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A s t ro n o m y C l u b N ew sl et t er

3rd March 2013

Volume 1, Issue 1

Published ByAstronomy Club Students’ Gymkhana Dumna Airport Road, Khamaria, Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh,482005

Coordinators Message

Editorial Board Members:

By-Nitesh Badchariya

Aniket Kumar Anuj Jain


Mandeep Kumar

Dr. Pawan Kumar Kankar (Technical Counsellor), Editorial Board Members for co-operating in publishing our college’s first newsletter, without whose support this daydream wouldn't have been converted into a reality.

Nitesh Badchariya Palash Jhamb

Rishi Jain Vikas Singh Vishnu Kumar Agarwal Layout & Graphics Designer: Nitesh Badchariya

Inside this issue:

2-3 What is Astronomy





Star Birth


Astronauts Pen


JUNO-Mission to Jupiter


Sky Object Of The Month


News And Updates



of all I would like to thank Prof. Tanuja Sheorey (Dean Students’),


Special thanks to Prof. Tanuja Sheorey for dedicating her valuable time in writing an article for Vyom, Palash Jhamb for suggesting the name Vyom ,which in Sanskrit means sky above complementing the motive of Astronomy Club which is exploring the sky. Aim of publishing this newsletter is to popularize and create awareness about the things that have continued to fantasize us, that have repeately sought our attention, about which we have always wanted to know more but due to some reasons we could not breach it. This club will also help clear some of the myths and orthodox feelings attached closely to the facts associated with the stars, the sun and the moon.

Also this is the first time that such an initiative is being taken in our institute, we need some positive support and due attention for grounding the world of heights on the tectonic plates of reasons. For now, all I can promise is that as you go through its contents , the linings of your forehead would become more intense leaving you stunned. For the rest lets keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best !!!

For suggestions/feedback, Article Submission Contact:

Reviewed By : Aishwarya Kambali, Prateek Arora

By: Prof. Tanuja Sheorey (Dean Students’)


Maya civilization was a Mesoamerican civilization known for sophisticated mathematical and

astronomical systems, its spectacular art, monumental architecture, and fully developed written language of the pre-Columbian Americas. The civilization had reached to high development during 250 AD to 900 AD. At its peak, it was one of the most densely populated and culturally dynamic societies in the world. Recently obtained proof of plant and animal domestication also suggests a much more complex relationship between humans and the environment with the intention of modifying and controlling it.

Around 750 AD, the Mayan Civilization started to collapse. Many mysteries have been shared and stories told about how this down fall occurred, yet no one can come to a distinct conclusion. Peasant revolt and agriculture abuse are just a few of the possibilities that may have lead to the destruction of the city. The most widely accepted of these theories on the collapse of the Mayan Civilization is a peasant revolt. The hierarchy of the Maya was completely dependent on slave labor. The people of most power were nobles and priests, often rich in power and wealth, but few in number. It had been suggested that at one point the oppressed Mayan workers gave up their way of life and retreated into the Jungle. The priests and nobles were left to fend for themselves. Previously dependent on the slaves and peasants, the civilization dissolved because the nobles and priests did not know how to work the land. Astronomical Proficiency The Mayan astronomers were quite proficient. They predicted that on the upcoming December solstice an unusual astronomical event would occur: the alignment (as seen from the earth) of the sun with the intersection of the galactic equator and the ecliptic. Such an alignment happens very year, but usually not on a solstice. Because of the earth’s axial precession, it happens on a solstice only once every 12,900 years. The Maya predicted the timing of this unusual event (which we now know as December 2012) and constructed their calendar so that it would end at this occasion. Their calendar does not so much begin at an arbitrary date in the past but end at one in the future. They worked backwards from this astronomical event.


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By: Prof. Tanuja Sheorey (Dean Students’)

