PSLV C-23 –
India’s Ticket To
Manned Mission &
From The News Desk
Latest Updates On
Universe In The
the Earth spin
in one way and
in the other
S P A C E N E W S
ISSUE 36, JULY 2014
Monthly Newsletter of
Chief Editor : Sachin Bahmba
Editors : Amit Verma & Divya
Astronomy At Home
Cardboard Constellation Slide
How Man Made
Satellites Help A
S No Topic Page No.
1 Universe In The School 3
2 Blog : How Man Made Satellites Help A Common Man 9
3 Outreach Programmes 12
4 Astrophotography 15
5 Sky This Month : Constellations & Moon Phases For Jul’14 20
6 Cover Story : PSLV C-23 - India’s Ticket To Manned Mission & Space
7 Astroinquisites : Why Does The Earth Spin In One Way And Venus In
8 Guest Article : On Understanding Universe
By Dr. Kumar Krishen, NASA
9 Astronomy at home : Cardboard Constellation Slide Viewer 36
10 SPACE India is hiring! 46
Center For Student Excellence
U N I V E R S E I N T H E S C H O O L
1. Summer Camp at Indraprastha
International School, Dwarka
At the beginning of the summer
holidays, a camp was organized
for primary students of
School, Dwarka where a lot of
activities of different subjects
were conducted and Astronomy
was one of them. In Astronomy
activities students learnt new
concepts which helped them to
understand some difficult
phenomenon in a fun filled way.
Students of class IV doing hands on activity of
Students of class IV mimicking the way
astronauts sit in a rocket during a session ‘Can
I be an Astronaut'
Students of class V getting their pop-rockets
Educator demonstrating parachute making to
students of class IV
2. Parent Teacher Meeting at Indraprastha
World School, Paschim Vihar
SPACE Club “Fun with Universe” had its
Parents Interaction Program in Indraprastha
World School, Paschim Vihar during PTM.
During this program, SPACE Club ASTRONOMY
KIT for Module 1 &2 and different activities
were displayed. The activities which were
displayed are as follows:
1. Hydro Rocketry
2. Solar Observation
The aim to conduct the Parent Interaction
Program was to provide a platform for
parents and students to know more about
SPACE club, which is:
1. what we teach
2. what students learn
3. how do students learn with FUN
4. What skills do they nourish in SPACE club
During this parent interaction program, a lot
of parents came to know more about CSE
program and showed their satisfaction
towards the CSE program. Students also
participated in different activities and enjoyed
Rahul, Class 10 student of Indraprastha
World School, Paschim Vihar showing Sun
to students and parents through Projection
A parent getting ready to launch hydro
Dev, class VII and Akshat, class VI
students of Indraprastha World School,
Paschim Vihar dressed like an alien and
3. Summer Camp at Indraprastha World School, Paschim Vihar
During the summer holidays, a fun camp was organised for primary students of Indraprastha World School, Paschim
Vihar where activities of different subjects including astronomy were conducted to enhance learning skills of
students. They learnt varied concepts of science that helped them to understand some of the universal
Class V students of Indraprastha World
School, Paschim vihar getting ready to
launch their stomp rocket
Class IV students of Indraprastha World
School, Paschim vihar observing Sun through
their Pin Hole Projector
Class IV students of Indraprastha
World School, Paschim vihar ready
to release their hover crafts on the
4. Teacher’s workshop at Indraprastha World School, Paschim Vihar
On 23rd of May, SPACE conducted a teacher’s workshop in Indraprastha World School, Paschim Vihar. The workshop
was conducted for the teacher’s of the school where they learnt new facts about our Moon- LUNA. Not only this, but
they also constructed a Moon clock to check the Moon phases on different days. Teacher’s enjoyed a lot during the
Photos cont. on the next slide
Teachers sharing the story about phases of the Moon
according to Indian Mythology
Teachers with the model of clock they made
SPACE Educators explaining the working of the clock
Teachers taking part in the activity for Synchronised
4. Teacher’s workshop at Indraprastha World School, Paschim Vihar
Space Astronomy Club
1. Parent Teacher Meeting at Presidium,
Indirapuram on 24th May
SPACE Club “Fun with Universe” had its Parents
Interaction Program in PRESIDIUM, Indirapuram
during PTM meeting on 24th May’14.
