Friday, December 16, 2011

International Conference on Astrophysics & Cosmology (ICAC), March 19-21, 2012!

Astrophysics and Cosmology Research Group Nepal (ACRG-Nepal) has announced an international conference on Astrophysics and Cosmology in Kathmandu, Nepal during 19-21 march 2012. The registration details are available now available at

According to the organizer, the purpose of this conference is to bring together experienced as well as young scientists who are interested in working actively on various aspects of astrophysics & cosmology, to exchange their research findings and to expose young minds in the field of astrophysics & cosmology from Nepal. The lectures will address major theoretical issues and current observational successes in the field. The lectures will be arranged in such a way that the young researchers will have ample scope of interaction with the speakers who are both nationally and internationally leading experts in their respective field of research. Besides the special invited talks, there will be contributing presentations such as oral and poster presentations, exchange events and information about the status of different amateur groups in the field organizing various events. This conference covers observational, computational and theoretical aspects of A&A.

The conference will have two main sessions: Theme session and Technical session. In the Theme session, a set of lectures will be delivered from the distinguished invited professors about the current issues and research findings in their relevant field. Researchers and students would have an ample opportunity to present their research findings in the Technical session.

Looking forward to see you in Nepal 

Friday, December 9, 2011

Join NASO the TLE celebration in Nepal at NAST on December 10, 2011!

As the second and last of two total lunar eclipses in 2011, the total lunar eclipse occurring on 10 December is posed to enthrall eclipse-enthusiasts from central and eastern Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Alaska and northern Canada. The first total lunar eclipse was observed on 15 June this year. The eclipse’s total phase would last for meager fifty one minutes. Its faint penumbral shadow would begin to cover moon at 17:16 hours local time. The dark umbral phase would touch the moon at 18:30 hours. The moon would enter into totality at 19:51 hours and would arrive at the maximum phase of the greatest eclipse at 20:17 hours. The umbral eclipse magnitude would reach 1.11 at this stage. The totality end at 20:43 hours and the umbral shade would recede from the moon fully at 22:03 hours. The entire eclipse would be finally over at 23:16 hours.

On this occasion, Nepal Astronomical Society (NASO) in collaboration with Nepal Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) would like to organize following events at NAST:

1. Talk programme: 4pm-5pm
2. TLE Observation programme: 5pm-11pm

NASO has extended it's invitation to all eclipse enthusiasts to attend the program. Enjoy The last TLE for the year 2011 :)

Join NASO the TLE celebration in Nepal at NAST on December 10, 2011!

As the second and last of two total lunar eclipses in 2011, the total lunar eclipse occurring on 10 December is posed to enthrall eclipse-enthusiasts from central and eastern Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Alaska and northern Canada. The first total lunar eclipse was observed on 15 June this year. The eclipse’s total phase would last for meager fifty one minutes. Its faint penumbral shadow would begin to cover moon at 17:16 hours local time. The dark umbral phase would touch the moon at 18:30 hours. The moon would enter into totality at 19:51 hours and would arrive at the maximum phase of the greatest eclipse at 20:17 hours. The umbral eclipse magnitude would reach 1.11 at this stage. The totality end at 20:43 hours and the umbral shade would recede from the moon fully at 22:03 hours. The entire eclipse would be finally over at 23:16 hours.

On this occasion, Nepal Astronomical Society (NASO) in collaboration with Nepal Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) would like to organize following events at NAST:

1. Talk programme: 4pm-5pm
2. TLE Observation programme: 5pm-11pm

NASO has extended it's invitation to all eclipse enthusiasts to attend the program. Enjoy The last TLE for the year 2011 :)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Don't miss the upcoming Total Lunar Eclipse on December 10, 2011

As the second and last of two total lunar eclipses in 2011, the total lunar eclipse occurring on 10 December is posed to enthrall eclipse-enthusiasts from central and eastern Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Alaska and northern Canada. The first total lunar eclipse was observed on 15 June this year. The eclipse’s total phase would last for meager fifty one minutes. Its faint penumbral shadow would begin to cover moon at 17:16 hours local time. The dark umbral phase would touch the moon at 18:30 hours. The moon would enter into totality at 19:51 hours and would arrive at the maximum phase of the greatest eclipse at 20:17 hours. The umbral eclipse magnitude would reach 1.11 at this stage. The totality end at 20:43 hours and the umbral shade would recede from the moon fully at 22:03 hours. The entire eclipse would be finally over at 23:16 hours.

How can you do Lunar eclipse observation?

They are safe to watch with naked eyes. Unlike solar eclipse, which can only be gazed briefly from any specific place, a lunar eclipse can be perceived for several hours. It could provide enthralling targets for avid photographers as well.

How does eclipse occur?
A lunar eclipse takes place when the Sun, earth and moon are all perfectly aligned with the earth sitting in the middle of Sun and moon. When the moon passes behind earth, the Sun's rays are blocked from striking the moon. This can only happen when the moon is full and the moon is near or at the descending or ascending nodes (two points of intersection between the planes of moon’s orbit with that of earth’s path around Sun). This time the moon is at the descending node that lies in eastern region of zodiacal constellation Taurus (bull) four days after apogee (moon’s furthest point from earth).

