Celebrating the birthday of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, the great Indian visionary whose contribution for the upliftment of the backward classes in India is incomparable, SWAN, in association with North Bengal Science Centre, had organized a Science Outreach session for the underprivileged students of a local school. The students visited the Science Museum, attended science shows and presentation sessions and participated in a quiz competition.
Navoneel is a biennial Astronomy fest organized by SWAN and is one is of its kind in West Bengal, if not India. Organized in the month of November 3rd to 6th, this 4th episode of NAVONEEL saw a footfall of over 12,000 and made its mark in astronomy outreach in India. The four day fest comprised of an astrophotography exhibition, astronomy workshops, open discussion sessions, quiz competitions and was concluded with LIVE moon observation through several telescopes on the final day. Also, school teams from twelve schools and colleges competed each other in the inter institute Demonstration Competition.
SWAN had organized a Daytime Astronomy and Solar Observation camp at Army Public School, Bengdubi on 22nd April, 2016. The event comprised of indoor presentations on Basic Astronomy and Planetary motion. An outdoor workshop on Safe Solar Observation and building simple Sun Projectors with materials available in every household was organized too. Touching over 500 students, teachers and staff members of the school, SWAN showed the Sun to every individual through an 8” Cassegrain Telescope.
SWAN's Image of "Super Moon"
Super Moon as seen from our location Siliguri, India. After day long shower- when all hopes were lost. Then finally, it smiled up at late evening after 8:30PM- the Full Moon at Perigee. Changed plan, took a Hasty decision and our Junior members made the set up ready by 30 min. But yes, many of our enthusiastic friends and members missed it as we had to cancel our schedule program at Baghajatin Park due to heavy rain. Thanks to all for your encouragement and support.
Relative apparent sizes of Perigee full Moon and Average Full Moon. Image Credit: Sky & Telescope
Approaching ‘Perigee Full Moon’ or as it is called now- Supermoon.
Now, being called as ‘Supermoon,’ an apparently large sized Moon is going to appear on our sky next 23rd June. This will be any Full Moon’s closest encounter in 2013. But yes, nothing to get too much excited- this happens once in every 14 months.
This is actually known as ‘Perigee Full Moon.’ Moon moves around Earth on its orbit which is not a perfect circle. So, Moon goes far from Earth and also comes closer to Earth. The closest point to Earth on the orbit is called Perigee and farthest point is called Apogee. At the same time, due to Earth Moon Sun relative position, Moon keeps on showing us different phases. If a full Moon takes place when the Moon is very close to perigee , the round Moon appears to be bigger. Then it is called ‘Perigee Full Moon’ or recently ‘Super Moon.’ But ‘Supermoon’ is not a recognized term for this.
On the 23rd June, Moon at its Full Moon phase will be at 356,991 km from Earth at 11:32 UT or 17:02 IST, just after 22 minutes of crossing its actual perigee point in orbit. The next Full Moon at perigee will be 10th August 2014. Distance between earth and moon will be 356,896 km. Next is September 28th 2015. November 14th 2016 will find Moon even closer at 356,509 km distance. The next first Full Moon at Perigee, closer than 356500 km will be on Nov 25th 2034. And, closer than 356400 km 1st January 2257. Last time Perigee Full Moon was that close on the January 14th 1930.
There is not any special influence of Perigee Full moon in our life though this close encounter may cause certain higher level of tide at places.
Honorable Chief Minister of Sikkim Mr. Pawan Chamling visiting our stall
Being invited by the organizers and as a part of our on-going Astronomy outreach program, we have taken an initiative to make our presence felt at the Festival 2013 at City center, Siliguri, Northern West Bengal, India. ground. Without any commercial activities there, SWAN’s stall had display of its images, gallery or instruments to encourage students to get deeper into space science. We also organized free academic materials or software distribution too.
Apart from all these, our instant Walk-In Quiz had become a major point of attraction. Out of over hundred participants in that, 28 could attain the qualifying mark. They were rewarded with gift coupons provided by a commercial organization.
From the very colorful and encouraging beginning of the event through footfall of Honorable Chief minister of Sikkim Mr. Pawan Chamling at our stall, this initiative of us went excellent so far.
SWAN’s Jalpaiguri unit organized a Night Sky observation event especially dedicated to the ‘Mothers’ of the locality. Engulfing majesty of the night sky is awe-inspiring for all. But finding time to enjoy that after getting out of day to day work load is a Herculean job for the home makers. SWAN came forward here with its extended hands to these house wives, home makers for whom, the best identity is the ‘Mothers.’ It was evening 23rd Feb 2013.
Daily hazards is difficult, especially for mothers. But enthusiasm folk them together to spend a few hours in a different way in the evening of 23.02.2013. 7:00pm -9:30pm.
Under the guidance of SWAN president Dr. Rekha Kahali, around 30 participants were given an idea about them movement of stars, shown bright stars like Sirius, Canopus, Betelgeuse, Procyon, Capella. Planet Jupiter was a major point of attraction. They also had telescoping experience with a MEADE ETX 90. Major craters of 13 days old Moon were show to them.
Getting prepared for the great encounter of 15th. Asteroid vs Earth. Been to a location to find a suitable spot to try to capture the once in lifetime event on 15th-16th Feb IST Midnight. Had a plan to do a star trail series. But sky got cloudy, left it.
A small asteroid 2012 DA14 will come within many of Earth’s artificial satellite’s orbits, especially those are in geostationary orbit at an altitude of around 36,000km. The small asteroid of around 45 meter diameter may come as close as 3.2 Earth radii (Around 20,000km) at 19:26 UTC on February 15, 2013 or 00:26 hr 16th February 2013 IST. Though so close, its brightness will remain much lesser than needed for it to become visible with naked eye. SWAN will try to shoot it.
This 2013 close approach to Earth will reduce the orbital period of 2012 DA14 from 366 days to 317 days. The next notable close approach of that to Earth will be on 16 February 2046 when the asteroid will pass no closer than 0.0004 AU (60,000km; 37,000 mi) from the center-point of Earth.
SWAN dedicated its activities on the 64th Indian Republic Day TO THE BRAVE INDIAN SOLDIERS WHO HAVE SACRIFICED THEIR LIVES FOR THE NATION.
And for this, we organized a large scale sky watching camp at Indian Army Base at Sukna.
SWAN remained an integral part of the academics of three nature Study camps organized by local NGOs at many Himalayan hilly locations from 26th to 29th December.
SWAN observed the Southern Solstices day on the 21st December 2012 In collaboration with North Bengal Science Center, National Council of Science Museum.
SWAN organized astronomy exhibition NAVONEEL 2012, from 21st to 23rd September 2012., the first of its kind in Eastern India, in association with Department of Information and Cultural affairs, Govt of West Bengal was the collaborator.
Successful LIVE webcast of the Venus Transit on 6th June 2012. From 10.30 (UTC)