During this program, SPACE Club ASTRONOMY
KIT for Module 1 & 2 and different activities were
displayed. The activities which were displayed
are as follows: Stomp Rocketry, Pop Rocketry ,
and Comet Kitchen
The aim to conduct the Parent Interaction
Program was to provide a platform for parents
and students to know more about SPACE club,
what we teach
how we teach
what students learn
how do students learn with FUN
What skills do they nourish in SPACE club
During this parent interaction program, a lot of
parents came to know about SPACE club and
showed their satisfaction towards the club.
Students also participated in different activities
and enjoyed a lot.
Harshita, 7A student holding a
comet in her hands
Harshita and Bhavya, class 7A
students helping in making
Arnav,class 5 student launching a
Arham,class 5 launching stomp
Vedant and Siddhant- Module 2
SPACE CLUB students making
Student understanding the
construction of a stomp rocket
Space Exploration at Pathways World School, Sohna Road, Gurgaon
At Pathways World School, a series of workshops were conducted on 09th May’14 in a single day for all students of grade
fourth. The theme for the workshop was SPACE EXPLORATION.
The workshops conducted was - Rocket – A space Vehicle
In this workshop, students learnt the following facts about Rockets:
Rocket is a space vehicle
Rocket is the only vehicle which can go to space
Space is 300 kms above the ground level
Basic principle of rocketry
Role of fuel in flight of a rocket
Grade 4 Students making their stomp
Students showing the Stomp rocket made by
themselves Students launching their stomp rockets
To Have Fun With Astronomy
& For UITS Updates
B L O G : How Man Made Satellites Help A
This weekend I, with a few of my friends went for an excursion into the
hills of Uttarakhand (A state in India). Suddenly in the middle of night we
were lost in the jungles. As no one among us remembered the way ahead,
I pulled out my smart phone and started my navigator. No doubt that I
reached my destination safely. This situation might have been
faced by many of us and you would have surely been happy to have such a
service, but have you ever wondered, how this is made possible? A set of 4
or more man-made satellites going around the Earth twice a day at an
altitude of nearly 20,200 km can only make it possible. This is one of those
numerous examples where man-made satellites have touched our lives
and made many of our daily tasks easier.
Talking specifically of India, we have harnessed much out of our 72
satellites successfully launched into the orbit around the Earth. They serve
various purposes like communications, broadcasting, natural resource
management, weather forecasting, environment monitoring, and disaster
Before the advent of INSAT only few of our metro cities had the television
facility but after it the entire nation came under the ambit of TV
broadcasting. Numerous Automated Teller Machines across the country,
which has made it so easy for us to manage and handle money, are
connected through the INSAT satellites. India being a country prone to
several natural disasters such as floods, droughts, cyclones, forest fires,
landslides, earthquakes and even tsunami the convergence of Earth
observation and communication satellites was on utmost priority for us. INSAT
The applications of satellites in disaster management ranges
from assessment of damages to establishing emergency
communication, supporting relief and rehabilitation
operations, enhancing disaster preparedness and to facilitate
early warning systems. The importance of satellites in
disaster management can be realized by comparing two
natural disasters in the history of India. In 1977, before the
advent of INSAT a cyclone hit the shores of Andhra Pradesh,
the death toll was more than 10,000 people, a same intensity
cyclone hit the shores of Andhra Pradesh in 1990, after the
advent of INSAT, the death toll was less than 1000 people.
Moreover the EDUSAT launched in 2004, has revolutionized
classrooms in rural, single teacher schools through interactive
IP based technologies. The IRS system family of six satellites
provides imagery on subsurface water, crop and fisheries
monitoring, forestry, and more, data products of which it
even exports internationally.
Image of Phailin Cyclone using INSAT 3D. Image Courtesy:
Apart from the direct implications of these man-made satellites a lot of technologies have been developed in the process
of developing these satellites. NASA has already listed a lot of commercially used products that have been developed by
the help of research at NASA in its journal called ‘Spinoffs’. These products have touched our lives in many fields. Infrared
ear thermometers that are used to measure the thermal radiations from our eardrums use the same technology used by
NASA to calculate the temperature of stars. The water purification system using chemical adsorption, ion exchange, and
ultra-filtration processes in the under developed regions with heavily contaminated water is a result of technology used
for water purification system used in the International Space Station.
