Mars and Perseverance

Hello, fellow bloggers and readers. Back at writing this week. And, as all of us might be aware, the Perseverance rover has finally made it to the Jezero Crater on Mars on 18th Feb 2021. While the mission has just started, the rover has already started rolling out several images and videos straight from the Martian surface. The phenomenal rover landing video is breaking the internet all over the world and the first of many high-definition images from Mars.

Perseverance Landing Skycrane.jpg
Photograph of the rover Perseverance from its sky crane during landing (Wikipedia)

I am very happy and excited about this mission because of how much it’s directly linked with common folks like us. Perseverance rover is carrying names of more than 10million people with itself, while the name Perseverance was also chosen after a competition held around the world where the students were asked to submit names for the rover. NASA made sure that people around the world can see themselves connected with the mission which is operating two ways from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory to the Jezero Crater where the rover has landed. Not only the scientific community but also the common people around the world feel connected to the mission directly due to such efforts, which is commendable.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/da/Perseverance%27s_first_photo.jpg
First image taken by the rover after its successful landing (Wikipedia)
First color image from Perseverance rover after landing (Wikipedia)
Mars – Perseverance rover – Landing Site Panoramic View (18 February 2021) (Wikipedia)

The mission took off on 30th July 2020 and landed on Jezero Crater on Mars on 18th Feb 2021. But the actual mission has just started. Perseverance will collect several Martian rock and soil samples which will be taken back to Earth on a future mission. It will be the first time such a thing will happen where a mission will send samples back to Earth. Scientists and researchers will work on all the data and samples from Mars which will be collected by Perseverance to study the astrobiology of the planet Mars and the potential for life on the planet itself.

Ingenuity, a small helicopter that was sent with the Perseverance rover will also be deployed after 60 days from landing to test the first powered flight on another planet. The test will help NASA scientists to work on similar technology for future missions.

And while I am at it, let me also applause the work of Indian American scientist Swati Mohan, who is the lead scientist for this Mars mission. She announced the successful touchdown of the Perseverance on the Martian surface. A proud moment for all of us indeed.

Also, let me tell you that I have recently uploaded my new Podcast episode on the same topic as here, so you can check it out if interested just in case.

I hope the Perseverance mission will help scientists and researchers all around the world in new research and findings. I sincerely appreciate and applaud their work. πŸ™

Thanku for reading, do tell me your views and opinions on the Perseverance mission in the comments. Stay safe and take care guys. πŸ™

Change of views! Maybe?

Hello fellow bloggers and readers. Previously too in a post, I had stressed how the money which is being spent on space exploration and life in space can be utilized for the betterment of the Earth itself. Like how we can utilize the resources we are spending to find life outside of the Earth can be used to tackle the various environmental issues on this planet itself.

However, now almost a year later after I published that post itself, my thoughts have changed and I think there are certain reasons why research relating to finding other planets for life is necessary.

  1. Earth has limited resources and the population increase at an all-time high. We need to find more and more resources to keep fulfilling the demand of this increased population load. We might face problems in the future where certain resources available on Earth might go away and we need to turn towards space for them.
  2. Mass extinction is possible. Covid-19 pandemic, everyone knows about it. The pandemic spread throughout the world, causing an immense amount of economic loss. Moreover, we have lost millions in just a year to this pandemic. If in the future, a pandemic spreads, which cannot be stopped and controlled, leaving to other planets with people who are in good health may be the only option. This will ensure that humanity survives deadly diseases.

To be honest, I am still very much in the favor of using the resources we have for the betterment of this planet. Controlling climate change and using sustainable development are among them. Research and development should always go on as I have said previously. Space research will serve a better purpose for humanity for its long term plans. For now, research in space and working towards the betterment of Earth should go hand in hand. Let’s work together towards ensuring this, why look to something else when we are being gifted with such a beautiful planet.

