Light-and-Shadow Play : Total Lunar Eclipse

Eclipses are the natural phenomenon that occurs in sky and was recorded by almost all civilizations which left their mark on Earth.  Some associated eclipses for demons invading the earth (in all religions) or evil happening to humans, others really did scientific observation which led to eradicate (?) the former beliefs.  The saga between ‘two’ still continues even today!  We need both faces of stories to create awareness among ‘individuals (fellow people who still believe occurrence of eclipses are grim)’ to un-educated them with their un-questionable and superstition beliefs.  Except making people to fear (or fear of GoD) and practicing ‘fruitless observances’ no other ‘constructive development’ has been recorded or reported (researched)  from these attitudes.  And the ‘_____ Culture (Samskruti)’ ties hands (thinking process) of ‘most of them’ to have an open-discussion on these thoughts.   Today, ‘fear’ is the one-and-only synonym associated with the former word I guess?  And there are numerous ‘organizations’ all around us growing like mushroom to imprint ‘fear’ factor to the people without religion, cast, race, country, etc.,(?) and claims to be the stake holder of ‘Samskruti’.

It is time for all of us, not to go against to ‘common people beliefs’ rather un-educate them about their crude beliefs by creating awareness about what are eclipses, what is actually happening in the sky, how others thought about the eclipses, what science we can learn from eclipses, why they are not bad or evil and finally make ‘them’selves to realize the beauty of nature becoming one among in it (nature) and do what they love to do rather what they do or practice out-of ‘fear’ spread by immature, self proclaimed stake holder of ‘almighty’ and ‘samskruti’.  Let’s not fight against with self proclaimed ‘______’ , let’s fight against to their thinking, their nature of dictating twisted ‘culture’ on people, their nature of God, their nature of behaving godly person, their nature of business and the ‘media’ who support them.  Let us not restrict ‘this’ to eclipse events, let us make this as a ‘habit of humanity’ to embrace the nature in every situations/events/celebration(etc.,).

When it comes to science, no defined boundaries as such to describe it!  Each individual will have ample time to imagine (think) everything about the nature, experiment on it, predict on it, if it works move-on with it, until it is proved false! This is how science progress! And the great minds of our past have contemplated this.  [Here], nothing is absolute and nothing is obsolete (!?).   The spirit of questioning ‘everything’ is the prime signature and beauty of science as said by Prof. H. Narasimhaiah, physicist, educationist from Karnataka, India.  Let us plunge the pseudo-scientific approach to all our understanding and move in the path which makes science as our way of life.

Eclipses are light-and-shadow play of nature showcased on an astronomical stage by wonderers (planets) (in our solar system).  The second full moon of 2018 which happens on January 31st is an eclipsed Moon (Total Lunar Eclipse).  This is a ‘delicious’ event for nature lovers to observe, to create awareness (not to practice superstitious beliefs/ eclipse myths) among public, to do science and to lead life in harmony with nature by celebrating it.  This eclipse is also portrayed as “Super-Blue-Red Eclipse Moon“.  Like – ‘Once in a Blue Moon’ phrase in English, this lunar eclipse claim to be a rare event  culminating with all  ‘flavoured color’ of Moon (?).  Why the Moon on Jan 31st, 2018 is called Super-Blue Moon and many other resources can be found in this Eclipse portal of IIA, Bangalore.   The lunar eclipse is visible in most part of North America, Europe, Asia and Australia.
Let us all rejoice in the eclipse!

Eclipse Handbook of January 31, 2018 – A Lunar Eclipse How-To for Everyone
To download  click here.
Prepared by : Prajwal Shastri, IIA, Bangalore; Ajay Talwar, Amateur Astronomers, Delhi; Juny K Wilfred, ICTS, Bangalore

Lunar Eclipse at Bangalore:

Image Credit:

Timings for Bangalore (IST):
Date: 31-01-2018

Rise  = 06:46
Set    = 18:20

Rise  = 18:15
Set    = 06:19 (on 01.02.2018)

Total Lunar Eclipse:

Partial Phase begins (P1)   = 16:21:15 (Not Visible)
First Contact (U1)                = 17:18:27 (Not Visible)
Second Contact (U2)           = 18:21:27 (Visible)
Third Contact (U3)              = 19:37:51 (Visible)
Fourth Contact (U4)            = 20:41:11 (Visible)
Eclipse Ends (P4)                 = 21:38:27 (Visible)

Eclipse Duration

Penumbral    = 05h 17m 44s
Umbral          = 03h 22m 44s
Totality          = 01h 16m 04s

Eclipse Sketch


Viswa Keerthy S



ಪ್ರಕೃತಿಯ ಗುರಿಯನ್ನು ಹುಡುಕುತ್ತಾ…!?…

ಬೆಂಗಳೂರಿನಲ್ಲಿ ದನಗೋಳು ಮಳೆ ಸುರಿಯುತ್ತಿದ್ದಾಗ, ‘ಪ್ರಕೃತಿಯ’ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಹಾಗೆ ಬಂದು ಹೋದ ಒಂದು ಸಣ್ಣ ಯೋಚನೆ…

