Indira Gandhi Planetarium, Lucknow Veer Bahadur Singh Planetarium, Gorakhpur        Aryabhatt Planetarium, Rampur

Events

Solar Eclipse, Surajkund Park, Lucknow      15-01-2010

From all over the world, there was a rush of amateur astronomers, scientists and interested people towards South Asia to witness the longest Solar Eclipse of the millennium on 15th January, 2010. In India, the eclipse was annular for some parts of South India and was partial for rest of the parts.
A solar eclipse take place when the moon is between the Sun and the Earth. If the Moon completely covers the disk of the Sun, the eclipse is total; otherwise, it is partial. If the Moon is near to its apogee (a point on the Moon’s orbit where it is farthest from the Earth during its revolution around the Earth), the apparent angular size of the Moon is smaller than that of the Sun, and the eclipse is annular.
UP Amateur Astronomers Club (UPAAC) organized a programme, at Surajkund Park, Lucknow on 15th January, 2010, for the general public to watch and enjoy the solar eclipse safely (without harming their eyes). As mentioned above, this eclipse was a partial eclipse as seen from Lucknow (which lies in North India). Three telescopes with proper filters on them were mounted, a projector was used for the live telecast of the eclipse and many solar filter glasses were distributed among public to see the eclipse safely and with comfort and enjoyment. The sky was filled with fog as that was the time of mid-winter season and the fog was covering the eclipsed Sun behind it at the start of the eclipse. But everyone was getting the glimpses of the eclipse when the Sun appeared for sometimes during the eclipse. People were filled with excitement when they saw the Sun looking like a bitted apple. Gallery

Annular Solar Eclipse, Kanyakumari       15-01-10

People of India were lucky as they were going to witness the Annular Solar Eclipse after about six months when they had witnessed the Total Solar Eclipse, 09, which was visible from some parts of India. In India, this eclipse was visible to only some part of South India. Few members of UPAAC (Indira Gandhi Planetarium) went to Kanyakumari to watch and tried to capture this wonderful event in their camera. It was hard to say whether anybody would be able to view the annular solar eclipse or not as the sky was partially filled with clouds. But after sometime it seemed that the passing clouds were making the sight of the eclipse much more wonderful than expected because for sometimes people in South India were looking and taking pictures of the eclipse through thin layer of clouds as it reduced the intensity of the sun much enough to see the eclipse with naked eyes. On 15th Jan., 2010, the annular size of the moon was small as compared to the angular size of the sun (due to the revolution of moon in an elliptical orbit around the earth) and their positions were such that moon blocked the sunlight and cast its shadow on the earth. Because of the difference in the angular sizes of sun and moon, the moon could not cover the sun fully and the eclipse at its maximum looked like a ring often called as “The Ring of Fire”. And this type of eclipse is called as “Annular Solar Eclipse”. This was the longest solar eclipse of the millennium i.e. between 2001 and 3000. The eclipse started at around 11 am and ended around 3 pm while the annularity lasted for about 10 minutes. There was a large amount of reduction in the intensity of sunlight due to the obstruction of the moon. At last, our members had a good collection of eclipse pictures and a never forgetting experience with them. Gallery

Solar Eclipse, Kudiyaghat, Lucknow       22-7-2009

On 22nd July, 2010, some parts of India were going to witness the Total Solar Eclipse and other parts were going to witness a partial one.
A solar eclipse take place when the moon is between the Sun and the Earth. If the Moon completely covers the disk of the Sun, the eclipse is total; otherwise, it is partial. If the Moon is near to its apogee (a point on the Moon’s orbit where it is farthest from the Earth during its revolution around the Earth), the apparent angular size of the Moon is smaller than that of the Sun, and the eclipse is annular.
UP Amateur Astronomers Club (UPAAC) organized a programme for the public to see the eclipse with safety. Telescopes with filters and solar filter glasses were used to see the eclipse which reduces the intensity of the sunlight which could harm the eyes. At its maximum, the Moon covered 96% of the Sun’s disk which reduces the intensity of sunlight appreciably. The birds were shouting and flying over the sky as they were not understanding the reason for the fall in intensity of sunlight. The eclipse started at around 5:30 am and lasted till around 7:30 am. The monsoon clouds were covering most part of the sky but fortunately they were not blocking the Sun most of the time during the eclipse. That was an amazing sight to watch and a wonderful experience for the people. Gallery