View of Galactic Alignment from Earth

Time : 21 Dec 2012

They have made a 5125 years long Mesoamerican Long Count Calendar. A complex calendar full of cycles within cycles, such that all the cycles would come to an end and thus a new beginning at once on one particular day. That day was December 21, 2012, the Solstice. Mayan’s were actually looking for a new beginning at the day of Solstice, and it was by no means the end of the world. The Long Count is composed of cycles within cycles. The smallest unit is one day (a Kin). 20 days make one Winal. Eighteen Winals make one Tun, which is 360 days, close to a solar year. (That may be why there are only 18 Winals in a Tun instead of 20; everything else is in multiples of 20.) 20 Tuns make one Katun, so a Katun is about 20 years. And 20 Katuns make one Baktun, about 394 years. A Long Count date is written with dots in between the units, This means 12 Baktuns, 19 Katuns, 19 Tuns, 16 Winals and 17 Kins, or days, from the arbitrary beginning. The current cycle started 1,872,000 days prior to December 21, 2012. That puts the arbitrary beginning at 11 August 3114 BC, according to our Gregorian calendar. It is extremely unlikely that the Maya were around on that date and even less likely that whoever was around had enough cultural sophistication and mathematical knowledge to start counting the days in such a complex manner. Hence, the calendar creators must have had something else in mind. Researcher John Major Jenkins thinks they started the other way around, counting backward from the upcoming December solstice. In other words, they started with the December solstice in the year we now know 2012, and called that The Maya, being consummate astronomers, made sure their Great Cycle would end on a solstice and will begin a new era. The Myth: Maya predicted end of the world in December, 2012.There was some miscalculation on the part of Mayans about the Solstice. Solstice actually happened in 1998. There was absolutely no physical effect of it on our lives. Yet all these years Maya calendar had that effect on us. The effect might be called socially constructed, but it was real nonetheless. All that effect Mayan calendar had could have been made use of to start a new beginning. The Mayans had knowledge and wisdom that has been lost to us today, but what if they had some form of ancient computer in which they stored their secrets for others to unlock at some time in the future? Many believe that the ancients fashion a kind of computer in the form of a skull? The skull is the vessel that contains consciousness, wisdom, knowledge and thought. Re-emergence of the crystal skulls is linked with the Mayan Prophecies. I believe Crystal skull can be thought of as representative of transparent-consciousness, full of wisdom. Can we believe that by opening our mind and be tolerant to others may solve all our problems?

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By-Aniket Kumar

Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech

The first question which arises in each and every human being, when he/she is capable enough to see the world from their inner eyes is How, Who, What, will they be in their future. But, where are the answers? The curiosity of a curious human can’t be curbed without an answer, and an answer without evidence is worthless. These answers, when one tries to find, lie in the palms of astronomy. Astronomy is the branch of science which is based on the above questions, their investigations, their propositions of uncertainty and future. It foresees the answers, the evidences through observations and theory. Astronomy is an ever evolving and improving science. It is the oldest science in the world continuing through the generations, evolving through adages and scriptures. Early cultures performed methodical observations of the night sky to decide when to plant and what the best day was for a celebration. The invention of the telescope propelled astronomy into modern science, before which it was mostly theory and astrology combined. In modern times, the field of astronomy has been split into observational and theoretical branches. Observational astronomy is focused on acquiring data from observations of celestial objects, which is then analyzed using basic principles of physics. Theoretical astronomy is oriented towards the development of computers or analytical models to describe astronomical objects and phenomena. The two fields complement each other, with theoretical astronomy seeking to explain the observational results, and observations being used to confirm theoretical results.


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By-Aniket Kumar

Astronomy is one of the few fields of science where amateurs have contributed with as many new discoveries as the professionals have. That trend is still quite encouraged. Many contributions in the discovery and observations of transient phenomena originate from the average guy with a telescope and a fistful of enthusiasm. There are books devoted to telling amateur astronomers how to get professional attention as well as how to get published.

But, how astronomy answers our questions is still a question. Is our evolution, the earth coming into existence, somehow related to astronomy? Of course, they are, related and inter-related. Evolution is a philosophy trying to explain everything without God. Thus, it must be applied to the origin of the universe and solar system. Teaching about Evolution and the Nature of Science presents the prevailing evolutionary view on astronomical origins. Critical analysis of the typical evolutionary ideas about the universe and solar system, the Galileo controversy and the origin of the universe remains one of the greatest questions in science. The big bang theory places the origin between 10 and 20 billion years ago, when the universe began in a hot dense state; according to this theory, the universe has been expanding ever since. When the beginning of the universe is combined with the principle of causality, ‘ everything which has a beginning has a cause,’ it logically entails that the universe has a cause. Thus, if one tries to delve deep into the basket of astronomy, the questions of the creation of universe, the evolution of humans from apes, all are answered and curious conscience satisfied. Man has always been intrigued to know his future and inclination and knowledge of astronomy intrigues him even more.

