MARS ORBITER MISSION
LAUNCH ON OCT-28
From The News Desk
Latest Updates On
UNIVERSE IN THE
WHY ARE PLANETS
S P A C E N E W S
Monthly Newsletter of
Chief Editor : Sachin Bahmba
Editors : Amit Verma & Divya Kanchanbaras
Astronomy At Home
LOOKING BACK IN TIME
By Biman Basu
S No Topic Page No.
1 Universe In the School News 3
2 Blog - Breaking Down The Space 11
3 Events News 12
4 Spotlight : A Talk By Dr. Candace Kohl On Meteorites And Its
Impact On Earth
5 Cover Story – Mars Orbiter Mission Launch On Oct-28 20
6 Astroinquisites - Q. Why Are Planets Spherical? 23
7 Guest Article - Looking Back In Time By Biman Basu 25
8 Astronomy At Home - Parachute Launch 28
9 SPACE is Hiring 33
Background photograph credit - The Winter Hexagon by Rishabh Jain, SPACE Educator
UNIVERSE IN THE SCHOOL NEWS
CENTRE FOR STUDENT EXCELLENCE
On 23rd Sep, 15 students from Astronomy Club of
Indraprastha International School, Dwarka participated in
Project Paridhi which was organized within the school
premises on the day of Autumnal Equinox. Project Paridhi
is about measuring the circumference of the earth with the
help of a gnomon. Students had fun conducting the
experiment and doing the calculations.
Students performing the shortest shadow experiment
SPACE ASTRONOMY CLUB
SPACE organized the annual Astronomy Day at Bal Bharati
Public School, Rohini on 7th Sep, 2013. SPACE club students
showcased their learning & interest towards astronomy at
the event. They performed different activities like comet
kitchen, hydrorocketry, time & direction using Sun, etc.
Ms. Bandhana Sharma, Vice Principal BBPS said at the
event “The children’s took keen interest in all the
activities and the resource person guided the children
well.” A rocket was launched by Ms. Rekha Sharma,
Principal of BBPS. Students had put up stalls for
different activities like, Hydro rocketry, Quiz, Solar
System Walk, Movie, Photo Exhibition of club sessions
and Comet Kitchen, etc. The active participation of
club members made this event a grand success.
The Principal, Ms. Rekha Sharma is ready to launch
the Hydro Rocket
Students performing comet making activity Students explaining about astronomy kit Students explaining the concept of Sundial
SPACE EXPLORERS - SPACE conducted series of age-specific fun hands on astronomy workshops for various schools in Delhi & NCR
during Sept’13 –
•Rocket 1,2,3…Go, Rocket A Space
Vehicle and Hydro Rocketry for
Class 1st – 2nd, 3rd -5th and 6th –
8th on 2nd Sept’ at Ryan
International School, Sohna Road
•Comet Kitchen, Let’s Know about
Earth and Astronauts can you be
one of them? for Class 6th – 10th,
1st – 2nd, 3rd on 3rd & 4th Sept’ at
Lions Public School, Gurgaon
•Hydro Rocketry at Army Public
School Shankar Vihar, Delhi Cantt
for Class 6th – 8th on 3rd Sept’
•Invisible Universe and Comet
Kitchen class 7th – 8th & 9th – 10th
on 9th Sept’ at The Air Force
School, Subroto Park
•Rocket A Space Vehicle for Class
3rd – 5th on 9th Sept’ at
Vivekanand School, Anand Vihar
•Astronauts can you be one them?
Along with various activities for
Parents of Class 1st -5th on 11th &
21st Sept’ at Amity International
School, Sec-46, Gurgaon
•Pop Rocketry, Stomp Rocketry and
Interview with the Sun for class
3rd, 4th & 5th on 20th, 25th Sept’
at Delhi Public School, Gurgaon
•Rocket A Space Vehicle for Class
3rd – 5th on 28th Sept’ at Delhi
Public School, Sushant Lok,
•Astronauts can you be one of
them? for Class 3rd-5th on 30th
Sept’ at Ryan International School,
Students participating in Stomp Rocket Launch competition & Hydro Rocket launch competition during the workshop
at RYAN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, SOHNA ROAD
SPACE EXPLORERS cont..