Solar Eclipse, Ram Ghat, Varanasi       22-7-2009

India along with Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, central China and parts of Pacific Ocean were witness of complete solar eclipse that fell on Wednesday, July 22, 2009. This eclipse was the longest duration total solar eclipse of twenty-first century, and will not be surpassed in duration until June 13, 2132. Maximum duration of totality was 6 minutes and 39 seconds. In India, it was 4 minutes at Siliguri and the maximum duration of totality was in the Pacific Ocean about 100 km south of the Bonin Islands, southeast of Japan. This is longest since July 11, 1991, when a total eclipse lasting for 6 minutes 53 seconds was visible from Hawaii to South America. The exceptional duration of totality was the result of the moon being near perigee, with the apparent diameter of the moon 8% larger than the sun. This was the second in the series of three eclipses in one month duration, with the lunar eclipse on July 7, 2009 and the lunar eclipse on August 6, 2009.
The total solar eclipse was completely visible from various places in North Eastern and Central India such as Surat, Bhavnagar, Varodra, Indore, Ujjain, Bhopal, Sagar, Jabalpur, Varanasi, Gaya Patana, Bhagalpur, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh. Partial solar eclipse was seen in other parts of India. The entire Total Solar Eclipse as per Indian Standard Time (IST) was from 05:28 AM to 7:40 AM. The totality period in india was from 6:26AM to 6:30AM
On the morning of 22nd July 2009, Varanasi was the region where totality of the longest total solar eclipse of the 21st century cold be seen. Team consisted of 6 UPAAC members organized solar eclipse watching programme at Ramghat, bank of holy river Ganga. Two telescopes, two Binoculars & 500 solar Eclipse viewers were made available for public. Canon digital photo camera with Telephoto lens & video camera were available for UPAAC to capture the rare event. Varanasi turned out to be the best site to watch the eclipse in India as most other places got rain. There was intermittent cloud cover until before totality but that provided a chance to view the partial sun with naked eyes since the clouds acted as a filter too. Just before totality and later, there were simply no clouds cover.
Standing on the banks of the Ganga River that early morning of July 22, 2009 was a memorable experience which will never be forgotten. It was a real event but with surreal feelings as millions of people raised their voices in awe at a sight that can only be appreciated by seeing the entire panorama of the Varanasi ghats covered in a strange blue black canopy as the full solar eclipse took place. People took a plunge in the Ganga after the eclipse.

The events can be summarized as following:

5:30 AM: Partial solar eclipse in early morning hours. People in large number, gathered on Varanasi Ghats to enjoy this celestial event of the century. Sun shines brightly in the sky, with no clouds around.

6:15 AM: small patches of clouds in the sky before the total eclipse. Many people were praying for the clear sky.

6:24AM-6:27 AM : Sky was clear. As moon covers the sun, a magnificent diamond ring was visible and city goes into dusk shadow. Twinkling star dots & planets like Jupiter and Venus were visible in sky.

6:30 AM Sun was coming out slowly from the back of moon. People were still unable to believe that the spectacular phenomena they witnessed were an event of century.

7:30 AM: All Ghats were over crowed and lacs of people were taking bath in holy Ganga. Gallery

All Planets on the Same Night, kudiyaghat, Lucknow      02-06-07

June, 2007 was the month when one could see all the seven planets (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune) on one same night and 2nd June, 2007 was the date when all the planets were best visible that night (individual planet can be best visible at different time and with different time intervals but the overall visibility of all planets were good that night). It was a rare event to see all the planets on same night. So Indira Gandhi Planetarium organized a Night Sky Watching Programme on 2nd June, 07 on Kudiyaghat, Lucknow. Four telescopes (all having auto tracking features) were used so that general public could see this great event and three trained people on each telescope were handling the telescopes and guiding the public how to see the celestial bodies without disturbing the alignment of the telescopes. The main focus for telescopes in this event was Moon, Venus, Saturn and Jupiter. Each telescope was tracking only one celestial body. Everyone know that people are very much interested in the field of Astronomy and Astrophysics (specially young students) and this was clearly visible with the number of people who came to participate in this programme, the number was extremely large. The people from every age group (from children to old people) were there on Kudiyaghat, Lucknow to witness the event. They got very much excited when they saw Saturn’s rings and the satellites of Jupiter. This was the first ever Night Sky Watching Programme for general public organized by Indira Gandhi Planetarium and this was the start of a chain of these types of programme where an ordinary common person can admire the wonder of the heaven. Gallery

Regular Night Sky Watching Programs     

Indira Gandhi Planetarium organizes regular “Night Sky Watching Programmes” for the public and students at various schools, colleges and other locations in Lucknow. In these programmes, telescopes are mounted for the public and students so that they can view beautiful nebulae, planets, planets’ satellites, stars and other celestial bodies through them. A movie on the information about our universe is played in these programmes and every astronomy enthusiast can ask their astronomy related questions from the members of the UP Amateur Astronomers Club (UPAAC), an Astronomy Club run by Indira Gandhi Planetarium. Presentations are also given by the club members to enhance the knowledge of our universe among people. Gallery

Regular Sun Observing Programs     

Indira Gandhi Planetarium organizes regular “Sun Observing Programmes” for the public and students at various schools, colleges and other locations in Lucknow. In these programmes, Solar Telescopes are mounted for the public and students so that they can view magnified image of the Sun in which one can clearly see the features of the Sun (like prominences, sun spots, granules and others). People can ask their astronomy related questions from the members of the UP Amateur Astronomers Club (UPAAC), an Astronomy Club run by Indira Gandhi Planetarium. Presentations are also given by the club members to enhance the knowledge of our universe among people. Gallery