Types of lunar eclipse
Astronomers recognize three basic types of lunar eclipses. In penumbral lunar eclipse the moon passes through earth's penumbral shadow. These events are of only academic interest because they are subtle and hard to perceive. In partial lunar eclipse a portion of the moon passes through earth's umbral shadow and can be admired easily with unaided eye. At total lunar eclipse the entire moon steeps into perplexing earth's umbral shadow of vibrant red color.

Why does not the lunar eclipse happen each month?
Even though the moon orbits earth every 29.5 days and lunar eclipses occur at full moon, lunar eclipses do not happen every month during full moon. It is because the moon's orbit around earth is inclined sparsely five degrees to earth's trajectory around Sun. There are two points (ascending or descending nodes) where the lunar path intersects earth’s track. Since earth's shadows lie exactly in the same plane, during full moon, our natural satellite usually passes above or below earth's shadows and misses them completely. No eclipse takes place. When two to four times each year, moon finds itself at or near the nodes to pass through some portion of the earth's penumbral or umbral shadows, one of the three types of eclipses can be witnessed. Everyone on the night side of earth can see lunar eclipse. Thirty five percent of all eclipses are of the penumbral nature. Another thirty percent are partial eclipses. Around thirty five percent are fascinating total eclipses.

Future Total Lunar Eclipse
Though 2012 and 2013 are devoid of total lunar eclipses, they could be relished in 2014, 2015, 2018, 2019 and 2021.

Source: Press release sent by NASO on December 7, 2011.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Apply for some great positions at SGAC!

SGAC has opened applications for multiple spots for three important roles to the organisation: Co-Secretary, Web Editor and Reporter on the Communications & Public Relations (PR) Team. These positions are offer challenging, rewarding, and professional skill-building experiences.

Be a part of leading and shaping the organisation! Benefits of these positions include meeting and working with young space sector leaders from around the world, having a higher chance of receiving SGAC scholarships to attend conferences around the world,being recognised internationally as part of the organisation's leadership on the SGAC Team webpage,being invited to attend United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space meetings and other conferences as part of the official SGAC delegation,building leadership skills and other skills that are directly translatable to your career

For more details and please visit the official website of Space Generation Advisory Council( SGAC) . The deadline for those positions is December 7, 2011. So, don't wait, apply now!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Astronomical Tour to Chitwan, Makawanpur and Sarlahi 2011

October Second week remained busy for us doing astronomy outreach in three different districts, named Chitwan, Makawanpur and Sarlahi of Nepal for astronomical outreach. The team carried it's 8 inch Dobsonian to the places and talked about astronomy and did some observation whenever weather remained cleared!

In the evening of October 16, some night sky observation and light pollution estimation has been done from Sauraha, Chitwan. During the observation, we observed Jupiter, Moon and the some of the prominent constellations visible at that time. The night remained partly cloudy and we played Hide and Seek with them for our observation.

The next day, October 17, we did some night sky observation from Hotel Avocado, Hetauda where NAAM executives joined from from Birgunj. Though the weather played foul to us, the discussions remained unforgettable. Milan Rai, president-Nepali Association for Astronomical Mission (NAAM) expressed, " I have never thought that I could meet Rishi Shah, academician-Nepal academy of Science and Technology (NAST) and president-NASO, who has been doing astronomy for last 25 years in Nepal. It's like a dream for me that I am talking to the person whom are are reading for about a decade in the Rising Nepal and taken as a source of our inspiration for our astronomical work in Birgunj." Mr. Bibek and Prakash from NAAM were there with us for the observation and discussion on Astronomy Olympiad that we are planning for 2012!

Then we went to the School run by Hoste Haise in Sarlahi to have some interaction with school students and with their parents. Though we planned for Solar Observation from the place, we could not do that as the road was damaged by the flood and our vehicle could not go to the other side. We used motorbikes to reach the school and spend some time with the people there and talk about astronomy.

That evening we drive back to Hetauda and enjoy the night sky as we got info Hetauda remained cleared that that while we were in Sarlahi. This night remained most successful nights in terms of observation as we got an opportunity to explore the beauty of the sky over Hetauda which we failed to do last night!

Stay tuned to our blog for more updates on our activities and contact us if you want to participate in our events!

Clear skies to all of you :-)

Friday, October 14, 2011

International Observe the Moon Night and Draconid Meteor Shower in Nepal!

On October 8, Nepal had two astronomy events. As we were celebrating World Space Week in Nepal ( October 4-10), we also celebrate International Observe the Moon Night 2011( InOMN2011) in various parts of Nepal. This InOMN events were organized in Maitidevi and Lazimpat of Kathmandu valley and Birgunj which is outside the valley.

The Draconids were recorded from several places as I guided some of the enthusiastic on how to record them, none of them approached me for the further processing of the data and archive. I observed Draconids from 9:45-11:45 PM and recorded four meteors during the time which is now available in the IMO database( Through the prediction was ~1-6 meteors per minute, the rate was reduced due to moonlight which was almost full ( Full Moon on Oct 12).

