The Old Astronomer

Reach me down my Tycho Brahe, — I would know him when we meet,
When I share my later science, sitting humbly at his feet;
He may know the law of all things, yet be ignorant of how
We are working to completion, working on from then till now.

Pray, remember, that I leave you all my theory complete,
Lacking only certain data, for your adding as is meet;
And remember, men will scorn it, ’tis original and true,
And the obloquy of newness may fall bitterly on you.

But, my pupil, as my pupil you have learnt the worth of scorn;
You have laughed with me at pity, we have joyed to be forlorn;
What, for us, are all distractions of men’s fellowship and smiles?
What, for us, the goddess Pleasure, with her meretricious wiles?

You may tell that German college that their honour comes too late.
But they must not waste repentance on the grizzly savant’s fate;
Though my soul may set in darkness, it will rise in perfect light;
I have loved the stars too truly to be fearful of the night.

What, my boy, you are not weeping? You should save your eyes for sight;
You will need them, mine observer, yet for many another night.
I leave none but you, my pupil, unto whom my plans are known.
You “have none but me,” you murmur, and I “leave you quite alone”?

Well then, kiss me, — since my mother left her blessing on my brow,
There has been a something wanting in my nature until now;
I can dimly comprehend it, — that I might have been more kind,
Might have cherished you more wisely, as the one I leave behind.

I “have never failed in kindness”? No, we lived too high for strife, —
Calmest coldness was the error which has crept into our life;
But your spirit is untainted, I can dedicate you still
To the service of our science: you will further it? you will!

There are certain calculations I should like to make with you,
To be sure that your deductions will be logical and true;
And remember, “Patience, Patience,” is the watchword of a sage,
Not to-day nor yet to-morrow can complete a perfect age.

I have sworn, like Tycho Brahe, that a greater man may reap;
But if none should do my reaping, ’twill disturb me in my sleep.
So be careful and be faithful, though, like me, you leave no name;
See, my boy, that nothing turn you to the mere pursuit of fame.

I must say Good-bye, my pupil, for I cannot longer speak;
Draw the curtain back for Venus, ere my vision grows too weak:
It is strange the pearly planet should look red as fiery Mars, —
God will mercifully guide me on my way amongst the stars.

— Sarah Williams
(Published 1868)

HST

I managed to see the Hubble Space Telescope just over an hour ago!! :).

Amazing!! I had two people with me this time and they can pretty much confirm that I was not hallucinating!!

I saw the HST man, the greatest Telescope ever built :). w00t.. 🙂

🙂

free 🙂

PS – I also managed to spot another satellite that was moving from north to south a few mins after Hubble disappeared but strangely it is not listed at heavens-above!! Anyway it takes the tally of satellites spotted by me to 3, in 3 days. Now that is awesome gethuness!! 🙂

Free..

ω Centauri

I finally saw something that is not just another star in the sky, I got to see Omega Centauri :D. Woot! ω Centauri is 15,800 light-years away for free’s sake!!

Even though it is supposed to be visible to the naked eye, it fades away in the glare of all our light pollution. But it is amazing that my Binoculars is good enough to show me deep sky objects considering the fact that I bought it in China Town, KL :).

Ah, How I wish I had a scope?!

Free..

Clear Skies!

PS- Centaurus is one amazing amazing Constellation!! Free..

Astrostuff..

Wikipedia –

Astronomy is the scientific study of celestial objects (such as stars, planets, comets, and galaxies) and phenomena that originate outside the Earth’s atmosphere (such as the cosmic background radiation). It is concerned with the evolution, physics, chemistry, meteorology, and motion of celestial objects, as well as the formation and development of the universe.

Astrology is a group of systems, traditions, and beliefs which hold that the relative positions of celestial bodies and related details can provide useful information about personality, human affairs, and other terrestrial matters. Numerous traditions and applications employing astrological concepts have arisen since its earliest recorded beginnings in the 3rd millennium BC. Scientists of the modern materialist age consider astrology a pseudoscience or superstition.

For free’s sake, please stop getting confused about astronomy and astrology. The next person who asks me if i know palmistry once I tell them I love Astronomy is going to get punched on his face!!

Astronomy is Science. Astrology is well, bullshit. Free.. Anyway, for those who believe in Astrology please devote sometime to The BadAstronomer. If that article doesn’t clear your mind, nothing ever will.

Free.. And Check This Image out! Beautiful..

PS – Dr. Phil Plait, I salute you for all that you have/are done/doing. You  are one Absolutely Awesome Floo. Respek.

Free..

Telescope!!

You can say this is the moment I have been waiting for all my life. Finally, after 20 years, I got to spend a night with a telescope in my hands. Now, how awesome is that!!!??? :D.

With an equally psyched friend for company, I spent the happiest stargazing night ever, making out the awesomely awesome constellations, the so so distant nebulae, the stunning Gas Giants and everything that there is in the night sky.

