Starlit Sky: 12. Hydra constellation

continued from Starlit Sky: 11. Leo   Let us take a small diversion from Leo and find an interesting constellation. Modern astrology recognizes 88 constellations in the sky. The largest of them is the Hydra. It is called the Vasuki mandalam in the Indian Astrological System. It was recorded by the 2nd century astronomer Ptolemy…

Starlit Sky: 11. Leo

continued from Starlit Sky: 10. Cancer The next constellation that we shall identify is Leo or the Lion. It is called Simha Raasi in the Indian Astrological System. Leo is one of the most ancient of constellations. It has been found documented in Babylonian, Greek and Indian literatures. It is located east of Gemini. (If…

Starlit Sky: 10. Cancer

continued from Starlit Sky: 9. Gemini, the twins Let us now try and find out more about the constellation Cancer, called Karkatakam or Karka, the 4th constellation in the Indian Astrological system. This constellation has one of the faintest stars with apparent magnification not more than 4. So they are not visible to naked eye….

Starlit Sky: 9. Gemini, the twins

continued from Starlit Sky: 8. Auriga Shall we move on to another constellation that is quite near the Taurus? This one is Gemini. For refreshing go to Starlit Sky: 5. Taurus and Pleiades  and then come back here to continue. Look east wards from Taurus, or up northwards from Canis Minor in the sky. You will find…

Starlit Sky: 8. Auriga

continued from Starlit Sky: 7. Canis Minor   Now it is time to find some other constellation. Do you remember Taurus? The constellation of the bull? To refresh, go to Starlit Sky: 5. Taurus and Pleiades. Here we know the bright star Aldebaran, the eye of the bull and the horn of the bull Elnath….

Starlit Sky: 7. Canis Minor

continued from Starlit Sky: 6. Sirius, the brightest   We saw the Canis Major or the Greater Dog last week. Now you wouldn’t call a constellation “Greater Dog” unless there was another dog out there, would you? You would simply call it “Dog”! So yes, there is another constellation that looks like a small dog….

Starlit Sky: 6. Sirius, the brightest

continued from: Starlit Sky: 5. Taurus and Pleiades   Hope you all saw Orion and Taurus constellations in the night sky. Using the Orion constellation, we will go on and identify more stars and constellations. Let’s get right into it straightaway. By extending the belt of the hunter westwards, we had identified the Taurus constellation….

Starlit Sky: 5. Taurus and Pleiades

continued from Starlit Sky: 4. Orion Last week we saw the Orion or the hunter constellation. Extend the belt of the hunter westwards and you can see a very bright red/orange star. That is the Aldebaran star. It is the Rohini star in the Indian astronomical system. Aldebaran forms a part of the constellation Taurus. Taurus…

Starlit Sky: 4. Orion

continued from Starlit Sky: 3. Solar system   Look westwards on an April night at around 9 pm IST. You can clearly see a cluster of stars in the form given here. 4 bright stars in 4 corners, with 3 stars in the middle in a line, and another 3 fainter stars in a line…

Starlit Sky: 3. Solar system

continued from Starlit Sky: 2. Brightness of a star So far we have learnt that celestial objects in the sky can be stars, planets, comets etc and that seem to move east to west, they also have different brightness too. The stars in the sky also do not move from their apparent position. That means,…

Starlit Sky: 2. Brightness of a star

….contd from Starlit Sky: 1. Gazing up   When you look up at the sky, all the stars do not shine with the same intensity. Some are very bright and some not so much. Some of them are barely visible. The difference in the brightness between stars is measured using “apparent magnitude”. Apparent magnitude is the…

Starlit Sky: 1. Gazing up

When you look up at the night sky, you will see stars that give a feast to the eyes. Some of these are clustered together and some are spaced out. When we look at them, some of these clustered stars seem to remind us of familiar objects. We have grouped some of these clusters as…