02/03/2010 at 12:41 am (Astronomy) (, , , , , , )

The best way to welcome the month of March was by star gazing. It was a lovely night and a lot of stars were visible.

While I’m not an expert or even a beginner in the study of astronomy, I still love the stars – and capable of finding my favourites among them.

Here’s a picture of my favourite star — Aldebaran (also known as Alpha Tauri). Of course I love the sun, but it doesn’t look like a star. Aldebaran is very big (itsย  diameter 40 times that of our sun) and orange in colour. Can be easily identified because it lies between the Orion constellation and Pleiades (the seven Sisters star cluster) on the head of Taurus constellation. It’s the brightest star in Taurus constellation as well as one of the brightest stars in the sky (approx. 13th brightest) despite the distance of 65 light years.

Aldebaran - The most beautiful star

The Taurus Constellation - the very bright red star is Aldebaran. The blue cluster of stars is Pleiades.

Here’s another picture for people like me – lovers of stars but not really into the serious stuff.

Animated image showing the location of Taurus.

None of the images above are mine. The links are given with the images and provide more details of the beautiful star.

The Arabic name Aldebaran literally means “the follower”,ย  since it seems to be following the Pleiades. The role of Aldebaran changes from legend to legend. But in most of these Aldebaran isย  “the follower”.

I first came across the name while watching Ben-Hur. One of the four chariot horses were named Aldebaran (other three are Rigel, Altair, Antares).

A big thank goes to my brother who is interested in astronomy. He taught me how to read the map and find the stars.


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Annular Solar Eclipse

15/01/2010 at 3:49 pm (Astronomy) (, , , )

I may never get to see a total solar eclipse in my lifetime — but I saw the next best thing: annular solar eclipse ๐Ÿ™‚

Wait… that is wrong… I happen to live in an area where it was possible to witness a partial annular solar eclipse. Here it is… I managed to photograph it without damaging my camera or eyes (hopefully)

The annular solar eclipse, in all its glory, was seen by people in Northern parts of Sri Lanka — cities like Jaffna. We only got a partial view…

1.15 PM, 15th January 2010

1.25 PM, 15th January 2010

1.35 PM, 15th January 2010

1.45 PM, 15th January 2010

1.55 PM, 15th January 2010

2.05 PM, 15th January 2010

A Total eclipse in the umbra. B Annular eclipse in the ant-umbra. C Partial eclipse in the penumbra

Today the sky was very clear without clouds and the sun was shining very bright and hot. Then gradually it got a bit cool and less bright but the sunlight was still there. The other partial eclipses I have seen didn’t cause any change to temperature or light.

Well we have our beautiful sun bright and shining again ๐Ÿ™‚ life goes on and I still have my dream of witnessing a total eclipse ๐Ÿ™‚

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