Friday, August 1, 2008

Chasing the Darkness

Someone wisely said that only unknown induces fear. Little acquaintance makes us curious enough to discover it completely. Space has always been unknown. I am not sure whether it is humanly possible to discover it completely. Maybe not but the little doors it opens for us to reveal itself more is exhilarating.

Aug 1 2008 experienced a Solar eclipse. In recent times, this is considered a rare delight. I remember earlier and even now in some parts of the world, people take it as an omen. Rituals are performed to ward off any side effects. Years back, I read a short story "Dhoomketu"(which means comet in Hindi) about a scientist in Calcutta, India who was to present a paper in London on his research findings. On the day the comet was to be seen, he was in the terrace with his telescope while his family were performing rituals and prayers. I was very influenced by the story and liked the scientist for holding on to his beliefs and fighting against the social norms.

On 1986, Hailey's comet flew towards earth. Our science teacher had urged us to see it as we might not get another opportunity in our life time, given that the comet visits earth every 76 years. My brother stayed up late to see but I cooly dozed off. Later when space fascinated me more, I used to gaze stars every night and try to identify the constellations. I was so infatuated that I wanted to take up astronomical science and join NASA. I remember only one friend of my brother took up astronomical science. At an era, when computer science and electronics were so popular, people could not understand his choice. But those who understood would know that he made career out of his dream.

I had stayed up late many nights to catch a glimpse of comet or shooting stars. While trying to figure out falling meteors, I had mistaken planes for celestial objects. Till date, I think I have seen 1 or 2 shooting stars but no eclipse. In fact, now there is a company - Travel Quest International which helps astronomy enthusiasts to experience these rare feats. This company actually takes people on a flight across the globe to experience the solar eclipse. The owner, Aram Kaprielian, is a ardent solar eclipse fan. He is taking people over Asia, North Pole and even Antarctica to see the solar eclipse. By 2010, he plans to offer space travels to outer space. Now, that would truly be an out of the world experience.

9 comments:

Thinking Aloud said...

The stars have always been a comfort to me. I don't know if it's just that they remind me of a caring God, or if I'm simply in awe at their heavenly magnificence.

ceedy said...

cool...

I went to talasari on outskirts of bombay in 1986 and stayed up whole night...and saw the haileys comet...it was with an atromony group from school...

and did you not see the lunar eclipse few months back over jersey???
if not here i took timeline pictures...hope you like them

http://ceedyreflections.blogspot.com/2008/02/lunar-eclipse.html

en JOY the weekend :)

Sumana said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sumana said...

The bad omen thing reminds me of this TV documentary i saw a few days ago. Aug 1st was a solar eclipse and Aug 15th is going to be a lunar eclipse. So the documentary stated that having 2 eclipses ina span of 15 days is not good for the country. To justify they mentioned that when Indira gandhi was the PM and such a celestial thing happened, and it happened that she was shot to death in a few days. So a scientific thing like moon comes between sun and the earth is taken to be a bad omen. That kind of caught me by surprise, but having it shown on TV will make the public also believe in such things i guess.

Joy said...

TA: I think it is both :)

Ceedy: Those were really nice pics you took of Lunar eclipse ! Hope you had a good weekend too :)

Sumana: That is some documentary. I think the country has already seen enough bad in all these blasts...

Dinker said...

Unfortunately, Bangalore was overcast and we could not see the eclipse. The best celestial display I have seen are Hale-Bopp comet a few years back in Indore! Second best was a whole night of Leonid Meteor Shower.

Sumana said...

Hmm same goes with the stampede at naina devi's too

ceedy said...

Tag executed !!!!

Jules said...

Although the eclipse was not to be missed, we unfortunately booked our trip to Russia through TravelQuest. DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY. Other than the eclipse, the trip was a nightmare. Better to book through a university alumni association. UCLA has a trip planned to China for the 2009 eclipse.