I have finally got better at spotting the constellations properly, thanks to one amazing software called Sideralis for mobile phones. It’s just fucking amazing! And you should have seen my face when I finally managed to spot the Orion completely ( largely thanks to the fact that I had traveled some 60 Km away from the Light Polluted Chennai to get Clear Skies ) :). Ah, The feeling that you get when you spot the Big Dog with it’s stunning tail ( The Canis Major ) or when you spot Mr. Hercules who seems to be standing there in the dark with his hands raised, poised like a true Hero, Absolutely Amazing.

And then, Saturn. Only now I understand why Saturn is the favorite celestial object of all fucking times. Appa, the rings, Breathtaking! Saturn is the Best Planet Ever, after Earth of course :P. And Titan, the largest moon of Saturn that was just a pixel in the image was really nice, and Jupiter with it’s beautiful bands of clouds and it’s moons lined up on either side was some sight:).

Not to forget Sirius, Betelgeuse and Regulus, The Beautiful Orion Nebula that was just a collection of dots in the scope and the Whirlpool Galaxy which is so distant that I got to see only an unresovled dot; besides the always stunning Ursa Major which thought me in a simple manner how everything revolves around Polaris, and did I mention that Saturn rocks?

I even managed to spot Leo and Bootes. Finally there’s our own Moon. Waning Gibbous, with the line bringing out the crescent shape that is breathtakingly beautiful surrounded by all the craters and mountains on that pure white landscape, brilliant :), and Saturn’s rings are the best ever!

So I managed to do and learn so much in one single night than I’ve done for the last 20 years. It feels good :). A round trip of about 120 Km and a night without sleep, but totally worth it, thanks to a friend with this amazing scope :D, thanks to which I was able to spot Saturn with it’s Rings :).

dsc05161

Clear Skies!

Free..

EDIT:

I forgot to mention the scope’s amazing Goto capability and the built-in Computer. It has a catalog of stars, nebula, constellations etc. and first, the finder scope  is properly aligned and the we point the main scope with any two stars visible at that time and calibrate it, after that all you have to do is just select the object from a long list and the scope will automatically move and point to the object! We literally fell down when selected ” Goto Saturn ” and it pointed to it with perfect precision and we saw the fucking rings. Technology. Science. Genius.!!

Pac-Man and The IYA..

So the first eclipse of this year is behind us now, even though it was an annular and a very very partial one, it still rocked.

First thing, I am sick and tired of people, papers, websites etc. warning us not to see the sun directly without any protection. I watched the eclipse with my naked eyes and used only my fingers to block out the glaring light and hey, I am not blind. This clearly shows that with a little precaution, one CAN see the Sun with our bare eyes. And I’ve seen though solar filters, and through welder’s glasses but nothing comes close to watching it directly with no aids whatsoever.

This time the eclipse was not as amazing as the one that we witnessed last year ( I saw that one without any protection too 😛 ) but these events made me realize one important thing, ask any stargazer, clouds suck and they can spoil it for you totally. But during eclipses a little cloud here and there helps you tremendously because it can filter out a lot of the sunlight and you can see the event directly without straining the eyes much and so clear skies do not always equal amazing observations.

And I just cannot wait for the Total Solar Eclipse this July 22. For once, it will be visible in India properly and it is going to be Legendary :D.

So to sum up, you can see the sun directly without harming your eyes;  for free’s sake, you can eat during eclipses ( Some traditions in our country are bullshit to the core );  you sure as hell do not have to take bath once the eclipse is over and the Sun does not shine more intensely during eclipses.

Finally, this year is the International Year of Astronomy :D. It’s been 400 years since Galileo first looked up at the stars though his telescope, 200 years since Charles Darwin’s birth and 40 years since the Apollo 11 landing. Brilliant! And this year people are doing an extra bit to promote Astrophysics and Astronomy to the general masses. As usual, it is going to be an amazing year for Astronomy and Science in general as we unravel and solve new mysteries of our world :).

Do check out the Astronomy Podcasts, one for every day this year, really really informative and once again I remind those who may have not taken notice before, visit The Astronomy Picture of the Day page every single day, it’s absolutely awesome.

Clear Skies and Happy Stargazing!

Free..

Update:
http://spaceweather.com/eclipses/gallery_26jan09.htm
http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap090128.html

Carnival Of Vettiness : December Links..

It is that time of the year again, with the infinite number of top 10 lists that are posted all over the Internet and here are some Top Picture lists which are absolutely awesome..

Phil Plait’s Top 10 Astronomy Pictures of 2008 ( The Bad Astronomer Rocks man, admit it! )
Phil Hart’s 10 Astounding Astrophotos (What’s up with the name Phil and Astronomy!?)
Top 10 Amazing Animal Videos (Amazing! Check out the last Kruger Park  Video, it’ll blow your mind!)

And The Big Picture from Boston.com, let me tell you if you even remotely like pictures you’ll be so glad you found this site. Totally Brilliant. If you don’t subscribe to their feed yet, The Year 2008 in Photographs Parts 1 , 2 and 3 will definitely make you do it.

And finally the HST, the ultimate in all of science and space engineering as far as I’m concerned; the ultimate symbol of us, humans. Just check this page from the Big Picture and you will know what I am talking about.

Free..