The next Meteor Shower is Orionid Meteor Shower which will be visible from October 21-23, 2011. I will be observing during the dates! How about you ???

Monday, October 10, 2011

Space Generation Congress 2011 ( SGC2011) rocks!

This year, Space Generation Congress (SGC), annual meeting of Space Generation Advisory Council ( SGAC) ( held in Cape Town, South Africa. This was the first time that SGC was held in Africa and also the record number of participants over a past several years!!!

The congress provided me a great platform to interact with the people from different parts of the world.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

In Memoriam: Michael J. Drake!

Michael J. Drake(1946–2011), Regents’ Professor, Director of the University of Arizona’s (UA) Lunar and Planetary Laboratory (LPL), and head of the Department of Planetary Sciences, died September 21 at The University of Arizona Medical Center–University Campus in Tucson, Arizona. He was 65.

Drake, who joined UA in 1973 and headed LPL and the planetary sciences department since 1994, was the principal investigator of the most ambitious UA project to date, OSIRIS-REx, an $800 million mission designed to retrieve a sample of an asteroid and return it to Earth. OSIRIS-REx is due to launch in 2016.

Under Drake’s leadership, the LPL grew from a small group of geologists and astronomers into an international powerhouse of research into the solar system. Drake played a key role in a succession of ever more high-profile space projects that garnered international attention for LPL and the university. Those include the Cassini mission to explore Saturn, the Gamma-Ray Spectrometer onboard NASA’s Mars Odyssey Orbiter, the HiRISE camera onboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, and the Phoenix Mars Lander.

Drake also was a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, the Geochemical Society, and the Meteoritical Society, and he was president of the latter two.

A native of Bristol, England, Drake graduated with a degree in geology from Victoria University in Manchester, and then he left for a doctoral program in geology from the University of Oregon, graduating in 1972. After a postdoctoral program at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Drake moved to, and immediately fell in love with, Arizona.

As a young assistant professor, Drake joined a much smaller LPL in 1973. The lab occupied only a part of what is now the Kuiper Space Sciences Building, and most of his colleagues came from astronomy. Planetary sciences did not have the cachet then that it does now.

“It was, from my point of view, a strange environment,” Drake wrote earlier on LPL’s website. “It’s like the Tower of Babel; you talk in your own language and your own jargon, and communicating across fields is surprisingly difficult. It took a few years before I think most of us began to understand what motivated the other ones, what we were really saying. I think it helped us to speak in clearer, plain English and minimize the jargon, because we came from such different backgrounds.”

Regents’ Professor Peter Strittmatter, who recently retired as director of the UA’s Steward Observatory and head of the UA astronomy department, said Drake used those communication skills to expand LPL and form close relationships with NASA.

“Mike thought and spoke clearly so you always knew where he stood on an issue,” Strittmatter said. “He was a superb director of LPL, a great leader and a great personal friend. He will be sorely missed by all of us at the University of Arizona and especially those involved in the space sciences.”

Peter Smith, the principal investigator for the Phoenix Mars Lander mission, said he began working with Drake when Smith was building the camera for the 1997 Mars Pathfinder. He called Drake’s handling of the complexities of proposal development “masterful.”

“We would meet monthly to review progress and plan strategy,” Smith said. “Mike always encouraged excellence and made sure that the university was providing full support to our programs. Over the years, as my career progressed through various missions to Mars, he was there when troubles surfaced and a political push was needed,” said Smith, who is also part of the OSIRIS-REx mission.

“He watched our flight projects from the sidelines; his enthusiasm made it clear that he wished for a more direct involvement. After winning the project of his dreams, Mike will continue to inspire and lead through the legacy of his accomplishments.”

Edgar J. McCullough, retired professor and head of the UA geosciences department and dean of the College of Science, said he and Drake became friends in the early 1970s when they would go on weeklong backpacking excursions around the West.

“When he was in planetary sciences and I was head of the geosciences department, we set up a microprobe laboratory with funding from both departments. It was the first big piece of diagnostic equipment here at a time when geoscience was becoming more of an analytical science,” McCullough said. “He was the kind of faculty member you wanted because he was also strong on teaching, especially undergraduates.”

McCullough said Drake helped develop promotion and tenure policies for the college and was instrumental in establishing a joint position between the colleges of science and education to create science education programs. Drake also led a major undergraduate teaching effort in planetary sciences, even though the department was created as a graduate program.

Joaquin Ruiz, executive dean of the Colleges of Letters, Arts and Science, said: “Mike was a distinguished scholar, an accomplished administrator and a good friend. His students loved him for his energy, smarts, and care. He was able to run the department of planetary sciences incredibly smoothly at the same time as he was writing significant papers about the early evolution of the Earth and solar system and still have time to successfully compete for OSIRIS-REx.”

Timothy Swindle, the assistant director at LPL, summed it up, saying, “Not only was he a world-class scientist, but he was a tireless advocate for the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory and all the people who have worked here. Personally, he was a friend and mentor for me, and for many others, and we will miss him deeply.”

