19 August 2012

Evolution of Stars

The above image is the simplest explanation of the life of a star. How they are born or created from a stellar cloud and how they end up as a White Dwarf or Neutron Star or a Black Hole. Our Sun is a small star and hence it will end up as a White Dwarf.

Check out my other post for more details.

Life of a Star
Black Hole

6 June 2012

Venus Transit - An Experience

When I finished work early this morning, first thing I did was to take a snap of the Sun by covering my camera lens with a dense x-ray sheet. It wasn’t good enough. The picture of the Sun wasn’t really clear and I wasn't able to see the Venus.

I rushed home and took out the eclipse glass I created (by covering an X-ray sheet over my goggles). I wore my goggles and I was able to see the Sun clearly and most importantly a tiny little dot (Venus). For a moment I thought I imagined it!

Looking at the Sun and Venus through my own eclipse glass

Though I was able to see the Venus, I wasn’t satisfied with that. I needed to take a snap in order to preserve the moment. An idea struck me! I pulled out an old broken binocular and a cardboard. I made a circular hole in the cardboard and stuck the front end of the binoculars to it. I directed the binoculars to the Sun. Now the Sun light was passing through binoculars’ lens and the cardboard created a shadow around it.

Binoculars covered by the cardboard directed towards the Sun

I then placed an A4 sheet behind the rear end of the binoculars. Now the binoculars were creating a projection of the Sun. But no sign of Venus! After a lot of adjustments and focus, was finally able to see the Venus! And what’s better? I wasn’t just able to take a snap but a video as well.

Projection of the Sun from the Binoculars

I had to re-arrange the setup every few minutes due to the Sun’s movement in the sky. At around 9:00 IST a heavy wind blew away my setup and my binoculars were damaged beyond repair. I wanted to take snaps until Venus moves out of the Sun but unfortunately that wasn't possible.

Below are the snaps I took of the Venus Transit and also a video!

A video of the Projection (No Audio. And Venus wasn't clear since I had the flash on by mistake)

The above three pictures were taken at 7:18 IST

At 8:06 IST

At 8:38 IST

At 8:57 IST

At 8:58 IST

My setup dismantled after my binoculars broke into parts

28 May 2012

Transit of Venus

In two weeks time (June 6, 2012, Wednesday) Venus, who has been glittering in the evening sky over the past few months will transit the Sun for the second time this century. The last time the transit occurred was on June 8, 2004. For those who missed it last time better catch it this time or you will never get another chance to see it. The next transit will occur only on December 11, 2117.

An animated view of Venus Transit in 2004

This year’s transit will occur between 3:39am IST to 10:19am IST. We would only be able to see it only after sun rise which is approximately 5:30am IST.

A transit is nothing but an occultation (just like an eclipse) when a planet (usually Mercury or Venus) comes in between Earth and Sun. Unlike the Moon, the planet cannot block the entire Sun since it is very small from Earth’s perspective. Hence we can see the planet only as a tiny dot over the Sun.

Best way to look at the transit is by using an Eclipse Shades or Welder’s Glass. DO NOT look directly into the Sun as it may cause damage to your eyes. Neither try to look at it using Sun Glasses as it does not block out the Sun’s brightness completely.

Venus Transits Past, Present and Future

Below are the three images of the upcoming Transit that I took using the application 'Stellarium'. The first image is how the transit will look at sunrise (5:40am IST). The second one is at 8:00am IST and the third is at 10:00am IST. Click on the images to get a clear view of the transit.

Transit at 5:40am IST

Transit at 8:00am IST

Transit at 10:00am IST