Students making Comet during the workshop & receiving the prize from Ms. Neelima Prakash,
Sr. Principal at LIONS PUBLIC SCHOOL, GURGAON
Students are making rocket & also participating in Hydro Rocket launch competition during the workshop at
ARMY PUBLIC SCHOOL, SHANKAR VIHAR
Students making Comet during Comet Kitchen & Invisible Universe workshop at THE AIR FORCE SCHOOL, SUBROTO PARK
Students participating in stomp rocket launch competition & winner receiving prize from Mrs. Bindu Kalra,
Headmistress Primary Wing at VIVEKANAD SCHOOL, ANAND VIHAR
Students performing Lung capacity Test activity, Black Box challenge and Parent participating in weigh yourself on other planet and
also observing stomp rocket launch at AMITY INTL SCHOOL, SEC-46, GURGAON
Students taking part in Pop Rocket Launch Competition & Winner receiving prize from SPACE Educator
Mr. Abhishek Sarangi at DELHI PUBLIC SCHOOL, GURGAON
Students making rockets and participating in Stomp Rocket Launch competition at DELHI PUBLIC SCHOOL, GURGAON
Students observing Sun through Telescope using solar filter and solar view goggles at
DELHI PUBLIC SCHOOL, SEC-45, GURGAON
Student launching Pop & Stomp Rockets during the Rocket Launch Competition at
DELHI PUBLIC SCHOOL, SUSHANT LOK, GURGAON
Students participating in Hand – Eye Coordination activity and winners of the Astronauts Suit Challenge
at RYAN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, VASANT KUNJ
To Have Fun With Astronomy
& For UITS Updates
BLOGPOST – “Breaking Down Space”
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute) in Germany and the
Perimeter Institute in Canada have proposed a theory which can describe the big bang and thus the universe
using quantum physics. This is a major step towards unification of the two major theories of physics: Albert
Einstein's General Theory of Relativity and the Quantum theory.
The theory assumes the space to be a discrete entity in place of the space to be a continuum as described by
the theory of relativity. They have arrived at the most fundamental equation of cosmology, the Friedmann’s
equation using the quantum theory. This is the same as describing the hydrodynamics of water using the
theory of atoms. This theory incorporates the famous group field theory and is closely related to the loop
quantum gravity, which is already being developed at AEI.
The current solution of the theory is valid only for a homogenous universe but this is not the case with our
universe, we have planets, stars nebulae and galaxies which accounts for its inhomogeneity. So the major
challenge to this theory is to include the in homogeneity of universe into it.
If this theory continues to prove successful, the researchers might also be able to explain the assumed
expansion of the universe shortly after the Big Bang, and the nature of the mysterious dark energy. This energy
field is the reason to the expansion of universe ever-increasing rate.
Abhinav Prakash Dubey
SPACE conducted its flagship project “Project PARIDHI” with more than 100 school students and was also witnessed by a
mass of 600 people at Qutub Minar. Students measured the shadow of the sun using gnomon sticks and measured the
shortest shadow at local noon. Using the concept that the sun is directly overhead on the equator on the day of autumn
equinox, and using the distance between Delhi and a location directly south of us on the equator students calculated the
circumference of the earth. 10% of the students measured the circumference with above 97% accuracy, and 90% of the
students achieved 90 to 95% accuracy.
Mr. C.B. Devgun, President, SPACE said that “We extended this experiment by using the Minar of Qutub Minar as a
gnomon and calculating the sun angle and from there the circumference of the Earth. Despite issues like protruding
balconies from the Minar and the shadow falling on different structures, the shortest shadow at local noon was cleanly
measured and a sun angle of 28.8 degrees was measured. This led to a result of 39,325 KM for Earth's circumference,
which is 98% accurate and an impressive result.”
