse occurs on July 22, 2009. The eclipse will be visible on northern India, eastern Nepal, northern Bangladesh, Bhutan, the northern tip of Myanmar, central China and the Pacific Ocean. This is also the first Solar Eclipse of the year [January eclipse was an annular].

The below picture shows the umbra and penumbra of the eclipse. The regions under the dot experiences a total solar eclipse and the regions under the shadow circle experiences a partial eclipse. [NOTE: It is an animated image]

Chennai City experiences a partial eclipse. The eclipse begins right at sunrise 5:28 am and ends at 10:42 am when the moon leaves the sunset point at the pacific. The next solar eclipse in India will be on January 5, 2010, which will be an annular eclipse with umbra passing near Chennai.

Earthquake and Tsunami Prediction:

There has been an earthquake prediction by a software developer who specializes in Computer Game Physics and has posted a theory on a blog post. According to the theory, the long total eclipse will cause a tectonic plate shift in south of Japan resulting a major Tsunami. However, the author claims that this is only a theory and acknowledges that he is not qualified to make a formal prediction. The news is swiftly gaining attention worldwide as an electronic chain letter. Mainstream scientists and media have already rejected this hypothesis stating that there is no credible evidence to prove any relationship between solar eclipses and earthquakes.

4 June 2009

Picture Of The Month - June 2009

The above picture shows the Trio stars of the Orion's Belt along with The Great Orion Nebula, the Horsehead Nebula and the Flame Nebula. The three bright stars along the diagonal are the three stars of the Orion Belt.

The reddish cloud below the left most star is the Flame Nebula. The Flame Nebula includes the Horsehead Nebula (the darkest portion on the leftmost of the flame nebula is in the shape of the head of a horse). The bright cloud on top of the left most star is the Great Orion Nebula.

The three Nebulea together is known as the Orion Molecular Cloud Complex.

8 January 2009

My Theory

*~*Disclaimer: The following theory is put forward all by myself. The contents may or may not be true. *~*

I hope you would have read my previous topic, ‘How Old is Everything’. There I explained how the age of the Universe was estimated to be between 11 to 18 billion years. In this topic I’m not going to tell you that the Universe has a limit or that there is a perfect boundary for the Universe but I’m going prove that one cannot see anything in the Universe beyond a particular range which could form an invisible boundary.

Before explaining my theory let me start with the basics. I hope you all would have heard of the term ‘Light Year’. It is the distance traveled by light in one year. Now imagine you see a star which is 10 LY (Light Year) away. The light from the star that you actually see was produced from the star 10 years ago. It has taken 10 years for the light to travel from that star all the way to Earth. Based on this there are three possibilities on whether you can see a particular star.

1. Now let us imagine a star which is 10 million LY away. If the star was alive 10 million years ago then we will be able to see the star at present as the light produced from the star 10 million years ago would reach the Earth at the present time. I hope there is no doubt about that.

2. Now let us assume that the star (10 million LY away) was not present 10 million years ago. Let the age of the star be 1 million years old. Though the star does exist at present we would not be able to see it from Earth because the light of the star will take 9 million more years to reach Earth.

3. Now let us imagine that a star (10 million LY away) did exist 10 million years ago but it does not exist at present. Let us assume that the star died about 5 million years ago. Yet we would be able to see the star. Only after 5 million years we would be able to see the star die from Earth.

My theory is based on these three points. Once you understand these three points, you would be able to understand my theory.

Coming to the point, let us assume that the Universe is 1 billion years old and there was no source of light before that. Let us assume that there is a star 1 billion LY away and that it was present right from the beginning of the Universe. Then we can surely see that source from Earth. Now let us assume that there is a star which is 2 billion LY away. We would not be able to see it because the star was not present 2 billion years ago. Since that was before the birth of Universe, there was nothing in the universe at that time. Hence we can see nothing beyond the range of 1 billion LY since there was no source of light at that time. Thus our range of sight is only up to 1 billion LY is all direction.

Therefore I conclude that though Universe does not have a definite boundary, it certainly has a limit beyond which nothing can be seen, whether or not something is present. And this limit is given by the age of the Universe. Hence every second, the limit is further extended by 1 light second (3x10^8 meters). Hence every year, the limit is extended by 1 LY. Is this what the scientists say that the Universe is expanding??? Or is it just a coincidence???

The object within the white circle is the farthest object ever discovered. Abell 2218 is a tiny galaxy at a distance of roughly 13 billion LY from Earth

Here is another point I have discovered. Using the above theory one can say that the limit of the universe is approximately the age of the universe itself. And one cannot see anything beyond this range from Earth. By theory of relativity, it can also be said that the Earth is in the center of this boundary or relatively Earth is at the center of the Universe.