Archive for October, 2013


Sombrero Galaxy

A galaxy is an enormous collection of a few million to trillions of stars, gas, and dust held together by gravity. They can be several thousand to hundreds of thousands of light-years across. Galaxies with less than a billion stars are considered “small galaxies.” In our own galaxy, the sun is just one of about 100 billion stars. Galaxy Origins Most astronomers suggest that galaxies formed shortly after a cosmic “big bang” that began the universe some 10 billion to 20 billion years ago. In the milliseconds following this explosion, clouds of gases began to coalesce, collapse, and compress under gravity to form the building blocks of galaxies. Scientists are divided on just how galaxies first formed. Some believe that smaller clusters of about one million stars, known as globular clusters, formed first and later gathered into galaxies. Others believe that galaxies formed first and that only later did the stars within them begin to gather into smaller clusters..

Andromeda galaxy

Galaxies are classified into three main types: spiral galaxies, elliptical galaxies, and irregular galaxies. Spiral galaxies, such as the Milky Way, consist of a flat disk with a bulging center and surrounding spiral arms. The galaxy’s disk includes stars, planets, dust, and gas—all of which rotate around the galactic center in a regular manner. This spinning motion, at speeds of hundreds of kilometers per second, may cause matter in the disk to take on a distinctive spiral shape like a cosmic pinwheel. Some spiral galaxies obtain even more interesting shapes that earn them descriptive names, such as sombrero galaxies…
 Ring galaxy

Older stars reside in the bulge at the center of the galactic disk. Many new stars also form in spiral systems, and their disks are surrounded by a halo, which scientists believe is rich with mysterious dark matter. Elliptical galaxies are shaped as their name suggests. They are generally round but stretch longer along one axis than along the other. Elliptical galaxies contain many older stars, up to one trillion, but little dust and other interstellar matter. Their stars orbit the galactic center, like those in the disks of spiral galaxies, but they do so in more random directions. ….

Tadpole Galaxy

The universe’s largest known galaxies are giant elliptical galaxies, which may be as much as two million light-years long. Elliptical galaxies may also be small, in which case they are dubbed dwarf elliptical galaxies. NGC 5866, an example of a lenticular galaxy Peculiar galaxies are galactic formations that develop unusual properties due to tidal interactions with other galaxies. An example of this is the ring galaxy, which possesses a ring-like structure of stars and interstellar medium surrounding a bare core. A ring galaxy is thought to occur when a smaller galaxy passes through the core of a spiral galaxySuch an event may have affected theAndromeda Galaxy, as it displays a multi-ring-like structure when viewed in infrared radiation. A lenticular galaxy is an intermediate form that has properties of both elliptical and spiral galaxies. These are categorized as Hubble type S0, and they possess ill-defined spiral arms with an elliptical halo of stars.Barred lenticular galaxies receive Hubble classification SB0.) I Galaxies that are not spiral or elliptical are called irregular galaxies. Irregular galaxies appear misshapen and lack a distinct form, often because they are within the gravitational influence of other galaxies close by…. Today we classify galaxies mainly into two major groups following Hubble’s examples. Elliptical galaxies range from round shapes (E0) to oval shapes (E7). Spiral galaxies have a pinwheel shape and are classified according to their bulge, as well as how tightly their arms are wrapped around the bulge. They range from Sa, which has a large bulge and tight, smooth arms, to Sc, which has a small bulge and loose, lumpy arms. Barred spiral galaxies classified as SB are pinwheel-shaped and have a distinct “bar” of stars, dust and gas across their bulge.

Antennae galaxy

They range from an SBa, which has a bar across its large bulge and tight, smooth arms, to an SBc, which has a bar across its small bulge and loose, lumpy arms. Irregular galaxies have no definite shape but still contain new stars, gas, and dust. The closest spiral galaxy is Andromeda, a galaxy much like our own Milky Way. It is 2.2 million light years away from us. Andromeda is approaching our galaxy at a rate of 670,000 miles per hour. Five billion years from now it may even collide with our Milky Way galaxy. I



Hubbles classification of galaxies.