SPACE team at Qutub Minar during Project
Students performing experiment
during Project PARIDHI
A student performing experiment during
Project PARIDHI at Qutub Minar
TALK BY MR. C.B. DEVGUN AT AMITY INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, NOIDA
A talk on “Planet Saturn and its moons Iapetus and Dione” by SPACE President, Mr. CB Devgun was organised as a
part of knowledge enrichment program for 20 science teachers of Amity International School Noida, on September
The talk and presentation lasted an hour, and was highly appreciated by the Principal, Ms. Renu Singh, Headmistress,
Ms. Rashmi Grover and all the attending teachers. The school plans to prepare its students to participate in NASA
Scientist Of The Day, contest.
Mr. Devgun presented fresh perspective on the topic to the teachers to help them guide their students to “Imagine
rather than acquire information” to compete in the contest.
Mr. CV Devgun talking on Saturn and Its moons Amity International School, Noida teachers at the talk
ASTRONOMY AWARENESS AT IOCL REFINERY, PANIPAT
AND DPS PANIPAT
A special awareness program was organised by SPACE at
IOCL colony, Panipat on September, 21st, 2013. SPACE
Representative, Ms. Anju Khanna conducted a two hour
long interactive session on “Importance of Astronomy &
Space Sciences for families”. The event was presided over
by DGM, IOCL, Mr. Dilip Borah who concluded the
program by launching a Hydrorocket.
The same day, Hydro rocket launch was done at
DPS, Refinery, Panipat and it was viewed by more than
600 students, teachers and other staff members of the
Interactive session at IOCL, Refinery township
Hydrorocketry launch at DPS, Refinery, Panipat Hydrorocketry launch by DGM, IOCL
WORLD SPACE WEEK (WSW)-EXPLORING MARS, DISCOVERING EARTH
WSW the “largest annual public space event on Earth” is an exciting International astronomical event organized by the
United Nations General Assembly from October 4-10 every year. SPACE will be celebrating WSW from 4 October- 10
October’13. This year theme for WSW is “Exploring Mars – Discovering Earth”. WSW’13 is about what many consider
the Next Frontier: the planet Mars. Mars gives us an opportunity to define from scratch what world we want to live in.
SPACE encourages everyone to celebrate WSW by conducting Astronomy events. SPACE will be conducting an
interschool painting competition for students at primary and middle level, during WSW and invites everyone to join
and celebrate the spirit of it.
SPACE will be conducting following activities during this Week :
1. Interschool Painting Competition – ‘The Planet Mars’ (Juniors) and ‘Mars Exploration’ (Senior)
You are invited to participate in the competition and win exciting prizes. Please find details of the competition as
2. SPACE Flagship Program “All India Asteroid Search Campaign” Felicitation, at Radisson Blu, Paschim Vihar .
3. Seminar on Importance of Astronomy and Space Science to be held in Chandigarh for opportunities in Punjab
4. SPACE organises Quiz competition, Sky Observation, Painting Competition in association with Bharti Foundation for
the Govt. School Students in Bhojawas, Dist. Mahendergarh (Haryana).
Conduct your own WSW event:
We hope you will chalk up some exciting plans to demonstrate to the world what you have learnt in Astronomy. SPACE
will provide marketing and outreach support to you. WSW posters are available with SPACE and are being sent to
schools. SPACE suggests you can conduct any Astronomy event during World Space Week to popularize Astronomy
such as: Movie Show, Quiz, Painting Competition, Face Painting, Assembly Discussions, Astronomy Day Celebrations
INTERNET TELESCOPE - 22nd Oct to 01st Nov
Internet Telescope is an international science project to popularize hands on science conducted by SPACE in India, in
collaboration with International Astronomical Search Collaboration, USA. It enables students to remotely control
telescopes placed in an astronomy observatory in the US, while sitting at their desks in India! Students uses these
telescopes to explore the night sky visible in the US, & take in depth pictures of celestial objects such as asteroids, galaxies,
nebulae, clusters etc. It is real time science & cutting edge technology at its forefront! This year, SPACE is all set to host 40
schools and organizations for Internet Telescope in October and Nov 2013 and we invite you to be a part of this exciting
real time Astronomy experience. SPACE invites SPACE associated schools to register and list the names of 2 participants.
