GPBARC DECEMBER 2015 NEWSLETTER

G.P. BIRLA OBSERVATORY AND ASTRONOMICAL RESEARCH CENTRE

Phone: 040-23235081; Fax:040-23237266; Email:birlasc@gmail.com

ADARSH NAGAR, HYDERABAD – 500 063 (INDIA)

DECEMBER 2015 NEWSLETTER

This month there are many interesting astronomical events in the sky including Meteor Showerss and a Comet. In the early hours in December three Planets could be seen.

I PLANETS:

  1. Venus (Sukra) would be a morning star visible in the Eastern sky before sunrise.
  2. Jupiter (Brihaspati) too would rise very early morning in December. It is in Leo (Simha).
  3. Following Jupiter the lovely red Planet Mars (Mangal, Angaraka) would be rising in the East.

II COMETS:

Around 7th December the Comet Panstarrs reaches its brightest. Another Comet that may just be visible to the naked eye, though perhaps from the outskirts of the city is the Comet Catalina which can be seen in the Eastern sky in the early hours in December. From cities it might require binoculars to be visible.

III METEOR SHOWERS:

There would be three Meteor Showers this month:

  1. The Puppid-Velids Meteor Showers peek around the 9th December, even though the Meteor Showers can be seen after 17th November till January. One can expect a maximum of 15 meteors per hour from this shower.
  2. Geminids, which appear to radiate from the direction of Gemini (Mithuna). These could be seen between 8th and 17th December while generally they are easy to spot, this time round the conditions are somewhat unfavorable.
  3. Between 22nd and 23rd December one could see the Ursid Meteor Showers peeking. But meteors from this shower can be seen between 17th and 25th of December.

IV PHASES:

There would be a New Moon on the 11th of December. Around this date some of the fainter objects in the sky have a better chance of being seen. On 25th December (Christmas Day) there would be a Full Moon.

V SPECIAL EVENT:

There would be Winter Solstice on 22nd of December. On this date the Sun will rise at Southern most point from the East. It would also be the shortest day and the longest night.

VI OTHER EVENTS:

There would a special lecture on “100 Years of Einstein’s General Relativity” by Dr. B.G. Sidharth, Director, B.M. Birla Science Centre at 6.00 p.m. on the 5th of December.  The Amateur Astronomy Certificate Course would commence with this event. Registration is still open. For further details contact 23235081 or email birlasc@gmail.com.

VII RESEARCH:

The work of Dark Energy continues. Dr. B.G. Sidharth has argued that the earlier models of the Zero Pont Field, or Dark Energy operated at the Planck length. However this would be in the Quantum Foam—an ocean of Planck sized mini black holes. Then coherent behavior would appear which could be described by his Planck Oscillator Model or by his analysis of a Landau-Ginsburg Phase Transition, both leading from the Planck length to the Compton length. Similar work was done a few years ago by Beck and Mackey, though it is not clear to what the Phase Transition leads.

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