From a farmer to a fisherman, a sailor to a pilot, a traveller to a sports man, the applications of man-made satellites
have touched the lives of almost everyone. The development of mankind lies in the hands of development of Space
Science and advancement of technologies used in these satellites. So today when you enjoy watching the FIFA world
cup live, do not forget that there is a network of satellites orbiting our Earth that have made it possible for us to enjoy a
football match happening in the other part of world.
Working of a cell-phone internet network with the help of Geo-stationary satellites
Abhinav Prakash Dubey, Educator | SPACE
O U T R E A C H P R O G R A M M E S
SPACE celebrated summer solstice on 21 June by measuring the circumference of the Earth with its associated students
and public at India Gate under Project Paridhi. SPACE did the project from multiple locations in Delhi. Mr C B Devgun,
President, SPACE Foundation performed the experiment at Jantar Mantar, one of the several locations for the project.
About 15 participants performed the activity, with an average result of 95% accuracy. 2 of our associated schools from
Delhi & NCR were present - Bal Bharati Public School, Rajendra Nagar and GD Goenka Public School, Ghaziabad. Gaurav
Madan from Bal Bharati Public School - Rajendra Nagar was our Student Scientist for the experiment and co-conducted
the activity with SPACE.
All around the world, various cultures and countries celebrate the day in the form of various festivals, such as
Midsummer or St John's Day in Christianity and Saint Jonas' Festival in Lithuania.Shreya Agarwal from Bal Bharati Public
School said, “It was fun to measure the circumference of the Earth. The SPACE team helped us very much. I think
everyone should this once in their life.” For the photo album
Students of Bal Bharati Public School, New
Rajinder Nagar with their school coordinator
at India Gate for Project Paridhi.
SPACE Educator Shweta guides a participant
during the experiment at India Gate
Gaurav Madan from Bal
Bharati Public School - our
first Student Scientist for
ALL INDIA ASTEROID SEARCH CAMPAIGN 2014
In our ongoing programme, All India Asteroid Search Campaign 2014, our
associated schools have made 172 NEO Observations in Phase I and II. We
congratulate all our participants!
To see the list of participants, CLICK HERE
The final phase of this programme begins on 9 July and ends on 13 August.
The list of selected participants for this phase has already been announced
on our website. To see the selected candidates, please visit: http://space-
We are proud to be able to bring this campaign to the Indian students for
the fifth time consecutively. The campaign will be conducted in three
phases, beginning on 29 April, 2014 and ending on 13 August, 2014.
The campaign is conducted in collaboration with International
Astronomical Search Collaboration (IASC, Hardin-Simmons University,
Texas, USA). SPACE is the coordinator for this highly recognized programme
in India. Under this project, the University offers the participants exclusive
access to images taken by 24” telescope and 32” telescope positioned in
Astronomical Research Institute (ARI) Observatory, USA. Participants then
download these images and analyze the data with specialized software
provided during training to search for asteroids. Objects reported by
students could be potential discoveries. All observations contribute to the
Near Earth Object (NEO) data compiled by NASA and Jet Propulsion Lab
(JPL). Students get the exciting opportunity to work with professional
astronomers and get access to real astronomy data.
We wish all the participants success with their discoveries!
SUPERMOON – 10 August, 2014
A supermoon is the coincidence of a full moon with the closest approach the moon makes to the Earth on its elliptical
orbit, making the moon look bigger and brighter from Earth, than on other days. The technical name is the perigee-syzygy
of the Earth-Moon-Sun system. The next such occurrence will be on 10 August, 2014, which will be the closest encounter
On the evening of 10 August, associated schools of SPACE will hold an evening observation for their students and parents
with the help of the prior training support by SPACE to view the moon and other celestial objects.