Pinwheel galaxy

Its a Spiral galaxy.


Lenticular galaxy.

Its also known as NGC 5866



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Our Universe

WHO SPEAKS FOR EARTH? As I flip the pages of my diary I come across the quotation of Saint Gnyaneshwar “Hey Vishwachi mazhe ghar.” “The universe is my abode.” Another quote of a famous scientist an American astronomer ,an astrophysicist,an astrochemist.. Carl Edward Sagan… “ Something in us recognizes the Cosmos as home. We are made of stellar ash. Our origin and evolution have been tied to distant cosmic events. The exploration of cosmos is a voyage of self-discovery.” The saints quest of the universe is within the body while the the quest of the scientist is outside . The paths to achieve the goal are different. The above quotation of Carl Sagan is from his book Cosmos, which attracted my attention. I hurriedly devoured the chapter, “who speaks for earth?” Lets see what they(these modern Rishis) have to say about Universe and our planet earth.

The Pale Blue Dot is a photograph of planet Earth taken in 1990 by the Voyager 1 spacecraft from a record distance of about 6 billion kilometers (3.7 billion miles) from Earth,

The earth when viewed from space looks a fragile blue crescent fading to become an inconspicuous point of light against the bastion and citadel of the stars. There are worlds on which life has never risen. There are worlds that have been charred and ruined by cosmic catastrophes. We are fortunate, our Earth seems to be the only abode for life! Suppose, in this universe of billions and billions of stars the solar system may have planets like earth & with proper chemistry – life may be possible there but how lonely and incomprehensible. The galaxies of stars encompasses and swallows them up like an atom so vastly greater is it in comparison. And yet this frail and fragile atom of life as Pascal said, “the entire universe need not arm itself to crush is able to comprehend the blind and uncomprehending hostility of the universe that around that knows not what it is doing. This awesome hostility of the universe may frighten it but even a frightened being conscious of its own peril is greater than the entire caravan of bright blind galaxies of stars that unaware of its own majesty and magnificence hurry along the intergalactic wastes without knowing why they hurry whence and whither they hurry and cannot even ask for….”

VOYAGER1 Spacecraft

Another and another cup to drown The Memory of this Impertinence! With the recent Technological development we are able to view these caravan of bright blind galaxies. The Hubble Telescope(NASA) is sending photographs and information which we cannot imagine . SETI (Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence) formulated by Carl Sagan have contributed to a large share in recent Discovery. Due to the global nuclear Arms race our earth is in real danger. Our human race has become an endangered species. With the accumulation of arms, the more and high sophisticated armaments the powerful is the Nation is the concept of the leaders. . We know who speaks for the nations. Bur who speaks for the human species . Who speaks for the Earth? Another British scientist James Lovelock is concerned about the threat of global warming from the greenhouse effect. The damage has already been done no amount of tree plantation or curbing the greenhouse gases will save our earth. The only solution is the use of Nuclear Power. He pronounced, that only nuclear power can now halt global warming! To save the Earth, global awareness is required. Each one of us have to contribute in whatever small manner we can for eg, saving energy ,saving petrol,saving money, tree plantation rearing animals living simple life. No extravaganza or wastage. No leadership is required for this .Each individual is a leader of this movement. The welfare of our civilization and our species is in our own hands. If we do not speak for earth who will? If we are not committed for our survival who will be?