Kindly note that registrations is on a 1st come 1st served basis.
To find out more and register online – CLICK HERE
A TALK BY DR. CANDACE KOHL ON METEORITES AND ITS IMPACT ON EARTH
SPACE the pioneer organization working towards the
development of science and astronomy in India, organized and
conducted a seminar on “Meteorites and its impact on earth”.
Meteorites are an object from Outer Space, such as a rock, that
falls into the Earth and lands on its surface. The seminar was
held on 17th September’13, at G.D. Goenka Public School, Sec-
48, Gurgaon. The main aim of the seminar was to provide an
extensive knowledge on meteorites, where Dr. Candace Kohl,
an International meteorite expert and meteorite hunter, who
was previously the President of the San Diego, U.S.A. Chapter
of the ARCS Foundation, (a National group that provides
monetary awards to academically outstanding students in
science, medicine and engineering etc.) discussed, exchanged
and shared her experience and knowledge on meteorites. Dr.
Kohl is Ph.D from the University of California, San Diego in
chemistry and received her Ph.D in 1975. She has performed
fieldwork on all seven continents, including a field season
hunting for meteorites on the Antarctic ice, and a field season
on top of the Greenland ice cap to obtain a 10,000-foot-long ice
During the seminar Dr. Kohl, thrown lights on the origin of
meteorites, its impacts on earth, its history, its properties,
classifications of meteorites and importance of meteorites. She
also explained about the locations where meteorites fell on
Earth, locations of meteorites in outer space, types of
meteorites and much more. Dr. Candace Kohl- Meteorite Hunter, sharing her insights
She also shared her experience and knowledge about HOBA, the largest known meteorite on earth, which fell on earth in
the year 1920, around 80,000 yrs ago in the Otjozondjupa Region of Namibia. Dr. Kohl shared her adventurous experience
of meteorite hunting in Antarctica and Africa. She also answered queries related to meteorites and explained the concept
and facts about meteorites. Additionally, she emphasized on the importance to study meteorites. Dr. Kohl also provided an
opportunity to hands on experience of meteorites, where she actually showed the jewelleries made up of meteorites,
beautifully carved and polished beads of meteorites which was engraved on her bracelets, some of the most worthy
jewelleries one can get.
The seminar was attended by around 100 people
including students, amateur astronomers, teachers,
and public. She addressed to all the queries raised
related to meteorites and enlightened everyone
with some of the facts and concept which were
unfamiliar to the people. The seminar was
informative and interesting and knowledgeable. At
the end of the seminar Dr. Kohl gifted two real
meteorites to SPACE, which she discovered during
her expedition. SPACE presented one of the two
meteorites to Mrs. Anuradha Handa, Principal G.D.
Goenka Public School, Gurgaon. Mrs. Handa was
extremely happy after receiving the real meteorites
and thanked SPACE and Dr. Kohl.
At the end Mr. Sachin Bahmba, Chairman &
Managing Director SPACE, expressed his desire to
collaborate with Researchers of USA to extend this
opportunity and to promote this noble cause for
Indian students. In December’13, India’s first ever
expedition to search for meteorites will be
launched, which will foster the inquisitiveness of
young Indian students in this subject”.
Dr. Candace Kohl with SPACE team and with the
Principal of G.D Goenka, Gurgaon
Dr. Candace Kohl also
shared her experience and
said that “I have been
involved in many
organizations that promote
science education and
distribute scholarships for
postgraduate study in the
field. I am especially
interested in promoting
science education for
women.”So, when SPACE
group contacted me to
deliver a seminar in India, I
was more than happy to
share my experience and
knowledge with students,
amateurs, teachers and
public. I must say SPACE
group is doing a fabulous
job and I wish them all the
best for future.” Dr. Candace Kohl with SPACE Team
COVER STORY – Mars Orbiter Mission launch on Oct-28
TESTING & LAUNCH
"The satellite is in the final stages of testing. We have also got thumbs up from the review committee," an elated ISRO
Chairman K Radhakrishnan told the media. The Mars orbiter has undergone extensive pre-launch tests at ISRO's Satellite
Centre in Bangalore and will be moved to Sriharikota on September 30 for integration with the advanced version of the
four-stage Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), known as PSLV-XL.