I hope you enjoyed reading this. You can always post your thoughts and views in the comment box down below. Also, you can tell me if you agree or disagree with the points I mentioned above.
Stay safe. Take care all. ^_^

New year, New things!

Hello fellow bloggers and readers. Pleased to get back again to some writing here. πŸ™

As soon as new year started rolling, I started trying a few new and interesting things. First of them, being active with my friend on our YouTube channel. Channel name is ‘BeatsSaz’, where we upload music and beats. But what is interesting here is I now have my own new podcast, named ‘Exploring The Skies’ which is hosted by me and is available on all major podcast services.

Yeah, things are a bit messy right now, haven’t completely settled on what I will be talking in the podcast, started off with discussion related to basic stargazing and amatuer astronomy and also binoculars. I have been thinking to improve the overall quality and content as I move ahead with it. Like improvement in the script, in the language, the accent and many more. But the most important of them is the content, where I will spend most of my time on. Best content will make sure the podcast serves it’s purpose right and more people will listen to it.

I will pin all the links down below, so you can check them out according to your liking. πŸ™

One thing to note is that I have improved my vocabulary a lot due to this podcast, and I am seeing a lot of other positives as well. I am looking forward to bringing more content and collaborations with this podcast and I hope people will join me in this.

If you have any suggestions, questions or just plain thoughts, do tell me in the comments. I will love to reply to you and have conversation about this very new experiment I am doing.

Have a great day ahead, thanku for reading. πŸ™

Podcast name – ‘Exploring The Skies’

Spotify | Google Podcasts | Pocketcasts | Breaker | RadioPublic | YouTube

The GREAT CONJUNCTION!

What was it?

Jupiter and Saturn get close to one another from our perspective on Earth about once every 20 years because of their orbits. This year, however, the two planets came closer to each other than they have in centuries, known as a “Great Conjunction.”

When it happened?

Monday, 21 December, 2020, the very same day Winter Solstice happens in the Northern Hemisphere.

Quoting fromΒ space.com

Today, Saturn and Jupiter will appear just one-tenth of a degree apart, or about the thickness of a dime held at arm’s length, according to a statement a Dec. 2 skywatching NASA statement. Under high magnification, however, Jupiter and Saturn may appear as separate objects. Observers with binoculars or telescopes may see the planets and some of their moons in the same field of vision.

What was it like?

For anyone who witnessed this once in a lifetime moment, you are extremely lucky. The gas giants came this close after 400 years and were visible in the night sky after 800 years. Southwest in the night sky, an unusually bright object was visible, brighter than any normal star visible at night. They were Jupiter and Saturn respectively. They were so close that from the naked eyes, they were visible like one single bright object.

How close to be specific?

Jupiter and Saturn were close, but actually, they were 456 million miles (734 million km) apart from each other.

Did I witness this?

Ofc, I did. There is nothing more special for us sky gazers than watching unusual and great sights in the night sky.

The Great Conjunction.

This is the shot I took while looking at the conjunction. If you look closely, zooming into this, you can see two faint objects at the top right. Yes, they are the planets.Β 

We were all extremely lucky to witness this great moment, it was visible almost everywhere on Earth, but many YouTube channels were broadcasting this moment live for people who might be busy or weren’t able to go out to witness this or maybe could not see because of obstruction in the sky.

Personally, for me, this was a great moment, and I will forever be grateful for what I witnessed. This moment was rare, extremely rare, once in a lifetime. You can share your thoughts and memories about this moment. ^_^

Long time no see!

Hello dear lovely people, friends and visitors. I haven’t been active lately, and I apologize for this. To be honest, I got consumed by laziness while we were all locked up in quarantine this year due to Covid-19. I started spending most of my time on social media, watching dramas and nothing much. I had all the time, but I never had it enough for being active here. That’s a shame and I accept it. I kept WordPress installed on my phone all this while, but never once thought about why I am not using it or posting any updates, which makes me look even more terrible at this point.

