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Whats all the fuzz is about

Is it a bird ? Is it a plane? It is making history





























There is something intriguing and addictive about the night sky without any clouds, the stars, the moon, the planets, Heavenly some might say. Nakshatra is the club started by those students who have got their inspiration and who are highly motivated to learn outside the earth. And we would never forget that “The cosmos is within us. We are made of star-stuff. We are a way for the universe to know itself.”


ACTIVITIES Stargazing sessions – for the members and the general public Screening of documentaries, debates on topics of science, astronomy/sci­fi movies, TED talks Visits to planetariums/observatories Interaction with Prominent scientists, Amateur astronomers, Science popularizers Organising a Mini­Fest on Astronomy annually 

Our Big Brother "Luke Skywatcher" He is a 10" Newtonian Reflector with an equatorial mount

About our Faculty Advisor Dr Justin Joseyphus, Assistant Professor in Physics Department. Even though his research areas are in magnetic and nano­ materials. He has a keen interest in Astronomy and encourages budding astronomers to pursue their dream.He very much helped our Astronomy club in many ways. We are here from a small group of wannabe amateur astronomers to a fully functioning official club majorly because of him.

PLANET NINE A dwarf planet is a celestial body that orbits the sun and has enough mass to assume a nearly round shape. It is neither a moon, nor a planet. Planets have cleared a path around the sun, while dwarf planets tend to orbit in zones of similar objects that can cross their path around the sun.

The Kuiper Belt is a disk shaped region found in the outer solar system, past the orbit of Neptune. It extends from the orbit of Neptune and contains hundreds of millions of small icy bodies that are thought to be left over material from the formation of the outer planets. -

Caltech researchers have found evidence of a giant planet tracing a bizarre, highly elongated orbit in the outer solar system. The object, which the researchers have nicknamed Planet Nine, has a mass about 10 times that of Earth and orbits about 20 times farther from the sun on average than does Neptune (which orbits the sun at an average distance of 2.8 billion miles). The researchers, Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown, discovered the planet's existence through mathematical modeling and computer simulations but have not yet observed the object directly.

Researchers suggest that Planet Nine's influence might have tilted the entire solar system except the sun. "Planet Nine may have tilted the other planets over the lifetime of the solar system," said study lead author Elizabeth Bailey, an astrophysicist and planetary scientist at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. Planet Nine takes between 10,000 and 20,000 years to orbit the Sun and it would take 20 years to send a probe to find out if the planet actually exists. However it could be spotted from Earth using the world’s largest telescopes - such as the twin 10-metre telescopes at the W. M. Keck Observatory and the Subaru Telescope, all on Maunakea in Hawaii.­researchers­find­evidence­real­ninth­planet­49523­planet­nine­solar­system­tilt.html­ninth­planet­may­have­caused­entire­solar­system­to­t/­planet­nine­discovery­coming­soon.html


NEW ELEMENTS NAMED Four new elements are about to be added to the periodic table: Nihonium (Nh, element 113), Moscovium (Mc, element 115), Tennessine (Ts, element 117), and Oganesson (Og, element 118).

Physicist Richard Feynman once Of the 118 known elements, 94 have been found naturally on Earth. predicted that The other 24 do not occur naturally, and instead have been made in number 137 defines the table s outer limit a lab—synthesized—through a process that involves adding adding any more protons onto the nuclei until the total proton count is one that’s protons would never been reached before. produce an energy that could be Scientists first synthesized the new elements between 2002 and quantified only by an 2010, but it wasn’t until December of 2015 that the International imaginary number, Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) officially recognized rendering element the discoveries. Then in June of this year the scientists who 138 and higher discovered the super-heavy, highly-reactive elements sent IUPAC impossible. their suggested names. ’


The guidelines for the naming the elements were recently revised. Newly discovered elements can be named after (a) a mythological concept or character (including an astronomical object), (b) a mineral or similar substance, (c) a place, or geographical region, (d) a property of the element, or (e) a scientist. Here are the four elements and where their names come from: • Japanese researchers proposed Nihonium, symbol Nh, for element 113 after the Japanese word Nihon, which means Japan. • A team consisting of scientists from Russia and the United States named element 115, symbol Mc, after Moscow, and element 117, symbol Ts, after Tennessee. • Element 118 was named Oganesson, symbol Og, for Yuri Oganessian, a prolific element hunter, by the Russian team that discovered it.

