Tag Archives: Astronomy

Once in a Blue Moon!

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Rare phenomenon  need to be captured through extraordinary attempts. My extraordinary was to be stationed at same place for more than two hours clicking images at regular intervals. But not a big ask when one has to capture a rare spectacle of Super Blood Blue Moon.

To me what was more exciting is the fact that there were many enthusiasts at the India Gate waiting anxiously to watch this rare astronomical event. It was also heartening to see that many had come by shedding their myths about an eclipse. There were many who had a look to the moon through my telephoto lens.

‘Space’ had also organised this event by putting up a telescope at India Gate lawns along with few scientists to give a pep talk about the event. Although clouds played a spoilsport when they almost hid the moonrise and than most part of the eclipse from touch to the complete, thus depriving viewers of the Blood Moon views. Blue moon views were still good.

Second part of the efforts started with processing of the photos and mixing multiple exposures. With a event like this, which is viewed and captured by millions across the globe, it is worth to present the images differently. For me individually, these were first attempts of this type.

You can also watch a time-lapse video of this two hour phenomenon summed up in a 25 second video on my youtube channel by clicking the link below-

Did you watch this year’s Super Blood Blue Moon on 31st January? How was your experience? Share in the comments section below.

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A Supermoon on a night so revered!

It is one of the most awaited celestial phenomenon of the year- the Supermoon. This year it was special as moon was closest to earth  since 1948. It was just 356, 509 kilometres away. For us Indians, the supermoon night was one of the most auspicious full moon night of the year- Kartik Purnima or the full moon day of the Kartik month of the hindu calendar.

Skygazers took to high-rise buildings, tourist landmarks and beaches worldwide on Monday to catch a glimpse of the closest supermoon in almost seven decades. Many of enthusiastic Indians enjoyed the sight of the moon while taking dip in waters of many holy rivers. Actually, on the occasion of Kartik Purnima people take dip in the rivers considered to be holy. This bath is taken mostly in the early hours of the full moon day. It is considered to be the one of the most auspicious days of the year. Incidentally, this is the day when founder of the Sikh religion- Guru Nanakdev was born.

So, like the enthusiasts around the world, I too was waiting for the grand day to capture some precious moments. I even tried to test my photography skills a day before and this was the result post correction-

Prelude to the supermoon, the night before!

On the eventual day, I traveled a bit to look for a clear view of the moon. I was finally able to manage at a place. It was fascinating to see, how the colours and brightness of the moon kept changing as it moved on to journey upward from horizon to sky.

You can see for yourself-

Reddish orange at the time of moonrise

It turned from red to yellow-


… and also bit brighter-





There is a lot of difference between what is seen through a naked eye and what is seen through a telephoto lens.  It is said that this supermoon was 14 percent larger and over 30 percent brighter. But that is not enough difference to notice by a common viewer through naked eye. See for yourself-



Well, and finally it shed all its colours to become full bright, still equally charming, first this-


…. and this-


Supermoons are quite common and appear on our sky once every 14 months on a average. This year (2016) itself had six super moons and  months of October, November and December are going to have three consecutive super moons, this year.

Will end the post with another post-correction view of the Supermoon-


You missed it? Don’t worry, we are going to have another supermoon on 14th December, slightly smaller than yesterday’s one. But talking of closer than yesterday? That will now be only in 2034 when moon will be another 64 kms closer than yesterday’s supermoon. Not a big deal. Isn’t it!

Sun aligns with Abu Simbel Temple in Aswan

Abu_SimbelThe Sun fell perpendicularly on the face of the Statue of King Ramses II in Abu Simbel Temple in Aswan on Saturday, 22nd February 2014. The unique astronomical phenomenon, which occurs twice a year, started at about 6:23 am and lasted for 20 minutes. The sun-struck event was seen by 5,000 tourists along with Social Solidarity Minister, Aswan Governor, 30 Ambassadors and representatives of the world media and press. The sun falling perpendicularly on Ramses II face at Abu Simbel Temple, a rare astronomical and engineering phenomenon, happens on February 22, the day he ascended to the throne and October 22, his birthday, every year. On these two days of the year, shafts of sunlight enter the temple and illuminate the statues of the great King Ramses II himself, and the two sun gods to which he dedicated the temple – Re-Horakhte and Amen-Re – but not touching Ptah, the god of darkness, who is seated next to them.