A S T R O P H O T O G R A P H Y
Title : Aakash Ganga
Description: Our own galaxy, Aakash Ganga,
flows in the dark skies of Astroport over the
Instrument Used: (Issued from SPACE)
Camera: Canon 1100D
Lens: EFS 18-55
Focal Length: 21mm
Sensitivity (ISO): 1600
Exposure Time: 30 sec
Neeraj Ladia, Educator |SPACE
Title: The North American and the Pelican Nebula
Description: The North American Nebula (NGC
7000) and The Pelican Nebula (IC 5070) are one of
the favorite targets for Amateur Astronomers.
Rich in hydrogen, these clouds of dust and gases
show a characteristic pink glow as energy from
nearby stars and heat generated due to
gravitational compression excites the hydrogen
The bright star on the right is Deneb, the brightest
star of the constellation Cygnus (the swan). It is
also a part of the asterism “The summer triangle”
Camera: EOS 6D
Lens: EOS 200mm, f/2.8
Focal Length: 16mm
Sensitivity (ISO): 3200
Exposure Time: 1’ x 90
Rishabh Jain, Sr. Educator | SPACE
Title: Earth, Sky and Home
Description: As the summer peaks, the
milkyway stretches across the sky from the
northern to the southern horizon. It is great to
see our home galaxy, the sanctuary for billions
of star and even more planets. This
photograph was taken right after a downpour
in the midst of the Aravali hills, Rajasthan,
Camera: EOS 6D
Lens: Tokina 11-16, f/2.8
Focal Length: 200mm
Sensitivity (ISO): 10000
Exposure Time: 30”
Rishabh Jain, Sr. Educator | SPACE
Title: Sunset in Varanasi
Description: The picture shows
the silhouette of the beautiful
architecture of Varanasi Jn.
Railway station as the Sun sets
Location: Varanasi, Uttar
Camera: Motorola XT1033
Focal Length: 4 mm
Sensitivity (ISO): 125
Exposure Time: 1/752
:Abhinav Prakash Dubey,
Educator | SPACE
Title: The Running man Nebula
Description: NGC 1977 is a reflection nebula
1/2 degree northeast of the Orion Nebula.
The three NGC objects are divided by darker
regions. It is also called The Running Man
Nebula and Sharpless Catalog 279. This
reflection nebula, also known as NGC 1977,
is located in the constellation of Orion about
1,500 light years from Earth. A light-year is
the distance light travels in one year, or
about 6 trillion miles (10 trillion kilometers).
A reflection nebula doesn't emit any visible
light on its own; instead it's illuminated by
light from nearby stars.
T3 iTelescope ( remotely operated, part of
Internet Telescope project by SPACE )
Camera: SBIG ST-8300C One Shot Color CCD
Lens: Takahashi TOA-150
Focal Length: 1095 mm
Sensitivity (ISO): N/A
Exposure Time: 300 hundred seconds
Location: New Mexico, USA (remotely
Aditya and Ishu Vikas Bharat Public School
(SPACE Astronomy Club)
Evening ( Dusk )
North - Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, Cepheus
East - Aquila, Lyra, Cygnus
West - Leo, Crater, Corvus
South - Scorpius, Libra, Sagittarius
Zenith - Corona Borealis
S K Y T H I S M O N T H :
Astronomical Events Of Sky For The Month Of July’14
North - Ursa Minor , Ursa Major, Cepheus, Cassiopeia
East - Pegasus, Andromeda
West - Bootes, Libra, Hercules
South - Scorpius, Sagittarius
Zenith - Cygnus, Lyra
Morning ( Dawn )
North - Ursa Minor, Cepheus, Cassiopeia
East - Taurus, Auriga, Aries, Perseus
West - Lyra, Aquila, Hercules, Cygnus
South - Capricornus
Zenith - Pegasus
(Time in IST)
Moon Phases, July 2014
First Quarter - 1729 hours - 5 July
Full Moon - 1655 hours - 12 July
Last Quarter - 0738 hours - 19 July
New Moon - 0412 hours - 27 July
How many times have you
seen this building being hit
by aliens in movies?
We will take a journey to
the heart of Niagara falls!
Let’s make mist-soaked
Let’s go on a journey to the
fascinating world of
Dinosaurs and more!
Museum of Natural History
Let’sexploreOrlandoand NewYork!! “The experience was fabulous and smooth. Well
done Astrotourism and kudos for excellent planning
and arrangement . I am planning to send my
daughter again to Europe trip next time.”