The first man made element was technetium Atomic number 43 . -




SPACEX History was made when the falcon landed on the drone ship.SpaceX track record 'right in the ballpark' with 93% success rate

A jumbo jet costs about the same as one of our Falcon 9 rockets, but airlines don't junk a plane after a one-way trip from Chennai to Delhi. Yet when it comes to space travel, rockets fly only once. The Space Shuttle was technically reusable, but its giant fuel tank was discarded after each launch, a long process of retrieval and reprocessing. So, what if we could mitigate those factors by landing rockets precisely on land? Time and cost would be dramatically reduced. Historically, most rockets have needed to use all of their available fuel in order to get their payload into space. SpaceX rockets were built from the beginning with reusability in mind. After landing SpaceX Falcon along with many other rockets successfully on the ground, landing on a drone ship floating in sea is a best possible location to stick a landing because it uses less fuel to land as compared to landing on ground. The first attempt to land on a drone ship (“Of course I still love you”) in the Atlantic was in January, the first stage prematurely ran out of the hydraulic fluid that is used to steer the small fins that help control the rocket’s descent. The second attempt was in April, and came close to sticking the landing. On Friday May 6 2016, SpaceX brought the first stage of its Falcon 9 rocket down softly on.Of Course I Still Love You, which was stationed a few hundred miles off the Florida coast in the Atlantic Ocean. After that SpaceX scored a rocket-landing hat trick . But forth time was not a charm,SpaceX learnt many lessons and hopes successful landing in the future.



GRAVITATIONAL WAVES Physicists have announced the discovery of gravitational waves


ripples in

the fabric of spacetime that were first anticipated by Albert Einstein a century ago Reitze



We have detected gravitational waves


We did it


said David


executive director of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave





at a press conference in Washington


The phenomenon detected was the collision of two black holes

world s most sophisticated detector


the scientists listened for

thousandths of a second as the two giant black holes of the sun


the other slightly smaller





. 20


Using the

times the mass

circled around each other

Since gravitational waves are a ripple in space time, they cause the distance between two points to change ever so slightly. How slightly? LIGO must be able to measure distances as small as 10 19 meter. The proton has a radius of about 0.85 10 15 meter.




This observation is truly incredible science and marks three milestones for



the direct detection of gravitational waves

binary black hole



the first detection of a

black holes are the objects predicted by Einstein s theory

Prof B S Sathyaprakash astronomy




and the most convincing evidence to date that nature s



from Cardiff University s school of physics and


The fusion of two


black holes which created this event had been predicted but never observed

According to Albert Einstein s theory of general relativity, gravity is not a force reaching out through the universe. It s a bending of space time. When an object accelerates, it distorts the space time around it, and that distortion travels away from the source at the speed of light. ’

The shock would have released more energy than the light

from all the stars in the universe for that brief instant




Albert Einstein first predicted gravitational waves in general theory of relativity truly exist




based on his

but even he waffled about whether or not they

Scientists began seeking these ripples in spacetime in the

but none succeeded in measuring their effects on Earth until now


1960 ’



discovery not only provides the first direct evidence for gravitational waves but also opens the door to using them to study the powerful cosmic events that create them


It has pushed the fundamental theory of gravity forward

in a very strong way and gives us an incredible tool to probe very deep questions of the universe


says Luis Lehner


a physicist at the Perimeter

Institute for Theoretical Physics in Ontario who is unaffiliated with the LIGO project

. 8­waves­discovery­hailed­as­breakthrough­of­the­century­waves­discovered­from­colliding­black­holes1/­amazing­facts­about­gravitational­waves­and­ligo

The region around a star where liquid water could exist on the surface of a solid planet is called the habitable zone. Worlds orbiting in that zone are considered to be prime candidates where life could be supported.

Astronomers announced their discovery of an Earth-sized planet orbiting the nearest star, Proxima Centauri, just 4.2 light-years away. This warm world, catalogued as Proxima b, sits smack in the middle of its habitable zone - the sweetest of sweet spots - where liquid surface water could exist. But Proxima Centauri is not like our sun. It’s a cool, low-mass star known as a red dwarf. So the planet only qualifies as potentially habitable because it circles its sun in an orbit tighter than Mercury’s. This is such an important system. These are our next door neighbours,” says Robertson. “A claim of a habitable-zone planet around Proxima is genuinely extraordinary. So you have to go to somewhat extraordinary lengths to make sure you’re right, and I think that’s what they were doing with Pale Red Dot.” “

I would say this is the topmost ranked exoplanet if it is confirmed,” says Ravi Kopparapu of NASA’s Goddard Spaceflight Center. “

PROXIMA CENTAURI b Kopparapu is a leading expert in defining habitable zones using factors like how hot a star is and how much of its light hits the planet. The Pale Red Dot team, and many other exoplanet studies, rely on his calculations. Newer findings suggest Proxima b could have a large liquid ocean covering its entire surface and stretching 200 kilometres deep, as well as a thin gas atmosphere much like that found on Earth.

