Sunday, March 28, 2010

Meeting a Participant of CAP2010 : Nepalese Delegate Riwaj Pokhrel

Communicating Astronomy With The Public - CAP2010, was successfully held from 15–19 March, 2010 in Cape Town, South Africa. This was a platform where different countries got together and discussed how each of them contributed towards the general theme of communicating astronomy with public, There were sessions where delegates from many places of the world demonstrated how they interacted with law and order generally covering the message of beauty and importance of astronomy especially in IYA2009, which was the international year of astronomy.

I had earlier planned to visit CAP2010, but financial problems in finding the necessary funds failed me. It would have been great if anyone from Sri Lanka could be there, but unfortunately nobody managed. :( If Sri Lanka was represented there we would also have had the chance of sharing with the rest of the world, what we really did, located as a small island in Indian Ocean.

However I did manage to meet a participant who was there @ CAP2010, He was the Nepalese representative, namely Riwaj Pokhrel. Actually he was on his way home and had to wait for a transit flight in Sri Lanka. He landed here in 21st evening and I and my colleague Thilina Heenatigala managed to meet him at around 7:00 pm local time.

In fact we were coming home after the Ask An Astronomer session with Prof. Michael, of which I had blogged in my last post. As we were coming home, Riwaj phoned us and told us about his arrival in Sri Lanka. After a some time of wandering, we met Riwaj at the Fort Railway Station in Colombo. In fact this was the 1st time we met him. We checked for the transit flight schedule and it was due in the afternoon the following day (22nd March) from Katunayake to New Delhi.

We spent that night at my place at Piliyandala, which is about 1 hour drive away from Colombo. Till late night we talked about astronomy and outreach in our countries and especially about CAP, and shared loads of information with some serious talk and laughter as well.

Riwaj was a nice guy and I found him always to be enthusiastic whenever during his stay in Sri Lanka. I also knew of Suresh, a colleague of Riwaj, whom I befriended via FB and he is also a collaborator of NASO, the Nepal Astronomical Society. However I am yet to meet this guy. In fact Riwaj is a research student of astrophysics at Central Department of Physics(CDP) of Tribhuvan University(TU), Nepal.

The next Morning we went to the Mt. Lavinia beach few kilometers away from Piliyandala and had some fun together, We captured some cool sets of pictures in our cameras and enjoyed it.
Soon it was time for Riwaj to be off to the airport and we bid au revoir to him from Colombo.

I'm looking forward to visiting Nepal and meeting these friends in the times to come, Let's home I will be able to do that sooner rather than later !

Contributor: Prasanna Deshpriya, Colombo, Sri Lanka

The original Post can be found at :

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Impact of Astronomical Outreach in Nepalese Society,CAP2010, cape Town, SOuth Africa, March 15-19,2010

Mr.Riwaj Pokhrel, who is ppne of the founder member of Nepal Astronomcal Society (NASO)and also a research student of astrophyiscs at Central Department of Physics(CDP) of Tribhuvan University(TU), has left for South Africa this afternoon in order to participate in a conference entitled 'Communicating Astronomy with the Public 2010 (CAP 2010) — Building on the International Year of Astronomy 2009' (for details go to: which is going to be held in Ritz Hotel, Sea Point, Cape Town, South Africa during 15–19 March, 2010.

Duirng the conference, he will perssent a paper entitled Impact of Astronomical Outreach in Nepalese Society .He will be discussing about the academic status of astronomy and satrophysics in Nepal mainly focusing on astronomical outreach that were carried out during IYA2009 and its imptact in Nepalese Society. he will discuss about the future possibilities of Astronomy in Nepal.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Night Sky In March 2010