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Sir Jagdish Chandra Bose 1859-1937

TOUCH ME NOT……(Mimosa Pudica) Yes, it is the name of the plant, it is also called chueemuee is a sensitive plant. The moment you touch it its leaves they almost instantaneously fold together and the leaf stalk droops. This sometimes sets off a chain of reactions, with several leaf stalks falling on top of one another. This touch-induced movement of leaves is known scientifically as thigmonasty, and is thought to be a defensive mechanism against grazers. At night, the leaves will also fold and bend in movements known as nyctonastic movements (reaction to absence of light). Sir Jagdish Chandra Bose, generally known as J C Bose was an Indian scientist who discovered and proved in the world that plants also have life. They consume food and sleep during nights, and wake up early in the mornings. Pain and pleasures are there for plants too. They also have birth, growth and death, as human beings. These are the discoveries of J. C. Bose.

Mimosa Pudica

I remember, during my college i had demonstrated one of the experiments of Dr. J. C Bose. How the plants(Mimosa Pudica) responded to touch. He demonstrated that plants are also sensitive to heat, cold, light, noise and various other external stimuli. Bose contrived a very sophisticated instrument called Crescograph which could record and observe the minute responses because of external stimulants. It was capable of magnifying the motion of plant tissues to about 10,000 times of their actual size, which found many similarities between plants and other living organisms.

Arabidopsis plants

Jagdish Chandra Bose was an Indian Physicist who pioneerd the investigation of radio and microwave optics. He took interest in Botany and Zoology too. J C Bose wrote on 1) The Nervous mechanism of plants.2) Response in the living and the non living. These books were world world famous. Plants, scientists say, transmit information about light intensity and quality from leaf to leaf in a very similar way to our own nervous systems. These “electro-chemical signals” are carried by cells that act as “nerves” of the plant .

Florescence Imaginging

Plants can ‘think’ and ‘remember’ Plants are able to “remember” and “react” to information contained in light, according to researchers. The researchers used fluorescence imaging to watch the plants respond In their experiment, the scientists showed that light shone on to one leaf caused the whole plant to respond. The plant] has a specific memory for the light which builds its immunity against pathogens, and it can adjust to varying light conditions.

chemical reactions in leaves not exposed to light

“So the plants perform a sort of biological light computation, using information contained in the light to immunise themselves against diseases that are prevalent during that season.” 


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THE UNUSUAL PRASAD There is something in the air. Its the pious month Bhadrapad. Lord Ganeshas arrival, the arrival of Devi Gauri. A religious fervor is seen in the houses and lanes. Big and small Ganapati have been installed in the groups or in individual houses. All these days so much of decorations. Regular aartis religious programmes and cultural programmes are organised. Songs bhajans dance so much fanfare…and finally the distribution of Prasad amongst the people.

Prasad is the offerings of food and fruits made to the deity or saint first, Which is then distributed as his blessings among the public. Ramnavami prasad: Once, on the occassion of Ramnavmi(Ramnavratri) day, I invited my workers and contracters who were busy renovating my house for Prasad. They were successful in completing their work. They had worked incessently days and months. I had seen the Plumber’s flexed muscles while digging, saw the hard work of tiles plastering the carpenters and painters toiling. The guidence of the contractors etc. Our house is made by so many hands I pondered…


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I got up for my early morning walk. It was still dark. A jewel shone brightly amongst the star studded sky. I knew it was Venus (Shukra Tara). It is also referred as morning and evening star. Venus has been known from prehistoric times. Venus is named after the Roman goddess of Love and Beauty. It was considered as the most beautiful and most bright shining(except for the Sun and the Moon) among the other planets then discovered.

Planet Venus is closest to Earth. It is also known as the sister planet of our Earth, due to similarities in their mass volume and densities. The astronomers were of the opinion that Life might exist on Venus too!.

Probes are being launched on Venus. Detailed study revealed that Venus nowhere resembles our Earth. It is the least hospitable place for life in the Solar System.

