GPBARC JANUARY 2016 NEWSLETTER

G.P. BIRLA OBSERVATORY AND ASTRONOMICAL RESEARCH CENTRE

Phone: 040-23235081; Fax:040-23237266; Email:birlasc@gmail.com

ADARSH NAGAR, HYDERABAD – 500 063 (INDIA)

JANUARY 2016 NEWSLETTER

THE SKY IN JANUARY:

I PLANETS:

  1. Around the 4th of January the Earth comes closest to the sun, though it may look paradoxical because in the Northern hemisphere this is the height of winter. That is because the temperatures on the Earth are not correlated with the distance from the Sun. Venus (Sukra) would be a morning star visible in the Eastern sky before sunrise.
  • The Planets Venus (Sukra) and Saturn (Sani) pass very close to each other on the 8th of January.
  • In the early morning sky in January, around the 9th, the Planets Venus (Sukra) and Saturn (Sani) come close to the star Antares (Jyeshta), which is a bright reddish star in Scorpius. They will be visible in the Eastern sky before sunrise.
  • Uranus and Neptune come close to one another around 15th January, while at the same time the Planets Venus (Sukra), Mars (Mangal), Jupiter (Brihaspati) and Saturn (Sani) can be seen in the early morning. This is a congregation that is not very common.
  • On the 27th of January the Moon and Jupiter (Brihaspati) come close to one another.
  • Through this month the Planet Mercury (Budha) is not visible because it is much too close to the sun as we see it.

II PHASES:

There is New Moon on the 10th of January and Full Moon on 24th of January.

III METEOR SHOWERS:

Around the 4th of January there would be the Quadrantids Meteor Shower. A few meteors from this shower could be seen around the 1st of January itself.

IV ASTRONOMY NEWS:

  1. There would be a Special Lecture by Prof. D. Offermann of the University of Wuppertal, Germany on the 2nd of January at 6.00 p.m. He would be speaking about the phenomena in the upper atmosphere.
  •  The G.P. Birla Distinguished Lecture will be delivered on 8th January at 6.00 p.m. by NobelLaureate Prof. Serge Haroche of the Collège de France, Paris

For further details contact 23235081 or email birlasc@gmail.com.

V RESEARCH NEWS:

Dr. B.G. Sidharth has calculated that the Dark Energy model of nearly a hundred years back which lead in the 1960s and 70s to the cosmological constant problem, that is to the fact that the cosmological constant would be so huge that the universe would blow up instantly, was based on Planck scale considerations. Whereas the 1997 model of an accelerating universe with a small cosmological constant something that was observed the very next year was based on Compton scale considerations. He shows that starting from the Planck scale or what has been also called the Quantum Foam, a Landau-Ginsburg phase transition or equivalently his Planck oscillator model, leads to the Compton scale. The former Planck scale considerations describe gravitation, whereas the Compton scale Dark Energy leads to electromagnetism and other interactions.