Honestly, I made time to be back here because somehow, my phone showed me notifications popping up from WordPress. I started wondering why still it’s showing me notifs, I haven’t posted for a while now and my blog should stand pretty much dead at this point. But no, somehow you people still kept following me, liking my posts and reading through them, all this while I had no idea that I even have a blog and should at least post something up.

I apologize to all my friends and readers who meanwhile had been here, commenting and liking my posts. I am sorry for not being able to be quick enough to reply to you all, get back at you with more content like I used to be.

This year has been tough for most of us somehow, but I hope you all are doing well and are all fine during these hard and tough times. Covid-19 happened, and a lot more, but one thing has been consistent, no matter what happened, if it’s weird and bad enough, 2020 was to be blamed. I understand, this year hasn’t been boring, but full of activities happening all around the world. All sorts of things happened, but let’s be happy that we made it this far, safe and sound. This hasn’t been the case for many millions of people and families around the world, my good wishes go out to each and everyone who has been suffering in one way or another. Let’s cheer up, a new year is waiting for us, new opportunities and lots of happiness waits for us there.

I will try to be active, if not super active here, to reply and to get back to you with more fun, and interesting reads. I happen to have posted a short update about myself, you can read it if you want to. You can comment, and reach to me about what all has happened with you this year, if you have something to talk about, or just well wishes to each other. I hope the new year brings all the happiness and joy to all our lives and we get whatever we want and should.

I hope we all stay safe, stay happy and keep doing what we want to, and what gives us happiness and joy. Let’s keep our spirits high and stay strong while we are at it.

Take In The Universe At 7 Of The Best Places To Stargaze In NSW | Urban  List Sydney
Image Credits: The Urban List

Look at the night sky, yes, that’s how many stars are up there waiting to be seen by all of us to be reminded that this world is a huge place, no short of opportunities, and good people are everywhere. Stay safe, stay happy everyone. ^_^

Early Ideas!

Compared with everything else around us, Earth seems incredibly large. Ancient people believed it was the biggest and the most important place in the Universe, and that everything revolved around it. These ideas only began to change slowly after the introduction of the telescope in the early 1600s.

Earth-Centered Universe
Ancient people watched the Sun, Moon, and the stars very carefully. They saw that all of them traveled from east to west across the sky. Clearly, they were all going around a stationary Earth. For several thousand years, almost everyone believed that Earth was at the center of the Universe. The main problem with this idea was that it did not explain the movements of some of the planets – sometimes Mars or Jupiter appeared to stand still or even move backward.

Flat Earth or Round Earth?
Stand on the seashore and look at the horizon. It seems to be flat. For a long time, people thought that Earth was flat and that, if you went too far, you would fall off the edge. However, it was gradually realized that Earth was round, like a giant ball. Nature provided several clues:

  • The shadow that Earth casts on the Moon during a lunar eclipse is curved, not straight.
  • A sailor traveling due north or south sees stars appear and disappear over the horizon. On a flat Earth, he would always see the same stars.
  • A ship sailing over the horizon should simply get smaller and smaller if Earth is flat. In fact, the hull disappears first, and the top of the sails last.

ORBITS
The ancient Greeks taught that the circle was the perfect shape. So it seemed logical to believe that all of the planets traveled in circles. Unfortunately, measurements showed that this did not fit their movements across the sky. One way around this was to add small circles to the larger circles, but even this did not work. The mystery was solved in 1609 when a German mathematician Johannes Kepler, realized that the planets move along the elliptical (oval) orbits.

Johannes Kepler - Wikipedia
Johannes Kepler, Image Credit: Wikipedia.

File:Classical Kepler orbit 120frames e0.6.gif - Wikimedia Commons
^ ELLIPSES We know today that most planets orbit the Sun in a path that is not quite circular. Pluto’s orbit is a very stretched circle known as an ellipse. Image Credit: Wikipedia.