“The City that never sleeps”
Mr. Rajeev K Grover, Parent
Harry Potter coming alive!
Explore Hogwarts together
with your kids!
Visit the land of fantasy!
Dream fantasize and re-
live your childhood with
Explore The world's premier
marine adventure park with
200 acres of up-close
animal encounters and
An up-close tour of Kennedy Space
“The City Beautiful” Orlando
It’s fun to travel with family!
Let’s make this family outing memorable!
Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
use code ASTNWL01 for special discount
C O V E R S T O R Y : PSLV C-23 - India’s
ticket to manned mission & space travel
India on June 30, 2014 successfully launched five foreign satellites from four
countries on board PSLV-C23 rocket which placed them in orbit, an achievement
described by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as an 'endorsement' of the country's
After a perfect lift off from the First Launch Pad in Satish Dhawan Space Centre in
Sriharikota at 9.52am witnessed by Modi, Indian Space Research Organisation's
workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle PSLV-C23 placed all five satellites into
their intended orbits, one after the other between 17 and 19 minutes after
liftoff, in textbook precision.
Global endorsement of India’s space capability
This is a "global endorsement of India's space capability", said Prime Minister
Narendra Modi after the successful launch of an Indian rocket that carried five
foreign satellites. Modi said: "Congratulations to everybody."
"I feel specially privileged to witness this event in person," said Modi who
clapped as the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle-C23 (PSLV-C23) - standing around
44.4 metres tall and weighing around 230 ton - tore into the bright morning skies
with orange flames fiercely burning at its tail.
The rocket's main luggage is the 714kg French earth observation satellite SPOT-
7.Piggybacking on the main luggage are the four small satellites viz: 14-kg AISAT
of Germany; NLS7.1 (CAN-X4) and NLS7.2 (CAN-X5) from Canada each weighing
15 kg; and the 7-kg VELOX-1 of Singapore.
PSLV PSLV-C23 carrying five foreign satellites lifts off
from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota |
Besides Modi, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, Andhra Pradesh Governor E S L Narasimhan and
Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu also witnessed the launch from the Sriharikota spaceport, about 100 kilometres from
About the satellites
French satellite SPOT 7, identical to SPOT-6, which ISRO had launched in 2012, would be placed diametrically opposite to
SPOT-6, forming part of the existing Earth observation satellite. European space technology company Airbus Defence and
Space has built SPOT-7.
Germany's AISAT satellite would focus on the global sea-traffic monitoring system with special emphasis on high traffic
zones using AIS signals. It is also Germany's first DLR satellite in the nano-satellite class. NLS 7.1 and NLS 7.2 are from the
University of Toronto, Institute of Aerospace Studies/ Space Flight Laboratory in Canada. Both payloads would perform
Two-spacecraft precision formation flying using differential GPS with centimetre-level relative position and sub-metre
level accurate position control system. Satellite VELOX-1 from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore is a technology
demonstrator for in-house design of image sensor, MEMS-based attitude determination and control system and inter-
satellite RF link.
PSLV C-23 Launch
The five satellites were launched under commercial arrangements that ANTRIX (ISRO's commercial arm) entered into with
the respective foreign agencies.
After the PSLV's four stages ignited on time and separated with clock-work precision within the first 17 minutes 26
seconds, the five satellites were injected one after another.
SPOT-7 was the first to leave the nose cone, at 18 minutes 8 seconds after the ignition. AISAT, NLS 7.1 and NLS 7.2 were
separated between 18 minutes 5 seconds and 19 minutes 51 seconds. The entire mission lasted about 20 minutes with
the last separation of the fifth satellite VELOX-1 at 19 minutes 9 seconds.
LAUNCH POP UP IMAGE
Precision marks commercial space mission
ISRO has so far launched 35 satellites from 19 countries around the globe -- Algeria, Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Canada,
Denmark, France, Germany, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Singapore, Switzerland, The Netherlands,
Turkey and United Kingdom, bringing a huge sum to the country as foreign exchange.
