Monday, December 28, 2015

Geminids 2015

3 years ago I witnessed a spectacular Geminid meteor shower. This year also we set out for a view of dark sky. Its quite tough to find such place near the city. Still we referred the light pollution map and tried to find a spot in the "green zone".

Light pollution map around Hyderabad
Spotted 50 odd meteors throughout the night whenever I was looking up. Most of the time I think we were busy setting up telescopes, tracker and lenses.

A meteor streak during Geminids 2015
Spotted Comet C/2013 US 10 Catalina as well in the morning sky.

Comet Catalina C/10 US 10

Also captured some regular objects like Jupiter, its moon, Venus, Mars etc.
Jupiter and its moons
Plane taking off
Regulus, Jupiter, Mars and Spica dominating the ecliptic
Mars , Jupiter and Spica
One of the arms of milky way !
Milky Way
Stars moving around Pole Star (North Star)
The north celestial pole


Panorama to Movie

I take a lot of panoramic pictures either with the in camera functionality or stitching later with software like autostitch. However I did not find a good way to showcase that. I upload them to Facebook or flickr sometime but justice is not done to them as its looks a very short height image to compensate for the huge width. I posted the question in stackoverflow as well.

Finally I found a simple way to do that in Mac using iMovie.

Just import the image into a new movie in iMovie and stretch the image along the timeline for the length you want the output movie to be.

That's it. Here is a sample I generated

From the following original image.

This video format is good for Facebook and Instagram where screen with is limited and panning the across the image eventually displays the while image with proper details.

Once it is in video format it can also be converted to a GIF image using any online tool. Especially sites like lets you post to Facebook in such a way that it animates inside timeline even in mobile app (which most of your friends use).

Here is a sample GIF made out of 3 different shots during one of my stargazing session


Tuesday, December 22, 2015


I recently visited Hampi in present Indian state of Karnataka. It was capital of the Vijayanagara Empire in 14th and 15th century . It was one of the richest and largest city of its time probably richest ever after Rome and largest ever after Peking-Beijing. it was finally laid siege to by the Deccan Muslim confederacy.

Thanks to Google Maps , I did mess up the route a little bit near Mahbubnagar as you can see from my location history screenshot above. First I overshot the right turn by taking the fly over by mistake. Maps did not tell me explicitly that I have to go below the fly over. It was a long one and divider cuts are not very frequent in this highway. Secondly , inside the town maps suggested me to get down from the highway (SH 20) and get into another via taking small roads inside town. It probably did not realize that these roads are shorter but definitely wide enough for car. I should have ignored the left turn and continued in the alternative route (which is actually the highway eventually joining another highway). The learning is its worth taking a little slower route (as per maps) but one should stick to the wider option when difference is not much.

This city is situated on the banks of river Tungabhadra.

The following sound  is from famous musical pillars of Vittala temple left ruins of Hampi The British wanted to check the reason behind this wonder and so they had cut two pillars to check anything was there inside the pillars that was producing the sound. They had found nothing but hollow pillars. Even today we can see those pillars cut by the British (What I read in the internet and guide told me).

Picture of inner broken pillar.

Compete video