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ŚŪNYA By: Alok Sahoo & Vishnu Kumar Agarwal

Fellow readers, is Zero just a number? Or is it a part of this universe? What is the real meaning of Zero? Zero has always been food for thought to many scientists and researchers, and its uniqueness never fails to astonish them. So this is a small article dedicated to Zero, which might make you realize its importance. The Asvini Naksatra is the basis of chronology, according to Indian scholiast. According to the RigVeda, during the Asvini Naksatra, the highly spirited seers calculated one year to have 12 months, each month comprising of 30 days, making it a total of 360 days. This was calculated 197 crore years ago! This is a proof that India has a very strong history of mathematics. Even the Arabs themselves called mathematics as ‘The Indian Art’ (Hindi sat). The use of Zero as a number is attributed to India, where in the 9th Century AD, scholars practiced practical calculations using Zero just like any other number. The Indian Scholar Pingala (2nd century BC) along with his contemporary Indian scholars used the Sanskrit word ‘Sunya’ to refer to zero or void. But Aryabhata is the one to be credited with the real use of zero. He stated: "sthānāt sthānaṁ daśaguņaṁ syāt" i.e. "from place to place each is ten times the preceding". Sounds familiar, right? After all, this is the base concept of modern decimal place value notation. So Aryabhata used the same concept that we currently use, and that too in 498 AD!! Splendid!! But it dates back even further; the oldest known text to use the decimal place value system, including Zero, is the Jain text from India entitled the Lokavibhâga, dated 458 AD, where shunya ("void" or "empty") was employed for this purpose. Going a little ahead in time, we encounter Brahmagupta's book Brahmasputha Siddhanta (The Opening of the Universe), written in 628 AD. This book mentions Zero, negative numbers and algebraic rules for basic arithmetic operations. (Continued…..)

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ŚŪNYA By: Alok Sahoo & Vishnu Kumar Agarwal

Zero has practical applications as well. Mathematics is the most common example. In physics, 0 K (Zero Kelvin) is considered the lowest possible value of temperature. Zero point energy is the lowest possible energy that a quantum mechanical physical system may possess and is called ground state. Computer science originated from logic gates, where One denotes True and Zero denotes false. All coordinate systems contain a Zero that denotes origin. ‘Zero year’ has been a great topic of debate in the field of astronomical year numbering. According to the Gregorian Calendar, the year 1 BC is followed by 1 AD. However, in Hindu and Buddhist Calendars, the Saka era or the Kali Yuga begin with the year Zero, which seems to be much more logical. Also, India’s geographical center is located in Nagpur and is called ‘Zero Mile’. Now, in modern times, life is impossible without Zero. Even a single zero can mean a great deal if one talks about economics or engineering. A small error in zero can destroy all communication systems created by man, or a building might collapse due to errors in measurement, or all finances can take a nose dive, and the list goes on and on… So my friends, next time you score Zero in a quiz, don’t get depressed; instead try to remember this article and convince yourself that Zero is undoubtedly a mighty number. “The debt of the Western world to India in this respect can not be overestimated. Most of the great discoveries and inventions of which Europe is so proud would have been impossible without a developed system of mathematics, and in this turn would have been impossible if Europe had been shackled by the unwieldy system of Roman numerals. The unknown man who devised the new system was from the world’s point of view, after the Buddha, the most important son of India.”

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By: Anuj Jain

We all like feeling the calmness and soothing glare of the tiny sparkling dots in the open sky, which Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech we call as STARS. Gawping to the stories of lovers complimenting and promising in the name of stars for quite long has been common scene. As the omnipresence increased, so did the various beliefs about their formation gadded around. But in actual sense stars are said to be formed out of collapsing clouds of gas and dust, often called NEBULA or MOLECULAR CLOUDS. Their lifetime ranges for millions and trillions of years, which is considerably larger than the age of universe.

Stellar evolution begins with the gravitational collapse of a giant molecular cloud (GMC). Typical GMCs are roughly 100 light-years (9.5×1014 km) across and contain up to 6,000,000 solar masses (1.2×1037 kg). As it collapses, a GMC breaks into smaller and smaller pieces. In each of these fragments, the collapsing gas releases gravitational potential energy as heat. As its temperature and pressure increase, a fragment condenses into a rotating sphere of superhot gas known as a protostar. Protostars with masses less than roughly 0.08 M☉ (1.6×1029 kg) never reach temperatures high enough for nuclear fusion of hydrogen to begin. These are known as brown dwarfs. For a more massive protostar, the core temperature will eventually reach 10 million kelvin, initiating the proton-proton chain reaction and allowing hydrogen to fuse, first to deuterium and then to helium. The onset of nuclear fusion leads relatively quickly to a hydrostatic equilibrium in which energy released by the core exerts a "radiation pressure" balancing the weight of the star's matter, preventing further gravitational collapse. The star thus evolves rapidly to a stable state, beginning the main sequence phase of its evolution.

Stellar evolution is not studied by observing the life of a single star, as most stellar changes occur too slowly to be detected, even over many centuries. Instead, astrophysicists come to understand how stars evolve by observing numerous stars at various points in their lifetime, and by simulating stellar structure using computer models. But irrespective of the fact that the stars are actually made up of such complex and mind throbbing appendages, the stars continue to shine high above all, deceiving each individual of its glitter and charm, pushing the astrophysicists to take shorter naps at nights while they exhibit us with their impishness.