Isro chairman K Radhakrishnan said that it was a high precision exercise. "To put the satellite at an altitude of 655km, we
could afford an error margin of 20km, but we reached as near as 7km," he said. The launch cemented India's place as a
sought after launch pad for foreign satellites. This also marks the 26th consecutively successful launch of PSLV.
Time to pitch for a SAARC satellite
Prime Minister Narendra Modi honoured the austere traditions of Indian space scientists, post the launch and also urged
them to gift a satellite to the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (Saarc) countries in the neighborhood.
Such a satellite will be helpful in Saarc nations' fight against poverty and illiteracy, the challenge to progress in scientific
field, and will open up avenues to provide opportunities to the youth of Saarc countries," Modi said.
SPACE India’ s take on the launch:
SPACE India representatives were invited by media to commemorate and comment on the landmark PSLV launch. They
“The launch is another feather in the cap of ISRO and India, as the success makes us kind of main players in the market for
launches at a reduced cost. It also makes ISRO more confident of moving towards its goal of manned missions to moon and
space travel! “– Mr C.B Devgun, President SPACE Foundation
“The Launch of PSLV-23 with 5 international satellites is a great feat for India. India is one of the few nations which offers
services of a commercial space carrier for satellites and is promoting space sciences on a global platform. It is a proud
moment for India to see a role reversal where countries of the European Union are opting for the PSLV instead of their
home built Ariane rocket. Another successful launch now brings the tally of launched foreign satellites to 40 which are
more than what India has launched for itself using this rocket. This is another sign of how swiftly India has progressed to
powerful and technologically advanced nation. This launch and other similar launches have opened up the window for
young students to take up space sciences as a career choice in India and help the nation grow as powerful unit, a nation of
the future.” – Rishabh Jain, Senior Educator, SPACE India
*News & image courtesy : Time Of India, Hindustan Times and Economics Times
A S T R O I N Q U I S I T E S :
Why does the Earth spin in one way and Venus in the other
Because very often one wonders why all planets in our solar system rotate on their own axis regardless of
its size or composition. The answer to this is pretty simple: To conserve the angular momentum. The words
might sound heavy, but the concept is actually very simple.
When the planets were formed, it was all due to gravity. Tiny particles smashed into each other as the force
of gravitation attracted them together. With time, they formed bigger chunks and as the clump grew bigger, it
attracted more mass towards it. The law of conservation of angular momentum says that as these objects
move closer to each other the ratio of energy will shift. Same particles occupying a smaller area will have
more spinning energy, just like when a figure skater moves her hands in and starts spinning rapidly. You can
try the same on a rotating chair.
Spread your arms and legs out and ask someone to spin the chair. Once in full speed, pull
your arms and legs inside and feel the chair spinning faster.
This is due to conservation of angular momentum.
To slow down the speed of the chair, spread your arms and legs again.
If people lived on Venus they would have thought Earth and all of the other planets are weird for rotating counter-
clockwise. While observing from above, one can see that all of the other planets in our Solar System rotate counter-
clockwise. On Venus, however, the rotation is backwards, or clockwise, which is called retrograde.
Retrograde is motion in opposite direction than the usual or expected rotation. For e.g. if earth rotates counter clockwise it
is expected that a satellite also revolves around in counter clockwise but if it revolves clockwise then motion is retrograde.
An interesting observation, standing on the surface of Venus, one would be able to see the sun rising from the west. After
116.75 days it would travel across the sky and then set in the east.
But further a question surfaces while looking at all the rotation patterns of the planets i.e. all planets rotate in counter
clockwise direction as seen from earth but Venus rotates in opposite direction i.e. clockwise. Let’s first try to understand
why Venus does that.
Many astronomers believe that the reason for this backwards rotation could
be due to the impact of another large planet billions of years ago or may be
some huge asteroid. They also speculate that the combined momentum
between the two objects averaged out to the current rotational speed and
Furthermore, some astronomers say that the way a planet rotates relates to
how it was formed during the accretion of planetesimals (small rocks and
dust combining and impacting, forming planets during the formation of solar
system). It will rotate accordingly, depending on which side more impacts
Another theory is that Venus’s rotation was once counter-clockwise when it
first was created from the solar nebula, and tidal effects (gravitational effects)
from the planet’s thick atmosphere might have possibly slowed down its
By : Neeraj Ladia
Educator I SPACE
GUEST ARTICLE : On Understanding Universe
By Dr. Kumar Krishen
Expanding the boundaries of our knowledge to understand the birth, existence, and extinction processes of universe
presents one of the greatest challenges of all times. This includes the understanding of time, space, matter, and life.