— Text courtesy of The University of Arizona

Friday, August 26, 2011

Nepal Tour 2011 (Trekking/cultural/astrophotography)

Nepal is regarded as a cultural lab as it has 100 plus ethnic groups with their own culture and traditions. There are several festivals that are celebrated in Nepal and Mani Rimbu is one of them which is celebrated in the Himalayan District Solukhumbu, the district which houses the Mt. Everest, world’s highest peak. The most important festival in Tengboche, of Solukhumbu is called the Mani Rimdu. Tengboche is a village at the height of ~4000 meter. As Nepal is celebrated Nepal Tourism Year 2011 (NTY2011) , we have introduced a 14 day tour named Mani Rimdu Festival Tour 2011 Nepal which cost you only 1350 USD per person only (round trip airfare from your country to Kathmandu has not been included in the above price).

The festival consists of nine days of ceremonies and meditation (Drupchen). This is concluded by a special blessing ceremony given by Tengboche Rinpoche to the public and the world renowned Mask Dances performed by the monks at Tengboche Monastery.The dates for the Mani Rimdu Ceremonies and Masked Dances 2011 at Tengboche Monastery are 10 - 13 November 2011.

The above mentioned price includes:

• Airport/Hotel/Airport pick up and transfer by Van or car.
• guided Kathmandu Tour as per the above program.
• 4 nights twin sharing accommodation with breakfast at 3/4* Hotel in Kathmandu.
• An experienced guide ( trained by Ministry of Tourism), 1 potters between 2 trekkers,their food, accommodation, salary, insurance and equipment.
• Full board meal (Veg/Non Veg) during the trek.
• Sagarmatha National Park Permit, TIMS permit.
• Round trip flight ( Kathmandu-Lukla-Kathmandu).
• The cost for this 14 days program is 1350 USD/person.

The price does not include:
• Any meals in Kathmandu other than breakfast
• Travel and trekking insurance ( if you want me to arrange your travel insurance, I would be happy to assist you)*
• International Airfare to and from Kathmandu
• Tourist VISA fee 25 USD or equivalent foreign currency with multiple entries of 15 days, 40 USD or equivalent foreign currency with multiple entry for 30 days.
• Any kinds of alcoholic drinks,cold drinks, laundry, phone calls and internet.

For this program, You must arrive Kathmandu on Saturday, November 5, 2011. See how our program goes with dates:

Tentative plan for the tour:

• November5:Arrival to Kathmandu
• November6:Kathmandu sight seeing
• November7:morning flight departure to mountain trek, overnight, Phakdin
• November8:trek to Namche, overnight Namche
• November9:hiking Khumbu/ Schyanboche,etc, overnight namche
• November10:hiking to Tenboche,overnight there
• November-13:Attend mani Rimdu festivals
• November14:overnight namche
• November15:back to Lukla,overnight Lukla
• November16:morning flight to Kathmandu, free time
• November:free day/back up day for bad weather in Lukla
• November18:Departure to mainland
• 4 nights in Kathmandu
• 9 nights in Trekking route attending mani Rimdu Festival

As these days are the peak time in Nepal for tourism, please confirm your participation as soon as possible. It would be good if you confirm your participation by Wednesday, August 31, 2011. If you have any queries about the program, please feel free to contact me.

Looking forward to welcome you in Nepal! Thanks!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Total Lunar Eclipse Observation Campaign 2011 in Nepal

The first Total Lunar Eclipse of 2011 brought great excitement among the amateur astronomers of Nepal.observe this historical eclipse,Nepal Astronomical Society(NASO), Kathmandu and Nepali Association for Astronomical Mission(NAAM) Birgunj,Nepal had organized doouble stationed observation of TLE from Nepal.before, NASO has spread the news among the nepalese through different media. " We have been busy answering the questions from the media as an live on FM radios from different parts of Nepal", said the Rishi Shah,Academician of Nepal Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) and President of NASO. We have tried to dissiminate the right information to every corner of Nepal through TVs, Radios and newspaper", explained Mr. Suresh Bhattarai, Secretary of NASO.

Through the observation from Kathmandu failed due to rain, Observers at other end had enjoyed the moments. "It was amazing to observe the moon passing deeply in the shadow of the Earth with in hrs,more interestingly to see the changes in the colour of the moon with orange to red and to black" explained Mr. Milan Rai, president of Nepali Association for Astronomical Mission(NAAM)

As we know that our solar system is a family of planets and their satellites which revolving around the sun on their orbit, so some time they come between a straight line while revolving around the sun. When the earth comes between the sun and the moon and they all are in straight path,the earth obstruct the light reaching to the moon causing shadow on it is known as lunar eclipse. Mr Rai further added, "In Birgunj the moon observation night was started from 8:00pm to the morning 7:00 am. According to local time ,the partial eclipse was begain at 12:04 a.m and total eclipse was begain at 1:06 a.m and total eclipse ends at 2:45 a.m morning at birgunj. After on wards we couldn’t recored the phases of eclipse of cloudy weather".