…ಎಷ್ಟೋ ಬಾರಿ ನಾವು ಭೂ ಕೇಂದ್ರಿತವಾಗಿ (ಮನುಷ್ಯ ಕೇಂದ್ರಿತ) ಪ್ರಕೃತಿಯ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಯೋಚನೆ ಮಾಡುತ್ತೇವೆ ಮತ್ತು ನಮ್ಮ ಮತ್ತು ಪ್ರಕೃತಿಯ ಮಧ್ಯವಿರುವ ಸಂಬಂಧ, ಲಾಭ ನಷ್ಟ, ಇತ್ಯಾದಿಗಳನ್ನು ಹುಡುಕಲು ಪ್ರಯತ್ನಿಸುತ್ತೇವೆ.  ಆದರೇ, ಪ್ರಶ್ನೆ ಇರುವುದು ಪ್ರಕೃತಿ ಅಂದ್ರೇ ಇಷ್ಟೇನಾ? 

ವಿಶ್ವದ ಪ್ರಕೃತಿಯಲ್ಲಿ, ಭೂಮಿಯ ಮೇಲೆ ನಾವು ನೋಡುವ ಪ್ರಕೃತಿಯು ಯಕಃಶ್ಚಿತ್ ಧೂಳಿನ ಕಣಗಳಿಗಿಂತ ಸಣ್ಣ ಪ್ರಮಾಣ.  ವಿಶ್ವದ ಉಗಮವನ್ನು ನಾವು ವೈಜ್ಞಾನಿಕವಾಗಿ ಅಂದಾಜಿಸಿದ್ದೇವೆ (ಎಷ್ಟು ವರ್ಷದ ಹಿಂದೆ ಎಂದು), ಅಲ್ಲಿಂದ  ಎಲ್ಲವೂ (ಅಣು, ಪರಮಾಣು, ಅನಿಲದ ಮೋಡಗಳು ಇತ್ಯಾದಿ) ಗುರುತ್ವ (ನಾವು ಈ ರೀತಿ ಹೆಸರು ಕೊಟ್ಟಿದ್ದೇವೆ) ಬಲದ ಮೂಲದಿಂದ ರಚನೆಗೊಂಡ ನಿಯಮಗಳಿಂದ (ಕೆಲವು ನಿಯಮಗಳನ್ನು ಕಂಡು ಹಿಡಿದಿದ್ದೇವೆ) ನಾನಾ ರೀತಿ ರೂಪ ಪಡೆಯುತ್ತಿದೆ, ನಾನು, ನೀವು, ಬೆಟ್ಟ, ಗುಡ್ಡ, ನದಿ, ಬಸ್ಸು, ಕಾರು, ಗ್ರಹ, ಸೂರ್ಯ, ನಕ್ಷತ್ರ, ಗ್ಯಾಲಾಕ್ಸಿ, ಬ್ಲಾಕ್ ಹೊಲ್ ಇಡೀ ವಿಶ್ವ….  ಎಲ್ಲವೂ ಒಂದೆ, ಅಂದರೆ ನಾವೆಲ್ಲರೂ ಒಂದೆ, ನಾವು ಕೂಡ ವಿಶ್ವದ ಪ್ರಕೃತಿಯ ಒಂದು ರೂಪ, ಬೇರೆನಲ್ಲಾ  ಹೀಗೆ ಕೋಟ್ಯಾನು ಕೋಟಿ ಜೀವ ರಾಶಿಗಳು (ಪ್ರಕೃತಿಯ ರೂಪಗಳು) ಕೋಟ್ಯಾನು ಕೋಟಿ ಗ್ರಹಗಳಲ್ಲಿ (ನಮ್ಮಂತಹ ಭೂಮಿ ಅನ್ಕೋಳಿ) ಅದರ ಅದರ ವಾತವರಣದಲ್ಲಿ ಬದುಕುತ್ತಿರಬಹುದು. 

ಇಂತಹ ಉಹೆಗೂ ನಿಲುಕದೆ ಹರಡಿರುವ ಪ್ರಕೃತಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಕುವೆಂಪು ಹೇಳಿದಂಗೆ, ‘ಯಾರುಮುಖ್ಯರಲ್ಲಾ, ‘ಯಾರುಅಮುಖ್ಯರಲ್ಲಾ, ‘ಯಾವುದುಯಕಃಶ್ಚಿತವಲ್ಲಾ…. ಯಾವ ಲಾಭ, ನಷ್ಟ, ಉದ್ದೇಶ, ಗುರಿ ಈಪ್ರಕೃತಿಗೆ ಇಲ್ಲಾ

ಹೀಗೆ ನಿಮಗೇನಾದರೂ ವಿಚಿತ್ರ ಯೋಚನೆಗಳು ಬಂದಿದ್ದರೆ, ಈ ಲೇಖನಕ್ಕೆ ರಿಪ್ಲೈ ಮಾಡಿ…

ವಿಶ್ವಕೀರ್ತಿ ಎಸ್.

The story of photographic plates: NGC 1851

Unravelling the hidden data from the archival photographic plates of globular cluster- NGC 1851
This work got published in the ‘BASE Line’ a quarterly bulletin of JNP, Bangalore.