Scientists have advanced the Big Bang theory as one of the most plausible explanations for the formation of universe.
According to this theory, the entire universe was once confined to a small space; ten to the power minus fifty centimeters,
the space of a nucleus, smaller than a pea, or smaller than an American dime. Time, space and matter all began with the
Big Bang. For a time up to ten to the power minus forty three seconds there was grand unification of all forces
characterized by the Planck epoch. At this time, the result of Big Bang was the separation of the gravitational force. This
was followed by the separation of strong force at about ten to the power minus thirty-five seconds. Finally, the weak and
electromagnetic forces became differentiated at ten to the power minus eleven seconds.
At a time of about one micro second, protons, neutrons, and hadrons formed. This was followed by the formation of light
elements; deuterium, helium, lithium, and hydrogen at about a second after the bang. From three minutes to about half a
million years, matter dominated with recombination and the onset of gravitational instability. From then to now, the
universe continues to expand with the formation of galaxies and black holes. The Big Bang march of time was also
characterized by a fall of temperature from three times ten to the power of thirty-one degrees Kelvin to about two point
seven six degrees Kelvin today
This explanation of the expansion of the universe is based on the shift of hydrogen lines toward red end of the
electromagnetic spectrum. Also known as the Doppler shift, it allows the calculation of the Hubble constant,
which is based on how fast the velocities of galaxies increase with their distance from Earth. Cosmologists using
theoretical tools available to-date estimate the age of the universe anywhere from seven to twenty billion years;
depending on the values of the parameters used in these models. More recently, some scientists have advanced
the notion that time and space were created as a result of the Big Bang.
Dr Kumar Krishen is ST/Senior Scientist / Lead Technologist for the Technology Transfer & Commercialization Office,
NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC), Houston, Texas.
For many reasons, including the ones mentioned here, the Big Bang leaves difficult and unanswered questions behind.
These range from cosmological red shift being caused by Compton Effect as opposed to Doppler Effect to some scientists
maintaining that globular clusters in our galaxy are older than fifteen billion years.
The measurements of Uranium content in stars shows the minimum age of the universe to be twelve billion years, whereas,
the best measurements of the Hubble constant produce an age of about ten billion years. In this respect questions have
been raised about the range of validity of the Hubble constant. Recent reports stating that the farther reaches of universe
are accelerating at a faster rate has also added complexity to this thought. Another aspect of unknowns is that the survey
of visible and luminous matter yields mass density of only one percent of the critical density of the matter in the universe.
This has led to the cold dark matter and dark energy theories to account for the matter in the universe. Recent findings from
the Hubble and Chandra telescopes show black holes with an age of about thirteen billion years and galaxies separating at
larger rates than has been observed and assumed to-date.
Astronomy and cosmology have engaged the inhabitants of India for more than five thousand years. The emphasis on Vidya
or knowledge runs deep in this part of the world. Indeed, it has been said that knowledge makes it possible to break the
cycle of Samsara (birth-death-rebirth) and the gift of knowledge is the greatest gift. In Nayaya philosophy, the means of
obtaining knowledge are given as Pramanas. These include Pratyaksha (sense perception), Khyati (awareness of relationship
due to senses), Anumana (inference), Upamana (similarity), Paroksha (invisible/instinctive/intuitive), and Manaskara
One of the profound concepts advanced in India is that of Kala or time (see Appendix). Kala has been defined as the power
that limits the existence of eternal elements in matter. The smallest time known as Truti is about one-tenth of a
nano-second. From this time there are four times defined before Tala, which can last from half to three-fourths of a second.
Bharata, the writer of music and dance is said to have recognized more than twenty-two Talas. From Tala five times are
identified before Kala, about forty eight seconds. Kala again appears after four more gradations in the scale of time. This
time it is defined as the sense of appointed time/mealtime, from six to eight hours. Three definitions from this comes
Pahsha, fifteen days.