See you on in December, 2011!!!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Talk on Astronomy and Space Science at Martin Chautari

On May 1, 2011, Nepal Astronomical Society(NASO)in collaboration with Martin Chautari (MC) organized a talk program under the research seminar series of MC as a celebration of Global Astronomy Month (GAM) in Nepal.During the program, Rishi Shah, Academician-Nepal Academy of Science and Technology(NAST); president-Nepal Astronomical Society(NASO) presented a talk on "Promoting Space Science and Astronomy Education in for the Development of Society in Nepal". The talk was followed by short documentaries on Space Science and astronomy.

This is the first time that NASO organized an event at recognized discussion forum. Martin Chautari is vary famous for the discussion series on social science. "This is the first that that such a program has been organized as a part of research series at our place", said the Devendra Upreti,co-ordinator of the discussion series at Martin Chautari.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

First Human in Space:Yuri Gagarin!

50 years back when Yuri Gagarin orbited our blue planet earth for 108 minutes on April 12,1961 to spread word One World, One Earth. He's the one who were able to see vanishing all the boundries of countries from Space! An space era has been started! Today it's been 50 years since then and we're improvizing our thoughts and innovation for humanity on earth! We're space generation celebrating 50th anniversary of first man in Space:YURI GAGARIN!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

NASO at Exhibition 2011

On April 2, NASO put its stall at the exhibition to spread the information of present scenario of Astronomy, Astrophysic and Space Science Education in Nepal.

The Time Mechine: Movie for GAM2011!

Had wonderful time with friends at NASO movie club on April 2, 2011 watching THE TIME MECHINE!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Global Astronomy Month Eve 2011 in Nepal

Had great time with the kids of The Celebration Co-ed School, Jorpati, Kathmandu, Nepal:-)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Lets help our Japanese friends as much as we can!

Dear valued readers,

Here is the appeal from our Japanese friends for the help to those people who have been greatly suffered from the earthquakes/Aftershocks/Tsunami and Damage of nuclear power plant in Fukushima. Lets do our best to help these people, as we believe in one "people, one sky". These disasters took life of hundreds of people so far.

Original Request from the Japanese friend, Hiroshi Yamashita
Dear my foreign friends,

North east area of Japan is still confusing because of afterquake, accident of atomic power, and so on.
Influence of them, we hold the planning stoppage of electric power supply.
This earthquake and Tsunami took many lives and livings.
However, now we start rehabilitation and go back to daily life.
We have to save power for the disaster area.
On the other hand, we have to keep economic activities as usual.
I apologize to send just non-interactive message not so often against messages from my foreign friends.

Please, help us by the following actions.

1. Donate money through contribution in the Japanese Red Cross Society
or UNISEF site, please.

2. Buy Japanese products in your country as usual or more often, please.

3. Stop unfounded gossip of radiation of atomic power in your country.
I believe my respectable friends have ability of analysing the truth of the accident.

4. Continue to pray for disaster area in Japan and send encouraging messages for them on the web, please.

5. Please visit Japan for sightseeing or business after confusing of disaster calms (probably 2 or 3 months later,next May or June).
I can guide everywhere you want.

Many thanks for your kindness.

Per aspera ad astra!

Lets join our hand together to help these people in need however possible...

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Yuri's Night Zero-G Contests Are Open now!

Yuri’s Night has announced their two contests, the “Call to Humanity” Space Exploration Advertisement Competition and Yuri’s Night International Space Sweepstakes. These contests are now officially open and the organizers are accepting entries. $18,000 in space-themed prizes are being offered through these two contests, both of which are completely free to enter.

According the press release send by the Brice Russ, Media Team Chair of Youri's Night 2011,The Space Exploration Advertisement Competition will award a 4-day tour of Moscow, Russia, including a microgravity flight in an Ilyushin-76 aircraft, to an artist, designer or creative individual who creates a print ad which best captures the wonder of space and demonstrates the potential to best inspire the public."The winner will be judged by a celebrity panel of space notables, but entries will also be eligible for a fan-voted People’s Choice Award with another exciting set of prizes", he added. The deadline for entries are due by March 31st,2011.

Following the explanation of the contests, Russ further added, "If you’re not quite as artistically talented, sign up for the Russian Space Tour Sweepstakes, a free drawing which gives space enthusiasts around the world a chance to win a 10-day “VIP Lift-Off In Baikonur” package, which includes the opportunity to witness the launch of a Soyuz rocket live and in person. The winner will be randomly selected from all eligible entries".

Moreover,Yuri’s Night is still in the middle of our YN11 Video Contest, awarding a cash prize to the creator of the best tribute video celebrating the 50th anniversary of human spaceflight. As of March 12th, Yuri’s Night will be releasing daily videos recorded by members of the Association of Space Explorers, including Alexey Leonov, Chris Hadfield and Valentina Tereshkova, in support of the continued exploration of outer space; contest participants are encouraged to make use of these videos in their entries.

So, what are you waiting for. You may be the one who will have this great opportunity experience space life representing Nepal!

For more information on these competitions, visit their contests page at Don’t delay–get started on your entries now!