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By: Palash Jhamb


of you have seen 3 idiots and saw Virus giving his Astronaut's pen to Rancho but have you

ever wondered how it works? Space pen or Zero Gravity pen or Astronaut's pen or Anti Gravity pen implies a ball point pen which can function without gravity. Anti gravity pen was invented by Paul Fisher, who founded the Fisher Space Pen Company. The specialties of this pen is it can write at any angle, in zero gravity, underwater, on oily and greasy surfaces and some more. Operating temperatures range from -30 to 250 째F (-35 to 120 째C). The pen has an estimated shelf life of 100 years. Contrary to famous stories, the research for these pens were not funded or aided in anyway by NASA, but their testing for suitability for use in outer space was carried out by NASA before their official use in APOLLO mission. Fisher Space pens were used on Apollo 7 in 1968 two years of testing by NASA.

Essentially the role of gravitational force in a normal ball point pen is to pull the ink down to the ball. This function is performed by the pressurized gas and a movable float in the space pen. The pressurized gas pushes the float which in turn pushes the ink towards the ball. As the force of the pressurized gas doesn't depend on the orientation of the pen (unlike gravity) the pen can write at any angle even upside down. The ink is forced out by compressed nitrogen at a pressure of nearly 35 psi (240 kPa). The ink is a special type of semisolid thixotropic ink which liquefies only when necessary thus avoiding leaking and lasting longer. The ballpoint is made from tungsten carbide and is precisely fitted in order to avoid leaks. The thixotropic ink in the hermetically sealed and pressurized reservoir is claimed to write for three times longer than a standard ballpoint pen.

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By-Mandeep Kumar

JUNO'S INTERPLANETARY TRAJECTORY. LAUNCH - August 5, 2011 Deep Space Maneuvers - August/ September 2012 Earth flyby gravity assist - October 2013 Jupiter arrival - July 2016 Spacecraft will orbit Jupiter for about one year (33 orbits) End of mission (deorbit into Jupiter) - October 2017

Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech



is a NASA New Frontiers mission to the planet Jupiter. Juno was

launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on August 5, 2011. The spacecraft is to be placed in a polar orbit to study the planet's composition, gravity field, magnetic field, and polar magnetosphere. Juno will also search for clues about how Jupiter formed, including whether the planet has a rocky core, the amount of water present within the deep atmosphere, and how the planet's mass is distributed. It will also study Jupiter's deep winds, which can reach speeds of 618 kilometers per hour (384 mph). The spacecraft's name comes from Greco-Roman mythology. The god Jupiter drew a veil of clouds around himself to hide his mischief, but his wife, the goddess Juno, was able to peer through the clouds and see Jupiter's true nature. The Juno spacecraft will also look beneath the clouds to see what the planet is up to, not seeking signs of misbehavior, but helping us to understand the planet’s structure and history. Juno requires a five-year cruise to Jupiter, arriving around July 4, 2016. The spacecraft will travel roughly over a total distance of 2.8 billion kilometers (1.74 billion miles). The spacecraft will orbit Jupiter 33 times during one Earth year. Juno's trajectory will use a gravity assist speed boost from Earth, accomplished through an Earth flyby two years (October 2013) after its August 5, 2011 launch. In 2016, the spacecraft will perform an orbit insertion burn to slow the spacecraft enough to allow capture into an 11-day polar orbit. Once Juno enters into its orbit, infrared and microwave instruments will begin to measure the thermal radiation emanating from deep within Jupiter's atmosphere. These observations will complement previous studies of the planet's composition by assessing the abundance and distribution of water, and therefore oxygen. While filling missing pieces of the puzzle of Jupiter's composition, these data will also provide insight into the planet's origins. Juno will also investigate the convection that drives general circulation patterns in Jupiter's atmosphere. Meanwhile, other instruments aboard Juno will gather data about the planet's gravitational field and polar magnetosphere. The Juno mission is set to conclude in October 2017, after completing 33 orbits around Jupiter, when the probe will be de-orbited to crash into Jupiter so as to avoid any possibility of it impacting its moons.

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Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech


Orion Nebula



Apparent magnitude:





3 Million years


1,344Âą20 ly (412 pc)

Other names

NGC 1976, M42, LBN 74, Sharpless 281

GENERAL INFORMATIONThe entirety of the Orion Nebula extends across a 1° region of the sky, and includes neutral clouds of gas and dust, associations of stars, ionized volumes of gas, and reflection nebulae. The Nebula is part of a much larger nebula that is known as the Orion Molecular Cloud Complex. The Orion Molecular Cloud Complex extends throughout the constellation of Orion.

