Solar Eclipse

A partial solar eclipse was visible yesterday from Chennai and it was really good despite the weather that threatened to disappoint everyone. It was really cloudy and it was pouring like hell minutes before the eclipse started but after a while the sky towards the west started to clear up slowly and half an hour or so into the eclipse the Sun was visible again :).

The clouds actually made it possible for me to view the eclipse directly and it was bloody brilliant. I went to the Planetarium and there was such a huge crowd and people stayed on and waited despite the rain and they were aptly rewarded. The view via the Welder’s glasses that were distributed was beautiful and reflected images through telescopes were equally brilliant. But I loved to see it directly and I was able to gaze at the eclipsed Sun for short periods and thanks to the light clouds the effect of it’s light wasn’t too harsh.

What I don’t understand is why you shouldn’t see the sun directly, I was able to look at it for around 10 secs and did it a few times and my eyes are perfectly fine. I can understand the damage to the eyes if one’s inside a dark room or somethin and then comes out and looks at the sun directly with his pupils fully dilated but normally I guess you can look directly for a few seconds by blocking out the extra surrounding light with your fingers. Anyway those who weren’t afraid and saw directly would definitely have felt a sense of wonder.

Next July there’ll be a Total Solar Eclipse and that would the AWESOMEST. Next time it’s gonna be our part of the Earth from where it’ll be Total and I hope the weather doesn’t spoil it, day is gonna turn into night and back to day again in a matter of minutes 🙂 and the Corona should be awesome.

Some of my pics from yesterday. Images through the welding glass are really blurred :|.

More Space News : We’ve all pretty much know that water ice is present on Mars but for the first time Water was Touched and Tasted by Phoenix yesterday :). Also Check out 50 years of NASA.

Finally the LHC is almost complete and it’s amazing.

Science!!

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Mars

Mars – The Red Planet , Shining in all its glory with a tinge of red every single night. As I was lying awake through the night, I got fed up of the insomnia and went up to my terrace and there it was reminding me of the insignificance of our planet, you, me, everything when compared to to The Universe as a whole.

But the most amazing thing about Mars is that we’ve got 6 Spacecraft that are active in and around that planet. Brilliant isn’t it. The Mars Reconnaisance Orbiter, Mars Express, Mars Oddyssey, the two magnificent rovers Spirt and Opportunity and finally the recently landed Phoenix. I just hope every single person on Earth realises the enormity of these achievements. You have to realise the fact that Mars is just a point of light in our sky, it’s so far away and we are able to precisely map its orbit using equations, have the creativity and the brilliance to launch probes and have them go into precise orbits around that planet. I mean you’re fucking threading a needle millions of miles away.

And the Phoenix lander has been brillinat till now. It’s landing was perfect and it’s now operating brilliantly having landed near one of the poles and searching for ice. It has already sent back pictures of what seems to be ice and it’s started digging into the dirt today. It even uses Twitter :D.

Finally just look at this image. This probably sums up the total fucking awesomeness of our scientific achievements. Its Phoenix descending into Mars with its parachute open as photographed by the MRO.
The Bad Astronomer put it so beautifuly as always:

Think on this, and think on it carefully: you are seeing a manmade object falling gracefully and with intent to the surface of an alien world, as seen by another manmade object already circling that world, both of them acting robotically, and both of them hundreds of million of kilometers away.

Never, ever forget: we did this. This is what we can do.

D

When I first saw this picture, I was like wtf, among all the amazing pictures to have ever graced the field of astronomy this is right up there, Simply Breathtaking…