Sunday, February 24, 2013

Whirlpool Galaxy - spectacular portrait!

See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download 
the highest resolution version available.
Whirlpool Galaxy portrait NASA APOD
The breath-taking portrait of Whirlpool Galaxy M51 published February 24, 2013 in APOD is a digital combination of images taken from Hubble space telescope and from the 0.9 meter telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory, Tucson, Arizona.
"For the amateur, M51 is easy and a showpiece if the sky is dark, but is quite sensitive for light pollution which easily makes it fade in the background. Under very good conditions, even suggestions of its spiral arms can be glanced with telescopes starting from 4-inch. Low magnification is best for viewing this pair."
Messier Object 51

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Cosmic Art! Great Nebula in Orion

Infrared image of Great Nebula in Orion

APOD images are regularly breath-taking. Sometimes they go beyond even this and can truly be called Cosmic Art!

Click here to see the original WISE photo APOD February 13 2013

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Stars and Kumbh Mela

Visit the BBC photo gallery on Kumbh Mela
Space Theology of different kind - Astrology in action!

So far away from Western world - and so near - some 30 million people follow the guidance of stars in the biggest human gathering in Allahabad today.

Soutik Biswas reports for BBC News
This is the most auspicious of six bathing days at the event, billed as the biggest human gathering.

More than eight million took to the waters on the opening day, 14 January.

Hindus believe a festival dip at Sangam - where the rivers meet - will cleanse sins and help bring salvation.

In all, up to 100 million pilgrims are expected to bathe in the holy waters in January and February at the 55-day Kumbh Mela, which is held every 12 years.

This occasion is also a Maha Kumbh Mela, which comes round only once every 144 years.

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The Kumbh Mela has its origins in Hindu mythology.

Many believe that when gods and demons fought over a pitcher of nectar, a few drops fell in the cities of Allahabad, Nasik, Ujjain and Haridwar - the four places where the Kumbh festival has been held for centuries. The Kumbh Mela is a mass pilgrimage in which Hindus gather in locations along the holy rivers Ganges, Yamuna and the mythical river Saraswati.

There are three different kinds of kumbh: an ardh (or half) kumbh is held every six years at two set locations; a purna (full) kumbh is held every 12 years at four set locations.

The 2013 gathering is a Maha Kumbh and that only happens after 12 purna kumbhs, every 144 years, and always at Allahabad.

Astrology determines most aspects of the festival, including its exact date and length.
Soutik Biswas
Read the entire article in BBC News February 10 2013