Stars are forming throughout the Orion Nebula, and due to this heat-intensive process the region is particularly prominent in the infrared. The nebula is visible with the naked eye even from areas affected by some light pollution. It is seen as the middle "star" in the sword of Orion, which are the three stars located south of Orion's Belt. The star appears fuzzy to sharp-eyed observers, and the nebulosity is obvious through binoculars or a small telescope. The Orion Nebula contains a very young open cluster, known as the Trapezium due to the asterism of its primary four stars. Two of these can be resolved into their component binary systems on nights with good seeing, giving a total of six stars. The stars of the Trapezium, along with many other stars, are still in their early years. Two million years ago this cluster may have been the home of the runaway stars AE Aurigae, 53 Arietis, and Mu Columbae, which are currently moving away from the nebula at velocities greater than 100 km/s.

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Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech

News And Updates By: Vikas Singh

Meteor explodes over central Russia A meteor punched through Earth's atmosphere around 9:20 a.m. local time (15 February 2013 12:20 a.m. EST) and then exploded over central Russia some 950 miles (1,500 kilometers) east of Moscow. As of noon local time, as many as 1,000 people had reported injuries from the blast, and an official from the National Center for Emergency Situations at the Russian Interior Ministry says 3,000 buildings have sustained damage. Indian Rocket Launches Asteroid-Hunting Satellites, Tiny Space Telescopes A rocket carrying seven new satellites, including the first spacecraft designed to hunt huge asteroids and two of the world's smallest space telescopes, launched into space Monday (Feb. 25) from an Indian spaceport. The Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle blasted off at 7:31 a.m. EST (1231 GMT) from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, India, on a mission to deliver its multi-national payloads into Earth orbit. Monday's rocket flight primarily aimed to launch the new ocean-monitoring SARAL satellite into orbit for the Indian Space Research Organisation and French Space Agency. The satellite is the first in a series of satellites created by ISRO to image the Earth, conduct space science, and carry out oceanic and atmospheric studies, ISRO officials said.

Get ready for Comet PANSTARRS — 2013's first naked-eye comet Comet PANSTARRS (C/2011 L4) will peak in March and remain bright well into April. If predictions hold, it should be an easy naked-eye object and will look great through binoculars for several weeks. Astronomers discovered this comet June 6, 2011. As the fourth new comet detected during the first half of June that year, it received the designation “C/2011 L4.” And because researchers first spotted the object on images taken through the 1.8-meter Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System on Haleakala in Hawaii, it received the instrument’s acronym, PANSTARRS, as a secondary name. Astronomers credit this scope with more than two dozen comet discoveries, so the “C/2011 L4” designation is more precise even though it’s much easier to say “PANSTARRS.”

Kepler mission discovers tiny planet system

NASA’s Kepler mission scientists have discovered a new planetary system that is home to the smallest planet yet found around a star similar to our Sun. The planets are located in a system called Kepler-37, about 210 light-years from Earth in the constellation Lyra. The smallest planet, Kepler-37b, is slightly larger than our Moon, measuring about one-third the size of Earth. It is smaller than Mercury, which made its detection a challenge.

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The Moon-sized planet and its two companion planets were found by scientists with NASA’s Kepler mission, which is designed to find Earth-sized planets in or near the “habitable zone” — the region in a planetary system where liquid water might exist on the surface of an orbiting planet. However, while the star in Kepler-37 may be similar to our Sun, the system appears quite unlike the solar system in which we live.

Abstract: Participants are required to propose a design of habitat (concept) for outer space with capacity of around 5000 people, where humans can live and work. For this participant are required to identify various challenges of living and working in space for example-recycling of air-water ,human nutrition, dangers from outer space etc. General Rules:

Max team size 3. Event will be held in 2 stages. First stage will be online presentation submission and second stage will be held during

Abhikalpan at IIITDM Jabalpur Campus. Presentation should be in PDF Format Stage 1 Participants will submit a presentation of maximum 15 pages about challenges they have identified for living and working in space. Submit your presentation by mail to any of the coordinator’s mentioning Kshiti in the subject, Name and contact of participants in presentation. Last Date For Presentation submission 12th March 2013 (till 10pm). Stage 2 Qualified participants will present their design i.e. several concepts for solving problems they have identified in stage 1 in front of judges where they will justify their design. Coordinator’s:

Contact no.


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Nitesh Badchariya

Aniket Kumar




( )

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Courtesy: Udit Prakash, Pulkit Jha



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