WHAT A STAR!
Polish astronomer, Nicolaus Copernicus (1473 – 1543) was the first person of more modern times to realize that the Sun, not the Earth, is at the center of the solar system. His ideas were extremely unpopular.

Happy 543rd Birthday, Nicolaus Copernicus | Smart News ...
Nicolaus Copernicus. Image Credit: Smithsonian Magazine

Astounding Astronomer!
One of the greatest early Greek astronomers was Hipparchus of Nicaea (190 – 120 BCE). He discovered many things, including that Earth, rotated on a tilted axis, which caused the seasons. He worked out the distance from Earth to the Moon by comparing views of a partial and total solar eclipse. He found that the Moon had an elliptical orbit and that its speed varied. He also cataloged all the stars in order of brightness and plotted their positions in the sky on the first-star chart.

Hipparchus In The Observatory Of Alexandria Stock Illustration ...
Hipparchus of Nicaea, Image Credit: iStockphoto

HE SAW IT COMING
Hipparchus was the first person to develop a way of predicting solar and lunar eclipses.

THE CALENDAR
Although ancient civilizations did not have telescopes, they did have instruments to measure angles and could measure the positions of the Sun and the stars. They used the movements of the Sun as their calendar and built monuments and temples that reflected the calendar. The Toltecs of Central America built the Pyramid of Kukulcan with 365 steps, one for each day of the year.

El Castillo, Chichen Itza - Wikipedia
This temple is built in honor of Kukulcan the serpent God. When the Sun is in the right place, it creates a shadow in the shape of a serpent. Image Credit: Wikipedia.


Credits: DK Space Encyclopedia.
I hope you enjoyed reading this post. Do let me know your thoughts in the comment section below. Stay safe, and wash your hands whenever possible. Thanku. ^_^

Infrared Astronomy.

We are all familiar with the colors of the rainbow – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. These colors are part of what is known as the visible spectrum. Beyond the red end of the spectrum is infrared light, which we call heat. Although we cannot see infrared light, we can detect it using special telescopes, which reveal things usually hidden by clouds of dust.

Spitzer Space Telescope
Infrared light from space is almost completely absorbed by Earth’s atmosphere, so infrared telescopes are placed on high mountains, on aircraft, or on satellites. NASA’s Spitzer space telescope is one of the most powerful infrared observatories. Spitzer took 18 hours and over 11,000 exposures to compose this image of the Andromeda Galaxy, shown below.

Hyperwall: Andromeda Galaxy in Visible and Infrared
Image Credit: NASA

THIS IS HOW we usually see the Andromeda Galaxy, in visible light. The main infrared image (above) has revealed its spiral arms in greater detail. Their structure is very uneven, which suggests that Andromeda may have been affected by collisions with its two satellite galaxies in the past.

Andromeda Galaxy - Wikipedia
Image Credit: Wikipedia

WHAT A STAR!
Frederick William Herschel (1738-1822) was a German astronomer and musician. Using a prism to split sunlight and a thermometer to detect heat, Herschel proved that there are invisible forms of light that occur beyond the visible color spectrum. This heat was later called “infrared light” – meaning “below red”.

William Herschel Biography | Space
Frederick William Herschel, space.com

A GALAXY FAR, FAR AWAY…
Messier 81 is a spiral galaxy located in the northern constellation of Ursa Major (the Great Bear). Messier 81, or “Bode’s Galaxy” as it is also known, is about 12 million light-years from Earth. M81 is easily visible through binoculars or small telescopes. In infrared light the spiral arms are very noticeable because they contain the dust that has been heated by hot, massive, newly born stars.

THE EYE IN THE SKY
Resembling a giant eye in space, this infrared view of the Helix Nebula reveals a bright cloud of dust surrounding a dying star.

This is a photo of the Helix Galaxy, also named NGC 7293. It is ...
Image Credit: Pinterest

Credits: DK Space Encyclopedia.
I hope you enjoyed reading this post. Stay safe, and wash your hands whenever possible. Thanku. ^_^