- By Rishi Shah

The night skies of this month exhibit the grandeur of the planets and the silent beauty of the stars and the constellations along with many marvels of our universe. As it darkens the zodiacal constellations of Aries (ram), Taurus (Bull), Gemini (twins), Cancer (crab), Leo (lion) and Virgo (maiden) are seen unfurling magnificently across the sky from western to eastern horizon. Constellations Auriga (charioteer) with its conspicuously coruscating star Capella (Brahma Ridaya) that is circa fourty two light-years away is floating dominatingly almost overhead in the evening sky. Constellations Perseus (Greek legendary hero), Andromeda (chained princess) and hazy Lynx (animal) joined by bland camelopardalis (giraffe) are creeping towards western horizon. Weired asterism dubbed Kemble’s cascade containing virutally twenty stars imperceptiblyt in straight row stretching over five times full moon’s width bejewels faint long-necked constellation Camelopardalis. Sandwiched between east of Auriga and north of Perseus and Auriga in the barren realms of sky and looking like exquisitely gleaming beads in a string it seems to run into open star cluster NGC 1502 that houses barely forty five stars with two fine so-called struve. It has been named after astronomy enthusiast Francisacan and amateur astronomer from Saskatchewan, Canada Father Lucian Kemble (1922 - 1999). ngc 1502 is fairly 68 hundred light-years away. Asterism is queer recognized pretty pattern of unrelated stars that do not belong to the official eighty eight constellations. For example the big dipper or plough within Ursa Major (great bear) is one of the remarkably renowned shapes and moon’s diameter is practically four thousand kilometers.

Consisting of modestly one hundred stars that are sheer two hundred million years old the charming open star cluster M34 decorates perseus. It is orbiting in the plane of our galaxy and will eventually disperse due to the gravitational forces during the encounter with our galaxy’s interstellar clouds and stars. It is moderately eighteen hundred light-years away. Experts argue that our Sun could have evolved from similar open star cluster over four billion years ago. Colloquially known as Demon Star, arcane eclipsing binary star Algol glistens bewitchingly in Perseus it is a baffling three-star system in which bigger and bright primary Beta Persei A is regulqarly eclipsed by the dingy Beta Persei B. Its magnitude periodically dips imperceptibly every three days for utter ten hours. Algol is solely nineteen light-years away. Since it is ostensibly resembles the outline of the US State of California, relatively faded emission California Nebula (NGC1499) embellishes Perseus. It is one thousand light-years away. It was discovered by famous American astronomer Edward Emerson Berhnard in 1884.

Detected by famed French astronomer Pierre Mechain in 1780 the attractive planetary little Dumbbell Nebula, (alias Messier76, NGC650/651, Barbell Nebula, or Cork Nebula) adorns Perseus. It is sparsely twenty five hundred light-years away and obtains its name from its look-alike Dumbbell Nebula (M27) in constellation Vulpecula (fox) that occupies the region of sky with striking imaginary summer triangle sketched by lurid stars Deneb, Altair (Sravana) and Vega associated to Cygnus (swan), Aquila (eagle) and Lyra. It is drifting towards us at roughly nineteen kilometers per second.

Pentagon-alike constellation Bootes (herdsman), petite Canes Venatici (hunting dogs) and dinky Coma Bernices (Bernice’s hair) are climbing the eastern sky. Quaint orange red binary giant star Arcturus (Swati) sparkles mystically in Bootes. It is basically thirty eight light-years away. Its surface oscillates slightly and is dashing perculiarly at over one hundred kilometers per second. Its closest approach to Sun would happen in four thousand years. Arcturus is perhaps travellling with a group of fifty two stars.

Planets Mercury and Venus manifest their resplendent presence proudly in western sky after sundown, as they hurry through Pisces. Ruddy planet Mars is glowing fascinatingly in Cancer. Jupiter cna be glimpsed before sunup in Aquarius during the end of month. Ringed planet Saturn arrives at opposition on 21 March.

Signifying the changing seasons, the vernal equinox is experienced on 20 March with Sun crossing directly over earth’s equator from south to north and the duration of day and night is per se being equal worldwide. This date is also important in Christianity, since holy Easter takes place traditionally on that first Sunday after the first full moon after vernal equinox. The new moon falls on 15 March (Ghode Jatra festival), while full moon (Popularly nicknamed full worm moon) occurs on 30 March. Venerated Chaitra Dashain and Ram Navami are respectfully celebrated on 23 and 24 March.
Source: The Rising Nepal, National English Daily, March 3,2010