Not only are the two temples at Abu Simbel among the most magnificent monuments in the world but their removal and reconstruction was an historic event in itself. When the temples (280 km from Aswan) were threatened by submersion in Lake Nasser, due to the construction of the High Dam, the Egyptian Government secured the support of UNESCO and launched a world wide appeal. During the salvage operation which began in 1964 and continued until 1968, the two temples were dismantled and raised over 60 meters up the sandstone cliff where they had been built more than 3,000 years before. Here they were reassembled, in the exact same relationship to each other and the sun, and covered with an artificial mountain. Most of the joins in the stone have now been filled by antiquity experts, but inside the temples it is still possible to see where the blocks were cut. You can also go inside the man made dome and see an exhibition of photographs showing the different stages of the massive removal project.

The Temple of Re-Harakhte (The Sun Temple of Ramsis II)

The hypostyle hall of the Great Temple, with eight Osiris pillars
The hypostyle hall of the Great Temple, with eight Osiris pillars

The main temple was dedicated to Ramsis II and to the four universal gods Ptah, Re-Harakhte, Amun-Re, and to Ramsis II himself. Of the seven temples he built, Abu Simbel is considered to be the most impressive. Above the doorway in a niche stands the sun god, a falcon headed representation of Ramsis, holding a war-scepter which shows the head and neck of an animal which is read as user, in his right and a figure of Ma’at in his left. This setup ingeniously creates the Kings Throne name of User-Ma’at-Re. At the top of the facade is a row of baboons which are thought to be greeting the morning sun and indeed the monument looks best at that time. The sides of the thrones next to the entrance are decorated with Nile gods symbolically uniting Egypt, while below are prisoners, representing conquered nations, to the left, African and to the right, Asian. The entrance leads into a Grand Hall which is 57 feet high and 52 feet wide and was cut from the rock. It is supported with eight pillars with statues of Ramsis. To either side of the Grand Hall are smaller rooms, two to the South and four to the North. Most suggest that these rooms were for storage (treasure rooms) but elsewhere it is suggested that they were used for festivals related to the Kings Jubilee. Beyond the Grand Hall is the second hypostyle hall with its flowered pillars. Scenes in this hall show the King and his wife, Nefertari making offerings to Amun and Re-Harakhte (the Sun God), and beyond that is the three chapels, the central one containing the four deities worshipped in the temple (including Ramsis II).

Nefertari’s Temple of Hathor (Abu Simbel – Small Temple)

Abu_Simbel_Small_templeHathor was the wife of the Sun God so in a symbolic way, the two Temples, that of Ramsis II and that of Nefertari, brings Ramsis II and Nefertari and Hathor and the Sun God together as one. The facade of the temple is a receding Pylon, just as the larger temple of Ramesses II. On either side of the entrance to the temple is a deified statue of Nefertari with statues of Ramsis II on either side of her. The statues of Nefertari are the same height as those of Ramsis, which is unusual. Like at Ramsis II’s temple, there are children depicted around their feet. There are cobras protecting the Temple door.

This temple is much simpler than the Temple of Re-Herakhte. It has only one hypostyle hall and the sanctuary. Within the hall are images of Ramsis in battle with Nefertari present. Other scenes depict Ramsis being crowned by Horus and Seith and presenting Ma’at to Amun. On the back wall, Nefertari is before Hathor and Mut. Just behind the Hypostyle Hall is a small chamber with images of Hathor cow framed in reeds. Beyond that is the sanctuary with a divine cow emerging from the rear rock wall protecting Ramsis, below her. Above the cow, vultures guard the Queens cartouches. Other scenes show Nefertari offering incense to Mut and Hathor, and the King worshipping before his own image and that of Nefertari.