Astronomers group types of exoplanets as follows: Earth size, Earth like, Super Jupiters, gas giants, rocky worlds the size of Earth, rocky giants, Super Earths, mini Neptunes, and gas dwarfs. -





The research team used internal structure models to compute the radius and mass of Proxima b. Their models were based on the assumptions that Proxima b is both a terrestrial planet (i.e. composed of rocky material and minerals) and did not have a massive atmosphere. Based on these assumptions and mass estimates, they concluded that Proxima b has a radius that is between 0.94 and 1.4 times that of Earth, and a mass that is roughly 1.1 to 1.46 times that of Earth.­proxima­centauri­b­the­most­promising­exoplanet­yet­proxima­b­habitable­ocean­planet.html­centauri­b­basically­kevin­costners­waterworld/


SOLAR PLANE An experimental plane flying around the world without a single drop of fuel landed in California after a two-and-a-half-day flight across the Pacific. Piloted by Swiss explorer and psychiatrist Bertrand Piccard, Solar Impulse 2 touched down in Mountain View. It s a new era. It's not science fiction. It's today," Piccard told after his successful voyage. " '

Because the plane travels at about the same speed as a car, the HawaiiCalifornia leg took just over 62 hours to complete. The solar plane looks like a giant high-tech dragonfly and requires near-perfect conditions to fly.

After all, it's the weather - particularly the sun - that ultimately decides the schedule of this journey, even with dozens of engineers and experts monitoring the plane's every move. "Nobody's done this before," managing director Gregory Blatt said. "There's no guidebook”. It is more than an airplane,” Piccard later said in a celebratory statement. “It is a concentration of clean technologies, a genuine flying laboratory, and illustrates that solutions exist today to meet the major challenges facing our society.” “

At around 2,300 kilograms, the carbon­fiber Si2 weighs about 2,300 kilograms, about as much as a minivan or mid­sized truck.

Single­seat Solar Impulse 2 has 17,248 ultra­efficient solar cells that transfer solar energy to four electrical motors that power the plane's propellers. The cells also recharge four lithium polymer batteries to power the plane at night.

Piccard says he's been working toward the realization of his dream for 17 years, and "the last 16 years have been more difficult than the flight itself. The flight was for me the accomplishment of this dream; We can prove the reliability of these clean renewable technologies.". At least in theory, the plane now has the ability to fly for an unlimited period, Borschberg said, with only the human factor limiting how long the plane could potentially stay on the air. When you have the possibility to fly forever, it is an incredible feeling," he said. "


New Horizons New Horizons Returns Last Bits of 2015 Flyby Data to Earth. It took more than a year for New Horizons to send back the 50-plus gigabits of data collected around the time the spacecraft zipped by Pluto and its five moons on July 14, 2015. The data downlinks came down at an average of about 2,000 bits per second — a fraction of the speed of a dial-up Internet connection — and were interrupted as the spacecraft conducted manoeuvres and as ground antennas were needed by other deep space missions.

New Horizons has also sent back images of Charon – Pluto’s moon. While Pluto is a reddish colour, Charon is grey and does not appear to have an atmosphere. Pluto’s surface contains nitrogen, methane, and carbon monoxide ices, whereas Charon’s surface is composed mostly of ammonia compounds and frozen water. Unlike Pluto, whose interior is largely rock, Charon contains an equal amount of rock and ice. “These two objects have been together for billions of years, in the same orbit, but they are totally different,” principal investigator Alan Stern emphasized.

The next target for New Horizons measures just 13 to 25 miles (21 to 40 kilometres) across, and experts believe 2014 MU69 is a relic building block from left over from the ancient solar system. New Horizons will fly by the tiny world on Jan. 1, 2019, at a distance of about 1,900 miles (3,000 kilometres) during an extended mission phase approved by NASA earlier this year.­pluto­data­transmission­received­from­flyby­probe/­system/new­horizons­final­approach­images­show­surface­geology­on­pluto/­horizons­lined­up­for­final­approach­to­pluto/


CARBON DIOXIDE TO STONE In a ground - breaking study that holds new potential for combating climate change, scientists announced this spring that, for the first time, In one year the world emits CO2 captured from a power plant in Iceland and pumped underground 33 billion tons of CO2. That had mineralised into a white, chalky substance for permanent storage, many tons could form a and this conversion happened far faster than anyone expected. giant CO2 cube measuring over 28 km on At Iceland ' s Hellisheidi Power Plant hydrologist Martin Stute, Scientist each side. By 2030, our Juerg Matter, and colleagues used CO2 captured at the power plant, emissions of CO2 could mixed it with water and hydrogen sulfide, creating soda - like rise to 40 billion tons. carbonation. The solution is then pumped 550 yards underground into a basalt formation, where the acidity leaches elements like calcium and magnesium from the surrounding rocks. Over time, the solution flows through the basalt formation and these elements recombine to form minerals like limestone. Within two years, 95 percent of the injected CO2 had turned to mineral – far faster than the 8 – 12 years originally expected. “