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is getting ready for the launch of the Rs. 450-crore satellite, which weighs
1350 kg. It will take about 10 months to reach the orbit of Mars traversing a distance of over 400 million kilometers.
October 28 is set to be the next big day for the Indian space programme as
the Mangalyaan (or Mars Orbiter) will lift-off from Sriharikota in Andhra
Pradesh. The most awaited launch will take place between 3.30pm and 4pm
that day using the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle or PSLV. A national
committee of scientists chaired by former ISRO chief U R Rao gave the go-
ahead to the Rs 450-crore mission on Friday 20 Sept, 2013. "Right now we
are continuously monitoring it," an official said.
The Mangalyaan mission is a planned Mars orbiter to be launched the
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). The mission is a "technology
demonstrator" project aiming to develop the technologies required for
design, planning, management and operations of an interplanetary mission.
This will be India's first mission to Mars.
The pre-shipment review was held on September 26. With a large
contingent of the international media to cover the launch, hotels in
Chennai were flooded with inquiries about availability of rooms and rates.
Sriharikota is about a two-and-a-half hours drive from Chennai.
A scientist works on the Mars Orbiter vehicle at
the Indian Space Research Organization's (ISRO)
satellite centre in Bangalore.
Rao said, "It had always been stated that the moon was bone dry and there was no water. But, our lunar mission
Chandrayaan-1 attained a major breakthrough and found water on the moon. Similarly, our Mars mission will achieve
something similar.“ Rao's view was shared by Syed Maqbool Ahmed, the scientist behind Chandra Altitudinal
Composition Explorer (CHACE) on board Chandrayaan-1's Moon Impact Probe which discovered water on the moon.
Ahmed who had a two-year stint at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory said, "Depending upon the prevailing conditions,
the instruments of MOM which are a heritage class of Chandrayaan-1 may certainly give a chance to measure elusive
CHANDRAYAAN - MOON & WATER
In 2008, India successfully launched its maiden mission to the moon, Chandrayaan-1, which brought back the first
clinching evidence of the presence of water on the lunar surface. Some even suggested that this is really now an Asian
space race between India and China - the two regional rivals - on who reaches Mars first.
MANGALYAAN & NASA
Mr. Radhakrishnan says Mangalyaan will carry five Indian
scientific instruments to study the atmosphere of the Red
Planet, look for traces of Methane which could indicate if
life exists on Mars, take color photos of the planet and
analyse the presence of water there. Referring to the
recent discovery by NASA's Curiosity rover that there was
no methane on Mars, Rao who said that it did not mean
much and was of little significance. He emphasized that
NASA's announcement has in no way made the Indian
mission to Mars irrelevant. His statement assumes
significance in the context of MOM flying an instrument
called the methane sensor, which is designed to measure
methane in the Martian atmosphere and map its sources.
It is one of the five instruments on board MOM, and was
fabricated at ISRO's Ahmadabad-based Space Application
An artist impression of Mangalyaan
Other experts suggest that it is not so much the inter-planetary configuration but earth bound geo-political
considerations that may be weighing on India's mind referring to the space rivalry between India and China. "We are
not racing with anybody and the Indian Mars mission has its own relevance," says Mr. Radhakrishnan. He, however,
admits that there is an element of 'national pride' involved with the mission.
Some suggest after the success of Chandrayaan-1, the natural stepping stone for India was to try to reach Mars. Mr.
Radhakrishnan said, "We had to prepare the spacecraft on a fast-track mode as we had a deadline to meet. Though it
is a complex spacecraft, but our people have done it." He also said that it is a critical mission for the country because
after Chandrayaan-1 ISRO is looking to go deeper into the space, on a longer voyage.