On the higher end, one Manush Varsha is defined approximately as three hundred and sixty five days. The time scales
following this are Kali, Dvapur, Trita, and Satya Yugs. A Maha Yug is the combination of these four Yugs and is estimated to
last four point thirty two million years. This is followed by the definitions of Mun Vantar, Kalpa, Brahma Varsha, and life of
Brahma. This last time scale is about three hundred and fourteen trillion years. The integers appearing in this time scale
are those of pi. This is a profound result as it points to continuity of the circular frame. Within the time scales from Truti
to the life of Brahma, cycles of birth, existence, and annihilation are expected for matter and life. The larger of these
cycles are known as Pralays. The largest of these cycles is the age of Brahma, at the end of which entire universe is
destroyed and then recreated. It should be mentioned that the Indian method of calculations is based on revolution of
moon around the Earth. However, some of the scales of time mentioned here have been confirmed using the movement
of Earth around sun in the recent past.
According to the Indian calendar, the universe is going through Kali Yug at this time. The time left for the first Pralay
(annihilation) is about two point three five billion years. This number is close to the number that corresponds to the loss
of magnetic shield around Earth, expansion of Sun, and loss of solar light to a significant level based on modern theories
of the activity of Sun. It will cause major extinction of Earth and therefore life on Earth.
Within the context of Kala, the cycle of life is also expounded in the Indian philosophy. Brahma is said to be the creator of
life. Scientists believe that Brahma could be the DNA/RNA that resides in every cell of living entities. Indeed, the literature
says that Brahma resides in all living beings and originated from water. The thought of life takes on a series of
manifestations as Matsya (fish), Kurma (tortise), Varaha (mammals), Narasimha (half human-half animal), and Vamana
(short human). Higher forms of life follow this. Fossils found in India and Kenya are dated back to twelve to fourteen
million years and indicate the existence of short humans. The recent findings from fossils found in Chad, point to the
possibility of humans with some animal features.
We find ourselves at a crossroad of the exploration of the universe with diverging views and a heap of questions before
us. What then should be done? The answer may lie in casting the net larger where all possibilities are considered for
discussion and introspection. It is here that the thoughts of the universe and life in it as expressed in the literature of
India should be considered and investigated. One must ask, "Why were such thoughts expressed in India at that time?"
So, Kala might hold a mighty hint for us to pursue!
A S T R O N O M Y A T H O M E :
Cardboard Constellation Slide Viewer
Through this activity, we will learn to make our own slide viewer which is
very easy to make and use!
A slide viewer is a device with the help of which you can project
photographs on a small screen. So it’s like your own personal projector
STEP 1 Take a cardboard box which is
open from two sides. You can use
empty perfume box and cut open its
two opposite sides for this step.
STEP 2 Now wrap the cardboard box
with the black chart paper.
STEP 1 STEP 2
STEP 3 After wrapping the box, cut a slit in the cardboard box using a scissor. The slit has
to be near to one of the open ends of the box. Also, make sure the slit should only three
sides of the box only. The fourth side i.e. the base of the box should not be cut.
STEP 3(i) STEP 3 (ii)
STEP 4 Now cover the open end which is near the slit with butter paper. This end will be
pointed towards the light source while viewing the slide.
STEP 4 (i) STEP 4 (ii)
STEP 5 Now for making the pictures, take a printout of the desired pictures
on the transparencies. However, the size of the picture should be 1mm
smaller than the size of box. This will help to view the complete picture
when inserted inside the viewer.
STEP 5 (i) STEP 5 (ii)
STEP 6 Cut the pictures in square shape from the A4 size transparency then make
a frame for the picture using a black chart paper.
STEP 6 (i) STEP 6 (ii)
STEP 6 (iii)
STEP 7 Now paste the picture inside the the frame to make a picture
slide which will be inserted inside the viewer.
STEP 8 Now insert the picture slide inside the slit of the cardboard viewer and point
the butter paper side of the box towards the light source to see the image clearly.
STEP 8 (i) STEP 8 (ii)
STEP 9 Below is the the picture of the scorpion constellation when
seen from the slide viewer.
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A particular slide catching your eye?
Clipping is a handy way to collect important slides you want to go back to later.