Venus is covered by dense thick clouds not water vapors but sulphuric acid. Due to the thick dense clouds the astronomers could not access the study of the surface ofVenus. But with the help of Radar Telescope and Imaging System orbiting the planet Venus it was possible to see through the clouds the surface of Venus. The temperature of the surface is very very hot 482 degrees Celcius (900degrees F) hot enough to melt Lead. Its atmosphere consist mostly of Carbon dioxide. Its atmospheric pressure is 90 times that of Earth. It is hotter than Planet Murcury which is closer to Sun. This high temperature is caused by the runaway greenhouse effect. It so happens that the sunlight passing through the atmosphere heats the surface . The radiated heat from the surface eventually gets trapped by the dense sulphuric acid clouds surrounding the planet. This heat cannot escape into the space. The infrared radiation moves up causing increase in the temperature.

To measure this infrared radiation , the astronomers launched a probe Pioneer Venus. It needed a sturdy window that was transparent to infrared radiation. A Diamond 13.5karat was imported and milled in the window of the probe… It is said that the trader who supplied the Diamond had to pay tax of $12,000 as import duty. The Pioneer Venus mission was successful . But the Diamond damaged and was of no use on Earth so the trader was given the compensation.( refer..Cosmos). Imagine the heat on Venus. It is really hellish. Its rotation is retrogate, from east to west.  From Vesus we see the Sun rises in the West and sets in the East.  A Venusian day is 243 Earth days and it is longer than its year of 225 days.

After the discovery of the Telescope it was possible to spot Venus periodically passing across the face of the Sun. The first transition was observed in 1631, 1639. Then 1761, 1769. 1874, 1882. More than a century separating these pairs. On 8th June 2004 astronomers worldwide saw the transit of Venus dot crawling over the Sun. The pair will occur on 6th June 2012.

The latest news about Venus Probe Akatsuki (meaning dawn) by the Japanease astronomers (JAXA)Japanese Exploration Agency failed to enter Venus Orbit. It was sent for detailed study of theVenus’ clouds ,atmosphere and weather. But, they hope to try again. Another orbital insertion burns when the probe returns to Venus in six years. At present it is orbiting the Sun instead of its intended Venusian orbit.The Probe will come close enough to make another attempt in the late 2016 or early 2017. We wish them good luck next time.

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ImageImageImageWhat is global warming? The increase in the average temperature of Earth’s near-surface air and oceans since the mid-20th century and its projected continuation.
Our planet Earth is warming up. Its global temperature has risen. During the 20th century, the average global temperature has risen to0.6 degrees Celsius.

Using computer climate models the scientists have estimated that the year 2100 the average global temperature will be 1.4 degrees to 5.8 degrees Celsius.

The deforestation contributes to global warming considerably. Trees use carbon dioxide and give off oxygen in its place, this helps to create a balance of gases in the atmosphere. Much of the carbondioxide in the air realesed from cars and factories traps heat causing rise in temperature which results in floods and draught conditions.


The glaciers are melting causing floods and tsunami. The whole climate around the planet earth is changing causing earthquakes and volcanic eruptions..

Life on earth depends on energy from the sun. About 30% of the sunlight that beams towards the earth is deflected in the outer space . The rest reaches the planets surface and is reflected upwards as a type of slow moving energy called infrared radiation. As it rises the infrared radiation is absorbed by the “greenhouse gases” such as water vapour carbon dioxide ozone methane and nitrous oxide which slows the escape of heat from the atmosphere.Although green house gases make up only 1% of the total earth atmosphere. they regulate our climate trapping heat and holding it in a kind of warm air blanket that surrounds the planet. This phenomenon the scientists term as ‘ green house effect.’without it there would be no life on earth.


The problem begins when the humans disturb the Nature, by their activities producing more green- house gases which trap more heat than necessary to warm the planet to an ideal temperature.

The gross activities producing greenhouse effect are:
Burning Natural Gas coal and Oil…. It raises the level of carbon in the atmosphere.
Some Farming practices and land use change increases the level of Methane and Nitrous Oxide in the atmosphere.
Factories produce industrial gases which are responsible for global warming.
Population growth.. means more food output, more farming more supplies for each individual produces green house gases and adds to global warming subsequently.