Answer: It may come to surprise some individuals that earth is not the only planet that is spherical. In fact, all
discovered planets to date in our solar system or another, are spherical.
However, it is thought that most planets are spherical because gravity compresses planets into a shape that can
evenly be distributed due to the gravitational forces that are present within the planet’s mass. Furthermore, if
planets had oblong sides or uneven weight distribution, it could possibly throw off their rotation. Therefore, it
can be understood that due to the exponentially heavy mass a planet consists of, the only way the planet could
be formed is by evenly distributing this mass.
There are however some various forces that cause slight deviations in this perfect sphere. A specific example
relating to earth is that every time the earth makes one full rotation, a force known as centrifugal force, creates a
slight bulge in the equator.
A Space Adventure Retreat
For more information and forthcoming STAR Parties at the newly launched
SPACE Adventure Retreat – ASTROPORT SIRISKA write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
A Nest Far
*Actual site photographs
SPACE’s Night Sky Observation Facility & Research Center
27°14'N 76°26'E (NELM 6.4 SQM 21.44)
Tehla, Sariska, Rajasthan, India
ASTROPORT is SPACE's new Sky Observation Facility Cum Research Centre at Sariska. The facility will be open for all astronomy
enthusiasts. As an added bonanza, all students of SPACE Astonomy Clubs will be visiting the centre for their night observations!
The facility, one of its kind in the world; has been developed to provide a great sky viewing and research experience to the budding
astronomers working with us, in a serene and lush environment of Sariska Tiger Reserve.
Night Sky map of India Night Sky map of area around Astroport
to NELM -
GUEST ARTICLE - LOOKING BACK IN TIME by Biman Basu
Astronomy is like studying history because whenever we look at the night sky we look back in time. There are two reasons
for this. First, light has a finite speed and second, stars and galaxies are very far away from us. So it takes time for the light
from any astronomical object – star, galaxy, or planet – to reach us, depending on their distance. For example, light from
our nearest star – the Sun – takes a little more than eight minutes to reach us. Before we proceed any further, let us see
how we came to know that light travels with a finite speed. From our daily experience, light appears to travel instantly
from one point to another. If, for instance, we look at an electric light placed some two kilometres away and turn it on by a
remotely operated switch, light from the lamp appears to reach our eyes instantly. We do not perceive any delay between
switching it on and the light reaching our eyes.
The first known mention of the speed of light is found in a discourse between the 4th century Greek philosopher Aristotle
who penned his disagreement with another Greek scientist, Empedocles. Empedocles argued that because light moved, it
must take time to travel, but Aristotle, believing light to travel instantaneously, disagreed.
In 1676, the Danish astronomer Ole Roemer (1644–1710) became the first
person to measure the speed of light. Until that time, scientists assumed
that the speed of light was either too fast to measure or infinite. It was a
serendipitous discovery. Roemer, working at the Paris Observatory, was
not looking for the speed of light when he found it. Instead, he was
engaged in the compilation of extensive observations of the orbit of Io, the
innermost of the four big satellites of Jupiter discovered by Galileo in 1610.
By timing the eclipses of Io by Jupiter, Roemer hoped to determine a more
accurate value for the satellite’s orbital period.
Io goes once round Jupiter in 1.769 Earth days, and as it goes round the
planet the satellite is eclipsed by Jupiter once every orbit, as seen from the
Earth. By timing these eclipses over many years, Roemer noticed
Danish astronomer Ole Roemer was the
first person to measure the speed of light
The time interval between successive eclipses became steadily shorter as the Earth in its orbit moved toward Jupiter and
became steadily longer as the Earth moved away from Jupiter. The eclipses were delayed the most when Jupiter and Earth
were farthest apart, and were on time as they were closer. Roemer concluded that this was due to the difference in time
that light took to travel from Io to Earth.