Thursday, March 10, 2011


-By Rishi Shah

As darkness descends on earth, the entire night sky comes alive with mesmerizing marvels of our arcane universe. Avid sky-gazers could relish on the splendid spectacle of planets and enjoy the alluring exhibits of stars, galaxies and nebulae that spread all over dark night skies from dusk till dawn. The zodiacal constellations of Pisces (fishes), Aries (ram), Taurus (bull), Gemini (twins), Cancer (crab) and Leo (lion) are unfurling across the heavens from western to eastern horizon. Pentagon-shaped constellation Auriga (charioteer) is dominatingly present in the evening sky almost overhead with its fascinatingly bright star Capella (Brahma Ridaya). It is fairly fourty five light-years away.

Kite-resembling Bootes (herdsman) along with petit Canes Venatici (hunting dogs) is ascending the eastern sky. Long constellation

Hydra (water serpent) is slithering across southern sky. Circumpolar constellations Cepheus (king), Cassiopeia (queen), Ursa Major (great bear) and Draco (dragon) are encircling the Pole Star Polaris (Dhruba Tara) remarkably in northern sky. Polaris, about 433 light-years away, is dwelling cozily in Ursa Minor (little bear).

The shimmering curtain of our galaxy, the Milky Way runs awesomely through Cassiopeia, Auriga, Monoceros (unicorn) and Puppis (stern of legendary ship Argo) from northwestern to southeastern sky.

Merely twelve million light-years away, the irregular galaxy NGC4449 embellishes Canes Venatici

The reddish glow dramatizes NGC4449’s the rolling star forming regions and blue star clusters that sketch huge sweeping interstellar spiraling arcs and bizarre bubbles being blown away by short-lived mammoth stars. Vibrantly engrossing NGC6914 Nebulae decorate the high-flying Cygnus (swan) soaring in eastern sky

Planet Venus shines exquisitely in eastern sky before daybreak. Far-flung bluish planet Neptune could be perceived above Venus, if peered carefully. These planet duos are wandering in Aquarius (water bearer) from eastern section of Capricornus (sea goat). Planet Jupiter could be admired in western sky after nightfall, as it gleams enticingly in Pisces. Jupiter is at perihelion (nearest distance to Sun) on 17 March and is simply 740 million kilometers away from Sun. Fleetingly elusive planet Mercury could be discerned below Jupiter during the beginning of month.

The charming Circlet asterism of Pisces hovers roughly above them. Ringed planet Saturn glitters gorgeously among the stars in Virgo, as it rises a bit later after sunset in eastern sky. Two resplendent stars Spica (Chitra) in Virgo and Arcturus (Swati) in Bootes are floating conspicuously over and under Saturn.

A strange star system dubbed KOI-730 that could have two planets in the same orbit has been disclosed recently by NASA’s Kepler project. Two planets out of four are hobbling weirdly around the parent star in just under ten days and are seemingly sharing the same path. The planets would be circling the chief star in ostensibly quirky Trojan configuration (whizzing sixty degrees in front of and behind another object).

When one body (as planet) dashes around more massive body (star), there are two gravitational sweet spots (Lagrange points named after famed French mathematician Joseph Louis Lagrange) along the planet’s trajectory where the third entity can streak around firmly. These positions lie sixty degrees ahead of and sixty degrees behind the main object. For suitable comparison in our Solar System a group of asteroids nicknamed Trojans perplexingly leads and trails mighty planet Jupiter in similar manner.

The full moon or popularly known as worm full moon marking joyously colourful holi celebrations would enthrall us all on 19 March, while new moon occurred on 04 March. Vernal Equinox can be experienced on 21 March.On this day the duration of day and night is per se equal worldwide.

Source: The Rising Nepal, March 9, 2011

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

9th National School on Space Science, Kathmandu,Nepal,March 28-April 3, 2010

B.P. Koirala Memorial Planetarium, Observatory and Science Museum Development Board organizing seven day workshop on space science specially focusing on astronomy and astrophysics during March 28-April 3, 2011 in Kathmandu.

The registration deadline is Thursday, March 10, 2011! ( for more info and online form visit

The topics to be discussed in the school are as follows.

1. 1. Observation
(a) Sky map & telescope use.
(b) Observational techniques - optical, infrared, radio, x-ray, gamma-ray.

2. Our Neighbourhood
(a) Solar system
(b) Extra solar planet

3. Stellar Evolution: HR Diagramme, main sequence star, Nuclear Fusion & Fission, Plasma State of Matter - Red Giant, White Dwarf, Brown Dwarf, Neutron Star, Supernova Explosion, Black Hole.

4. Elementary / Astro-Particles: Interaction, classification, symmetry, symmetry breaking, astro-particles.

5. Galaxy: Classification, structure, properties.

6. Large Scale Structure: Galaxies, Clusters, Hubble Expansion, Red Shift, Microwave Background, Rotation Curve, Dark Matter.