A lot of damage has already done to our planet. But due to awareness to further check this global warming nations are holding talks. The rich countries are mainly responsible for emission of greenhouse gases. It’s essential to save Our Planet 
from Global warming.

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The Safarivillage-women-14602638Image

My young daughter was coming home from London. I was very much excited. We had planned a day out to the Jungle. All these days she had desperately missed her country ,her home town, the climate, seasons and the natural habitat.

“The winters in London were too severe this year”, she remarked. “The excessive snow hindered the day to day life. The weather there gave you a morose feeling. Our country is blessed with sunlight and colorful seasons. The mere darshan of sun god is rare there,” she added

People want to settle in foreign countries like USA Australia and England etc for the sake of money ,cleanliness and beauty.

But something is missing there. Of course the spirits of Indians the warmth of the Indian people the lovely blooming spring the scented summers the rainfall and of all, the winters are quite pleasant. The homely sparrow building its nests the sheep the goats and cows grazing in the open fields ,the village women decked in colorful ghagras carrying rotis for the peasant husbands, all a lively landscape for the naked eye. We were going in the jeep to the Jungle. We were given a guide who looked more of a boy in teens. He literally jumped in our jeep to escort us. I looked nervous, how on earth he is going to guide us in this deep forest. We were not allowed any weapons etc to protect us from the savages of the jungle. (This even made me more nervous!) Face is your index. “Cheer up mom,” remarked my kin who was decked up with smart jeans and cap, holding the binoculars for spotting any avian.

A fleet of parakeets crossed us, birds of same feathers flock together i mumbled, wow!there were the orioles and kingfishers etc. The guide narrated the history like a parrot. Well read uhh. I wish I had studied ornithology seriously, I could have conducted their(birds) knowledge with ease. Anyway the sight made me feel good and healthy cause I had fast recovered from a prolonged illness. The smell of the different trees and environment made me forget totally about my illness, which otherwise crept like a parasite in my mind.
We came across of different species of deers antelopes and wolves.
I grabbed my camera and took pictures & video. My blog will be rich with these pictures I dreamt. And there will be tales to tell to my dear friends. But somehow the thought of seeing a Tiger was not pleasant. I have never liked the ferocious wild cat! I muster courage to see him on discovery channel only. Sensing my thoughts – telepathy or so the guide went on.-“ the tiger kills its pray by first and foremost breaking his windpipe.” He went on… how poaching is going on, how their numbers has come to few hundreds only. Soon they(tigers) will be extinct if proper measures are not taken etc etc They are the most endangered species he boasted with confidence. The poachers gather huge sum of money by selling tiger skins even their nails fetch lot of money. Who would like to risk their lives to earn money in such fashion I thought. Stupid people! I murmured.

There was no site of the beast in the deep forest. What if our jeep got stuck I wondered-no sooner the thought flashed in my mind the engine of our jeep started giving trouble. SOS-another vehicle was to be ordered but no communication was possible. In the core of my heart I prayed the almighty so sincerely never before. We halted near a pond where all sorts of animals come to quench their thirst.“The tiger was spotted here at this lake day before yesterday. See this video,” the guide remarked. All enjoyed his video clip except me. My god, what if the tiger comes at this moment. I visualised another video clip in my mind. The growling face appeared on the imaginary screen it was so live that I was about to scream.!

The guide’s words resounded, “at this moment when we spot the tiger we must stay silent, no noise. Even the engine of the jeep is stopped at such moment. When he(tiger) moves away then only we must proceed further.” I gulped. What next. I desperately wanted to move away from the pond. The cool breeze was relaxing to some extent only, not much. Surprisingly our jeep started. Soon we were returning, a long time had elapsed.. on the way we saw the huge elephant and its baby . Come on, I did remember the tune of Hatari Movie in my good old days . It was a hit film and a hit Tune. Gosh! was it not a real good experience altogether? I pondered on return to our cottage.ImageImage

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