(This is a scanned copy of the BASE Line.  Full copy of the bulletin can be downloaded here )


Jawaharlal Nehru Planplanetarium Bangalore (JNP)

Vision and Mission 


  • To popularise science amongst general public
  • Non-formal science education,
  • To train students to take up science as a career.

BASE has established a Science Centre in the Planetarium which has become a nucleus for non-formal science education at all levels. The activities of the Science Centre and the Planetarium have made BASE a unique institution for the dissemination of science. A Science Park has been developed in the premises of the Planetarium.

Science popularisation activities of  BASE viz., sky-theatre shows, monthly astronomy lectures, monthly science movies attract over two lakh visitors every year.

Our science education activities viz., Research Education Advancement Programme (REAP), Interactive Week-end Sessions for school children, Summer Programmes, Science Exhibitions and Workshops attract thousands of students every year. Over 35 students from BASE have got admission for Ph.D. courses in premier research institutes in India and abroad. They include Raman Research Institute, Indian Institute of Science, Wild Life Research Institute, Oxford University, Michigan State University, Delft Institute, State University New York, Buffalo, University of Florida, Cornell University.

JNP Publications

JNP Website

JNP Address
Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium
Bangalore Association for Science Education,
Sri T. Choudaiah Road, High Grounds,
Bangalore – 560 001
Land Mark: Opp. Indira Gandhi Musical Fountain, Near Raj Bhavan.

Viswa Keerthy S


When Earth is close to Sun we have winter!!*

Seasons are the most wonderful thing that nature has gifted to Earth.  Without seasons, life on earth would have ceased long back.  But seasons have kept life alive on this Earth.  Changing landscape according to the seasons is the greatest beauty of nature.  Each living being on Earth can sense these changes and they adapt themselves to these changes to sustain their life on Earth. So, seasons play a crucial role in making Earth as a habitable zone for life in our solar system.

One of the age old questions is “How these seasons occur on Earth?”  Well, a fifth grade school child may answer this question. And the most celebrated answer among children is this, “Earth revolves around the Sun in an elliptical orbit with Sun at one focus.  So, when Earth is very close to Sun we have summer and when Earth is far away from Sun, we have winter.” The below image depicts what is said in the sentence.

Img 1
Seasons are mentioned with respect to Northern Hemisphere


At first stroke, this answer looks evident.  When the Earth is closest to Sun, Earth receives more sun light than at other position.  The hemisphere which is facing the Sun will have summer and the other hemisphere which is away from Sun will have winter. These conclusions can be derived from the above statement.  I studied this in my school days.  I firmly believed this explanation until I found that, this is totally wrong.  Yes, the most obvious statement that we make about seasons is wrong.  Some teachers still follow the same logic and teach wrong concept to their students!!
Let us have a closer look on how these seasons occur?

There are two motions of Earth which are evident to Img 4us.  Earth revolves around the Sun and Earth spins about its axis.  Earth takes nearly a year (365 days) to go around the Sun in an elliptical orbit and it takes a day (24 hour) to spin about its axis.  But there is a weird and wonderful thing about this axis of rotation of the Earth. (A body which rotates about its axis is called axis of rotation).  It is tilted at an angle of 23.5 degree from the vertical line as shown in the right side image. This angle or tilt is constant throughout the elliptical orbit.  And also the axis of rotation of the Earth points in the same direction at all positions of the orbit as you can see in the below image.  This direction is always towards the north.
Now let us come to our core topic seasons.  We have four seasons on Earth, summer, winter, spring and fall.


In the month of December Earth will be at position A.  At this position Earth is close to sun.  But northern hemisphere will receive less sun light than the southern hemisphere due to the tilt of the earth.  Because of this reason northern hemisphere will observe winter and southern hemisphere will observe summer!

Img 2Imag 3

But in the month of June, that is at position C the season reverses.  At this position Earth is far away from Sun compare to position A.  But now northern hemisphere will receive more sun light than southern hemisphere due to the same reason tilt of the axis of rotation of the Earth.  So, summer season at northern hemisphere and winter season at southern hemisphere.  But observe one thing; direction of the axis of rotation of the Earth is not changed.  It is still pointing in the same direction.

And the same explanation goes on for position B and D.  At position B, northern hemisphere will have spring and southern hemisphere will have fall.  Exactly reverse happens at position D.

We have got the answer!  The seasons occur on earth is because of the tilt of the axis of rotation of Earth (or Inclination of axis of rotation).

But we did not talk about the distance between Earth and Sun.  Because distance is not the cause of seasons!  Let me talk with numbers.  On Jan 4, Earth is closest to Sun with a distance of 148,000,000 km.  On July 4, Earth is at farthest point from Sun with a distance of 152,000,000 km.  The variation in distance is only 2%.  This small variation in distance cannot cause seasons on earth.

So we have seasons on Earth because, the axis of rotation of Earth is tilted. (23.5 degree).  If there is no tilt in the axis, then there are no seasons on Earth!!!

What I have learnt in school and wrote in exam is totally wrong.

Viswa Keerthy S
(*Title is with respect to northern hemisphere of Earth where I live. )