7. Early universe & its evolution: Inflation, Nucleosynthesis, radiation-matter decoupling.

8. Astrophysical plasma: Fourth state of matter, occurrence of plasma in solar system and astrophysical objects.

9. Observation: Observation of night sky from Kathmandu and Nagarkot.

1. Stellar structure.
2. Field theory and particle physics.
3. Perturbation of FRW spacetime
4. Structure formation
5. Galaxies

Experts of the subject will conduct three lectures each day backed by exercises. There will also be time for discussion on the lectures and further clarifications. Arrangements will be made to have a view of the night sky to identify some of the astronomical objects.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

16th SET Exhibition 2011: A busy day for astronomical outreach in Kathmandu!

Today, I remained extremely busy showing THE SUN to the participants of SET exhibition at my college.Though the programme started officially at 09:30 Hrs, I have already started to show look into the Sun and the spot that has been formed for last couple of days.

We had put our project " Promoting Space Science Education and Astronomy in Nepal" for which our team had worked for several week. Though we plan for CCD imaging and live streaming of the Sun in the screen, we could not do that because of heavy crowd since morning. Our team had been composed of M.Sc. physics ( second year) and B.Sc. Physics (third year) to show the possibilities of intra class collaboration for such project in coming days and for greater interaction among the Physics students in the college.

Today we had three parallel session, one explanation of the posters and formation or galaxies and role of citizen to discover his/her position in this vast universe! G.D. Pudasaini ( B.Sc.) and Shekhar Phuyal( M.Sc.) were busy explaining about the universe and Sunspot and it's consequences to Earth, another was Message to the alien. Mr. Utsab Kandel was busy filming people behind our Message banner with their massage to alien if they exist! I was busy with the telescope with the long queue behind me and our project leader Mr. Rijendra Thapa was busy co-ordinating all the queue to our main stall where G.D. are Shekhar were busy explaining universe, to the telescope and to the shooting spot!

We even didn't have time to eat and were busy till 16:00 Hrs. Though we packed up for all others stuffs, I remained busy showing Sunspot till 16:15 Hrs for the remaining queue!!

With our project, more than 1500 people look at he Sun and its Sun spot for the first time and more than 100 people recored their message to Alien!!

Thank you all who visited our project stall today and special thank goes to Riwaj Pokhrel, for his help to control the crowd when I felt tired!

Hurrey, we made anothet successful outreach in Nepal:-)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Grand Design is now available in the Nepalese Market!

It's a good news to all the readers of Nepal that The book " GRAND DESIGN", written by physicists Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow ,is available in the major book shops in Nepal. I found the mark price for the book as 960 NRs where you will get 10 % discount on almost on every store :-)

The book examines the history of scientific knowledge about the universe. It starts with the Ionian Greeks, who claimed that nature works by laws, and not by the will of the gods. It later presents the work of Nicolaus Copernicus, who advocated the concept that the Earth is not located in the center of the universe. The authors then describe the theory of quantum mechanics using, as an example, the probable movement of an electron around a room. The presentation has been described as easy to understand by some reviewers, but also as sometimes "impenetrable," by others. The central claim of the book is that the theory of quantum mechanics and the theory of relativity together help us understand how universes could have formed out of nothing.

Monday, February 7, 2011


Students of faculty of science of Tribhuvan University(TU), Kirtipur is organizing Second National Science Exhibition,February 7-11, 2011 at Central Department of Physics, TU, Kirtipur.There will be different projects on science and technology prepared by the students. The visitors will certainly have a greater view towards the development of S&T in Nepal once they visit the Exhibition. Different events are organized everyday from 9 am to 6 pm during the exhibition.

This exhibition is supported by Nepal Physical Society (NPS), NAST, Kathmandu University, Ministry of S&T and Media partners.

So, don't miss this great opportunity to know what our future scientists are doing in the country!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Night Sky: January 2011

-By Rishi Shah

As it darkens the night skies of this month becomes alive with planets, stars and many awesome wonders of our universe. Zodiacal constellations of Aquarius (water bearer), Pisces (fishes), Aires (ram), Taurus (bull), Gemini(twins) and Cancer (crab) are seen unfurling from western to eastern horizon. The Great Square of Peagasus (winged horse) is soaring towards western sky. Constellations Andromeda (chained princess),Perseus(mythological hero) and tiny Triangulum (triangle) are estending towards east from peagasus. Dim constellations Lynx (animal) and Camelopardalis(girafe) are entering the northeastern sky.Lengthy Eridanus(river)and broad Cetus (whale) with imposing variable star Mira(the wonderful) are spreading in southern sky. Mira is moderately 420 light-years away. The charismatic constellation Orion(hunter) with its marvelous stars as Betelgeuse(Ardra) and Rigel is ascending the eastern sky.Obsured heavily behind the intervening curtains of stars and interstellar gas and dust cloud in the plane of our galaxy. fulgent spiral galaxy IC342 can be admired with difficulty in the long-necked Camelopardalis. The murky debris, blue star clusters and shimmering rosy star bearing areas along spiral arms that are winding from the galaxy’s core manifest its hidden enigmatic nature and suggest the vehement star formation activity. It could have aggressively impacted the development of the so-called local group of galaxies and our Milky Way. Tantalizing IC342 was identified in 1895 by British astronomer William Fredrick Denning in 1895 and forms a splendid group with large and dwarf galaxies . It is fairly ten million light-years away.

