Sunday, November 23, 2014

Astronomy and Me

During my stay in Delhi from April 2011 to June 2013 I rarely looked up at Sky in night sky to look for celestial bodies except on few Occasions when I used to track ISS or sometimes used to look after Moon rise on Karwa Chauth for my Mom, it was not that I was not interested in watching them but star gazing is bit difficult there because of Pollution and so much of surrounding light which hinders in locating stars. Now I am living in Pune and that too on its periphery where beyond our Colony there is not much civilization and hence not much light source in night. Also sometimes I return late from Office at midnight or early morning and that is the time which is best to watch stars. I keep on my Smarphone Google Skymap app, everytime I am intrigued to any Star or Planet or any celestial body I just open that app and point that towards that body and it tells accurately about what that body is and then I google about it to know more about it.

When I was kid and living in Betul(M.P.) one of my Father's Colleague had a Telescope with him which he made by himself, one fine day he called my Father at his home for star gazing, luckily my Father took my with himself. After reaching his home we straight went at the roof where he had placed his Telescope. If I correctly remembers the Moon had just set and we missed watching craters of the moon but there was something else he pointed out to, after some adjustments he called my father to look into the eyepiece of Telescope and it was Saturn, I waited for my turn to come up and finally it came and I watched on, you can see the rings of Saturn clearly and it was bright both rings and planet itself, the planet about which you only read in text books and saw images of it and its rings was there in front of you and it looked so real this time. That opened my mind a little about Astronomy. 

Also it is such a privilege to be born in a country which is one of the few nations which our doing a great job in Space Explorations. We have all grown up with how successful the PSLV program has been for ISRO which launches satellites of not only us but many other countries although the heavier version of it GSLV has some shortfalls but now it is on its path and GSLV Mach III version would soon be launched  next month which would open possibilities of sending a Manned mission to space in future. Needless to say the success of Chandryan and Mangalyaan(MOM) which made people of outside world to think about India beyond the Cows, Corruption and Cricket.

Also today I want to discuss about the astonishing marvels that had happened in Space travel in the entire world. US and USSR are the pioneers in Space technology. We all know Yuri Gagarin and Valentina Tereshkova both from Soviet union were first man and woman in Space but Alan Shepard from was the first US astronaut and second person after Yuri to travel in Space. The race to send the first person in space was so intense that Yuri made it to space only less than a month a before Alan. Soviet won this battle but US had to show their supremacy over them. This culminated Apollo mission to land a man on Moon.

I would not go into details of Apollo mission firstly there are lots of things and second I don't know much about it too. While I guess we all know that in 1969 on board Apollo 11 mission Neil Armstrong became the first person to land on Moon followed by Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins remained in the lunar orbit while Neil and Buzz explored the moon but not many of today's generation have any idea that total of 12 US astronauts have landed on moon on six Apollo missions in between 1969 and 1972 and in later mission astronauts have spend days and nights on moon and they also had rovers to roam around moon.

Eugene Cernan Commander of Apollo 17 mission was the last person to be on moon now that is a fact to remember. Little we did know that before Apollo 11 landed on Moon few months back three Astronauts on board Apollo 8 mission became first human beings to leave earths orbit and they went towards Moon and became first human beings to enter lunar orbit and spent around a day in lunar orbit and they were also the first human beings to watch the dark side of moon in person.

We discussed about Alan Shepard the first US Cosmonaut in Space there is one more fact left about him, he commandeered the Apollo 14 mission on moon and became the fifth person to land on Moon and he was the oldest too at the age of 47. There is one  more thing I would like to tell that there are three astronauts who have been on voyage to Moon twice Eugene Cernan and John Young orbited the moon on Apollo 10 mission and they both landed on moon on Apollo 17 and 16 mission respectively, Jim Lovell I should say was the most unlucky astronaut on Apollo mission firstly he flew in lunar orbit on Apollo 8 mission which did not intended to land on moon just like Apollo 10 mission also he was to land on fateful Apollo 13 mission on moon but due to an explosion on his way to moon he returned with the crew after just circling once around moon.

All the missions that landed on moon had three astronauts two of them had to land on lunar surface while the other one would revolve around in lunar orbit and did his experiments from there. So its been around 40 years that we have been on moon and after that no human has ever left earths orbit which I found to be a bit strange but this was all done because of the competition that was between Soviets and Americans, one of my wish is to watch a person land on Mars in my lifetime that would be so fun.

There is so much to talk about astronomy the planets, the moons of the planets, the interplanetary missions, the exo planets and so on but I think I should stop here today. I hope some people who have read this post might have gained a little more about the outside world.

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