Credits: Colombia University

Iceland makes an ideal test site because the ground beneath the island nation is 90 percent basalt. " Carbon dioxide capture and storage is important because we depend on fossil fuels, and we will depend on fossil fuels for the next 50 to 100 years, " said Juerg Matter. Dr Matter added: " You can find basalts on every continent and, certainly, you can find them offshore because all the oceanic crust is all basaltic rocks. In terms of the availability of basaltic rocks globally - no problem. " This technique may be a model for other power plants and factories to control their emissions, creating a climate change solution literally set in stone.­10­co2­stone.html#jCp­storage­projects­turns­co2­into­stone/­environment­36494501­just­figured­out­how­to­turn­carbon­emissio­1781531777


1 pound of methane has the equivalent heat trapping ability of 23 pounds of carbon dioxide.

Astronomy in India Its Older Than you ever thought In a world where many electronic devices shows accurate date and time. How many of you knew Indians were one of the real MVP. Starting from building an accurate sun dial to discovering gravity, astronomy was an integral part of Indian civilization from a long time. Astrology, the study of telling ones fortune by seeing the date of his birth, will have a book of astronomy on its prerequisites. The only thing that keep them down was a lack of proper telescope. Though it should be admitted that with their unaided observations with crude instruments, the astronomers in ancient India were able to arrive at near perfect measurement of astronomical movements and predict eclipses. Indian astronomers also theorized that the Earth was a sphere and not flat(Still some morons believe) . Aryabhatta was the first one to have propounded this theory in the 5th century. These are some of the lesser known facts about Ancient Indian Astronomy Did you know that the famous Hindu astronomer, Bhaskaracharya in his Surya Siddhanta wrote: Objects fall on the earth due to a force of attraction by the earth. Therefore, the earth, planets, constellations, moon and sun are held in orbit due to this attraction. His calculation showed that the earth takes around 365.258756484 days to go around the sun once. It was not until 1687, 1200 years later did Issac Newton rediscovered the Law of Gravity. Approximately 1200 years later (1687AD),


There is an old Sanskrit couplet which is as follows: Sarva Dishanaam, Suryaha, Suryaha, Suryaha. This couplet means that there are suns in all directions. This couplet which describes the night sky as full of suns, indicates that in ancient times Indian astronomers had arrived at the important discovery that the stars visible at night are similar to the Sun visible during day time. In other words it was recognized that the sun is also a star, though the nearest one. This apart, many Indian astronomers had formulated ideas about gravity and gravitation.


Many countries have been trying to establish their superiority in the space. Some want at least their presence felt. The history of space programmes of the progressive countries has been a Chequered one. It has been rather a part of the cold war between two big powers – the erstwhile USSR and USA. The space becomes a store house of the nuclear arsenal of the west. With the disintegration of the former USSR the things have changed everywhere. India’s concern for peaceful ventures in the space has become relevant. Since the inception of ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization) India's talented astronomers don't need to go to other countries to perform.


With successful launch of its first mission to Mars, it is India's attempt to become the fourth nation and the first Asian country to reach the fourth planet from the sun.Success to this project would place ISRO in a different orbit and put India into an elite club of US, Soviet Union and European space agency. India would become first Asian country to achieve such feat. China and Japan had attempted such a feat in the past but in vain. Mangalyaan launch exemplifies a creative blend of Indian scientific ability. The effectiveness and determination of ISRO can be understood from the fact that the launch occurred in just 15 months of government approval and at a low budget of Rs 450 crores. Mangalyaan is programmed to search water and methane on Mars. If it succeeds it will serve as a technology demonstrator, boosting brand India. ISRO can easily capitalize such programmes in future. It can look forward to secure satellite launch contracts from many countries. With Nasa and other foreign space agencies wanting to outsource space mission, ISRO can easily undertake these multi-million dollar projects.


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Stardust Newsletter 2017  

Introducing The Stardust Newsletter, the official newsletter from Nakshatra, the astronomy and science club of NITT. 2016 has been a harbi...

Stardust Newsletter 2017  

Introducing The Stardust Newsletter, the official newsletter from Nakshatra, the astronomy and science club of NITT. 2016 has been a harbi...