The exclusive inner planets Mercury and Venus display their gleaming presence in eastern sky after sundwon. They are cavorting gleefully across the vast stellar realms of Libra (scales), Scorpius (scorpion) and Ophiuchus (serpent bearer). Alluring giant star Antares (Jestha) shines capitvatingly in their vicinity. The mighty planet Jupiter can be noticed un mistakably after sunset high above in western sky. It is glaring among the stars of Pisces. Far-flung greenish planet Uranus could be spotted above Jupiter. Ringed planet Saturn is glistening in Virgo (maiden). It can be located near minute star Theta Virginish. The enchanting apparitions of its mysterious moons like Titan, Tethys, Dione and Rhea could be enjoyed through telescopes. Bluish planet Neptune could be glimsed west of dull Aquarious-star lota Aquarii that hovers in western sky after nightfall. Ruddy planet Mars is fleeting towards Capricornus (sea goat). Discerning it in Sun’s proximity is not easy. Distant diminutive dwarf planet Pluto is relaxing in Sagittarious (archer).

Circumpolar constellations Draco (dragon), Cepheus (king), Cassiopeia (queen) and Ursa Major (great bear) are circling Polaris (Pole Star or Dhruba Tara)that resides in Ursa Minor (little bear). The glittering veil of our galaxy the Milky Way runs mainly thorugh Cygnus (swan), Lacerta (lizard), Cassiopeia, Perseus, Auriga (charioteer) and Monoceros (unicorn). The blossoming exquisite clouds of interstellar dirt and gas that mimic delicate heavenly petals dubbed lris Nebula (NGC7023) flourishes in the fertile star field of Cepheus. When examined in infrared light existence of complex carbon molecules that are known as PAHs, was perceived. Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH) that is assumed to be abundant in the primordial soup of the early earth, played major role in the origin of life.

Cigar Galaxy (M82 or GC3034) is extraordinary prototype of irregular starburst galaxy that is modestly twelve million light-years away in Ursa Major. It is puzzlingly five times or one hundred times as luminous as our galaxy or its center. Over two hundred young massive energetic clusters inhabit its core. Young stars are being created (utterly ten times) faster than inside our whole Milky Way.

Bewitchingly resplendent ring-resembling planetary nebula nicknamed Necklace Nebula with pearls of flaming gas clouds (constaining chiefly ionized hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen) adorns petite Sagita (arrow) that flies below Cygnus.

Quandrantid meteor shower could exhibit the fascinating flashes of its shooting stars that peak in northeastern sky on 04 January before dawn as they emanate from the northern region of Bootes (herdsman).

Meteor shower obtain their nomenclatures from the constellation from which they apparently emerge. When the International Astronomical Union (IAU) adopted the modern catalogue of eighty eight officially -recognized constellations, obsolete constellation.Quadrans Muralis(mural quadrant that is presently part of Bootes), which gave the shower its name was removed from the list in 1922, Asteroid 37-fides dashes through enthralling star cluster the Pleiades(Seven Sister) that dwells in Taurus, Comet 103 P/Hartely swings across the huge expanse occupied by Canis Major(great dog),as it tumbles dauntingly towards Monoceros. Star Sirius(Lubdhak) sparkles stunningly to its west.

Earth will be closest to the Sun on 03 January. It is simply 147 million kilometres from it. We are farthest (purely 152 million kilometres) away from Sun in summer. Even though earth is closer to Sun in January than in July, the tilt (circa 23.6 degrees) of our planet’s axis primly determines our four seasons. In winter, earth is tilted away fro the Sun, but in summer, it is inclined towards it. Furthermore, the elliptical shape of earth’s orbit strangely influences the variation in the length of the seasons, as earth rushes wih altering velocity from December solstice (shortest day longest night) to March (vernal) equinox (equal day and night) and eventually from June solstice (longest day but shortest night) to September (autumnal) equinox. New moon is on 04 January, while full moon (popularly known as full wolf moon) falls on 19 January. Partial solar eclipse would be witnessed from some places in Europe, Africa and Central Asia.

Source: The Rising Nepal, January 1, 2011

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Quadrantid Meteor Shower 2011-Nepal

Quadrantid Meteor Shower observation has been conducted during 03:00-06:00 Hrs on Tuesday, January 4, 2011. The rate was quite low as predicted because of light pollution and the faintness of the most of the meteors!The first hour of the observation was in vain as fogs came in to play which continue next hour as well.Most of the meteors recorded only during 05:00-06:00 Hrs in the morning.20 bright meteors have been recorded during last hour of observation. The limiting magnitude for the sky was around 3.85 during the time of observation.

As the light pollution has been increasing day by day, NASO has started a special project CALP-Nepal ( campaign Against Light Pollution Nepal) since 2009.

We will come back with more observation during Perseid Meteor Shower in August if weather won't play with us! in Last three years, there had been heavy rain during the peak time of the shower!!!

Clear skies!