From the data he had collected, Roemer estimated that when the Earth is nearest to Jupiter, eclipses of Io would occur
about 11 minutes earlier than predicted based, while 6.5 months later, when the Earth is farthest from Jupiter, the
eclipses would occur about 11 minutes later than predicted. He realised that the time difference must be due to the finite
speed of light. That is, light from the Jupiter’s satellite has to travel farther to reach the Earth when the two planets are
on opposite sides of the Sun than when they are closer together on the same side of the Sun. Roemer calculated that if
light required 22 minutes to cross the diameter of the Earth’s orbit then the speed of light could be found by dividing the
diameter of the Earth’s orbit by the time difference.
It was the Dutch scientist Christiaan Huygens, who first did
the calculation and found a value for the speed of light
equivalent to 2,10,824 km per second, the correct value
being 2,99,792 km per second. The difference was mainly
due to errors in Roemer’s estimate for the maximum time
delay of 22 minutes, the correct value being 16.7 minutes.
But more important than the exact answer was the fact that
Roemer’s data provided the first quantitative estimate for
the speed of light, and it was in the right direction. In 1905,
Albert Einstein in his first paper on special relativity
established that the speed of light is constant no matter
how fast the observer moves. He also calculated that the
speed of light does not vary with time or place. Taking
advantage of the extremely high speed of light,
astronomers measure distances in terms of ‘light years’,
which is the distance light travels in one year. In terms
of kilometres it is equal to just about 10 trillion
kilometres (9.4605284 × 1015 metres). In fact, a light-
year is a measure of both time and distance.
Roemer timed the eclipse of Jupiter's moon Io over several
months to determine the speed of light.
So, it should be clear now that light from all astronomical objects take time to reach us, depending on distance. For
instance, light from the Moon takes about one second to reach our eyes, which means the moon is about one light-second
away. Sunlight takes about eight minutes to reach our eyes, so the Sun is about eight light-minutes away. Light from the
nearest star beyond the Sun, Alpha Centauri, takes roughly 4.3 years to reach us, so it is said to be 4.3 light-years away.
As we move farther and farther away, it takes longer and longer for the light from the objects to reach us, and in effect, we
look farther and farther back in time. One of the most distant objects visible to the unaided eye is the Andromeda Galaxy,
which lies some 2.5 million light years away. Do you know what that means? The Andromeda Galaxy that we see today is
not what it is now, but as it was 2.5 million years ago, when modern humans had not yet appeared on Earth. No wonder,
the telescope has been called a ‘Time Machine’ that enables us to look back through time by studying progressively more-
When we look at Andromeda Galaxy we actually see it as it was 2.4 million years ago - long before humans appeared on Earth!
ASTRONOMY AT HOME - Parachute Launch
This time we are going to make our parachute and launch
it. But before that we are going to learn what a parachute
A parachute is a device used to slow the motion of an
object through an atmosphere and these are used in
rovers and by landing module of a rocket to slow down
their while landing on a surface. So, they are of great
importance in astronomy.
Now, let’s start with our parachute. First of all
arrange the following material:
Thin plastic circular sheet of diameter 45 cm,
Thread roll, Wood stick (not sharp), Scissors,
Bamboo stick around 40 cm long, A funnel cut
from two sides, PVC pipe, A long rubber band
and a Cello tape
1. First of all, take the circular plastic sheet
and tie 8 threads around the sheet at equal
2. After tying the
the sheet, take
the threads and
with the wooden
stick. We are
using the stick to
put weight on
should be equal.
3. As you will tie the wooden stick with the
threads, your parachute will be ready. Now
check your parachute by throwing it from a
height. You will observe that the parachute
will come down gently.
Now let’s make its launcher :
4. For making the launcher, take a funnel and cut it from two opposite sides.
5. Now stick the funnel at one of the sides of bamboo stick
6. Now take the PVC pipe with holes in it and a long rubber band strand. Stick the rubber
band on the pipe with the help of cello tape
7. After this put the pipe in the bamboo stick through the holes and tie the rubber band
to the free end of the stick. Now launcher is ready
8. Now keep the parachute on the launcher, stretch the PVC pipe tied with the rubber then
leave it towards the sky and enjoy your parachute descending slowly and gently.
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