Have you ever watched this video? Carl Sagan really, really rocks!

Symphony of Science – ‘We Are All Connected’ (ft. Sagan, Feynman, deGrasse Tyson & Bill Nye)

Watch Cosmos TV Series by Carl Sagan at www.hulu.com/cosmos


Beauty of Astronomy

Posted: May 5, 2010 in Beauty of Astronomy

I wanted to post the picture here but I have to ask for permission. So, I am posting the link: http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2010/05/03/not-all-halos-are-created-equal/

What happened to Bad Astronomy?

Posted: April 30, 2010 in Books, Resources
Bad Astronomy Book Cover

Bad Astronomy by Phil Plait

It changed to a blog at discovermagazine.com (It has become “bad” astronomy.). The old site at http://www.badastronomy.com/intro.html seems abandoned today and looks just like the abandoned Apollo landing sites (or the old Kosmandu site). Let’s hope Phil Plait will consider redesigning and running the old site like before again (and also run the new blog at Discover). Anyway, for newcomers, Bad Astronomy is an amazing website that clears general misconceptions about Astronomy and Science like the Apollo landing hoax theory. Why not go and check it out for yourselves?
No, not the new blog. 😉
*I am wishing on a star to see a debunk of this post.

Website problem

Posted: April 28, 2010 in Kosmandu, Telescope

Kosmandu’s main website has not been accessible due to unknown reasons. Neither have we been able to contact the domain/hosting reseller. The owner of the reseller company is probably out of country.

As for the group, Kosmandu has also been quietly performing its activities, looking at the stars and inspiring others while these days other groups are performing larger mass observation programs.

Kosmandu has also seen lot of shuffles in its membership just like it happens in Nepali politics. There were times it was attacked my malicious people. But the trick is to keep doing the work. Keep inspiring whoever or whatever comes in the way. Use anything for the benefit of larger population. Nepal is also going through hell right now. With strikes, so-called andolans and headaches, this is no different than hell. And it is a wonder how people love to suffer in this hell. There’s no other way than to wait until the storm passes away and peace comes back. Looks like King’s absense is a bad omen for the country even for skeptics like us. These are the times when spirituality is most wanted. Hoping for the comeback of the King and restoring order in the nation.

Jai Nepal!

I only think that some people are undermining the greatness of our calendar, which has had a glorious history, by trying to change it. Fortunately, the current ‘president’ of the nation has not accepted the change fearing hindus from protesting and politicizing the matter. ‘Pashupatinath-Priest-Scandal Trauma’ has not left the president and most probably Lord Pashupatinath saved our calendar. He saved our ‘Astronomy’!!!! Thanks, God!

Francois Gautier in Indian Express, Monday, October 25, ’99, wrote:

In astronomy too, the “Indus” (from the valley of the Indus) have left a universal legacy, determining for instance the dates of solstices, as noted by 18th century French astronomer Jean-Sylvain Bailly: “The movement of stars which was calculated by Hindus 4,500 years ago, does not differ even by a minute from the tables which we are using today.” And he concludes: “The Hindu systems of astronomy are much more ancient than those of the Egyptians – even the Jews derived from the Hindus their knowledge”. There is also no doubt that the Greeks heavily borrowed from the “Indus”.

I think it is completely vague to propose that the month of Chaitra be struck off and be referred to as Baisakh, starting 2067. Bikram era calendar is a Vedic calendar that comprises of both Solar and Lunar calendars. The solar month in this calendar is the time it takes for the sun to traverse a sign of zodiac, which is roughly 30 degrees. Thus, in a year the sun traverses a total of 30×12=360 degrees. Since, all the months are created in accordance with the position of the sun in the sky (i.e. Sun resides in Aries during Baisakh, Taurus during Jestha and so on.) it is vague to make any such changes as proposed by the Calendar reform committee.*

The only problem we are facing today is that the dates have lost their seasonal relevance due to precession of equinoxes. That is, it is true that Sun enters Makar, the 10th sign of zodiac on Magh 1st.* But it is no more the day of Winter Solstice when the Sun starts its Northern ward movement as people still celebrate the day for. The winter solstice has preceded to 7th of Poush. Now the problem is we are not sure when to observe these festivals rather than there being any error in the calendar. Its because we cannot incorporate both the phenomenon into one day anymore. The calendar in itself is accurate to what it follows—the sidereal year. The problem has arisen because of season coming earlier each year due to slight change in the direction of tilt of Earth each year. The committee could rather focus on changing dates of some religious festivals which are of seasonal significance. For example, if Maghe Sanktranti is more about Winter Solstice than Sun entering Makar, then it should be rightly placed on Poush 6th / 7th (December 22nd). One could propose a change in the names too, since no longer it will be a Sankranti (the first day of Magh when the Sun enters Makar). There should be decisions on each of the religious festivals about the actual dates where they should be placed on the calendar rather than changing the calendar itself because not everyone will like the proposed changes. It might only ruin the calendar’s significance.

*(The zodiac as per divided by the Vedic astrologers has 30 degrees for every sign along the path of the Sun. The modern day division set by International Astronomical Union is more based on the true shapes our ancestors drew joining the stars)

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