Friday, July 12, 2013

Random 4.0


|| Jagannatha Swami
nayana pata gami
nayana pata gami
bhava tu may ||


|| O Lord of the Universe
kindly be visible
kindly be visible
unto me ||

2. Night Light: Like a celestial pipe organ in a grand cathedral, the skies above Fairbanks, Alaska, come alive with a curtain of green auroras in this image snapped in March.

3. Celestial Fireworks: Looking like a skyrocket from a fireworks show, Comet ISON is seen here in this false-color image taken by the Hubble Space Telescope on May 8, as it heads toward an encounter with the sun later this year.

At the time this image was taken, the giant icy visitor from the outer solar system was still 408 million miles (656 million kilometers) from Earth, between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.

The teardrop-shaped tail of this potential "comet/dhumketu of the century" is formed from gas and dust flung off its icy nucleus as it begins to melt from the heat of the sun.

Over the next few months as it approaches the sun, it's predicted to produce a bigger and brighter tail that may become easily visible from Earth at the end of November 2013.

4. Cosmic Rainbow: The Milky Way shimmers like a cosmic rainbow over Utah's Capitol Reef National Park in mid-June. [City dwellers worldwide rarely see such starry night skies due to light pollution. "Light pollution" is largely the result of bad lighting design, which allows artificial light to shine outward and upward into the sky, where it's not wanted, instead of focusing it downward, where it is. Ill-designed lighting washes out the darkness of night and radically alters the light levels - and light rhythms - to which many forms of life, including us, have adapted.]

5. Green Lantern: A giant bubble of charged particles explodes off the green-tinted surface of the sun, as seen in extreme ultraviolet light on June 18.

One of NASA's twin STEREO (Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory) spacecrafts captured the moment of eruption of this storm - called a coronal mass ejection (CME) - on the side of the sun not visible from Earth.

6. Aurora Borealis: The northern lights create a brilliant display over Canada's Yukon Territory.

7. Early Morning Cosmic Parade: Pleiades (Seven Sisters), planets Jupiter and Venus, and Orion shine through the early morning fog. (Pic: Lake Tekapo, South Island, New Zealand).

8. Pouring Light: Like a river of stars, the diffuse band of light that is the Milky Way appears to spill onto a rocky peak near Springdale, Utah on June 25.

9. Last Look: Like a cosmic pinwheel, spiral galaxy Messier 94 shines bright in ultraviolet light in one of the last snapshots taken by NASA's Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX) satellite before it was shut down on June 28.

Sitting 17 million light-years from Earth in the northern constellation Canes Venatici, the galaxy's core has a distinct ring structure wrapped by a set of spidery arms made of millions of stars.

10. Cosmic Starburst: A colorful starburst-shaped aurora blankets the entire sky above Morinville, Alberta (map), on the night of June 29.

It was very strong and seemed to be surrounded by an umbrella of light, almost reaching the horizon. Humbling.

11. The Largest Baby Star, Ever? An artist's impression of a massive forming star, possibly the largest baby star ever detected.

Astronomers announced this week that they may have discovered the largest baby star ever detected, nestled within a stellar nursery 10,000 light-years away.

The protostar sits at the center of a whirling dark cloud of gas and dust. The cloud - which is 500 times the mass of our sun - is the largest ever seen in our galaxy. It is the most massive protostar known in our galaxy and a beautiful network of filaments funneling even more matter onto it. Only about 1 in 10,000 stars is as massive as the one we are seeing forming. At some point in the distant future, the surrounding cloud is expected to completely collapse in on the star, making it more than a million times brighter than our sun.

However, because the star is still in the early stages of its life, astronomers can only make an educated guess about its final mass. Comparisons with recently discovered record-breaking mature stars indicate that it may end up at least 200 to 300 times the mass of the sun when it is fully formed. With so much obscuring dust there would be no way to measure the forming star's current weight nor predict its final mass, so the 500 solar masses observed is actually the mass of the cloud, not the mass of the star itself.

While it is likely that there will be one or more that end up significantly more massive than the sun, there is no good reason to believe that any of the stars formed in this cloud are, or will be, the most massive in the Milky Way. Regardless of who holds the heavyweight title, supermassive stars like the one growing in this distant cloud are known to play a key role in peppering the cosmos with the basic building blocks for solar systems like ours.

Here are some cosmic treasures beyond our solar system:

11. Ring Nebula in Lyra: imaged here by the Hubble Space Telescope, is one of the most famous deep-sky objects for backyard telescopes since it is conveniently located near the bright summer star Vega. It is the most famous of all planetary nebulae - a psychedelic bubble of gas left behind by a dying star. [Monday, July 8, with the moon in new phase... it was an ideal time to hunt down the Ring Nebula, or Messier 57, by looking high in the southeast for the star Vega and its constellation Lyra - the harp, which marks the brightest corner of the famous Summer Triangle pattern of stars.]

Resembling a small equilateral triangle hitched to a parallelogram, Lyra is one of the smaller but more easily recognized classical constellations, visible all summer long. The Ring Nebula is located halfway along the line between the two stars forming the side wall of the trapezoid farthest away from Vega.

The planetary nebula is visible only through high magnification telescopes, and looks like a small pale ring.  Long-exposure photographs reveal the nebula in all its glory, showing the expanding ring of hot gas in a beautiful rainbow of colors. While it is a demure object at the eyepiece, it is amazing to think that you are actually looking at a 1 light-year wide shell of gas thrown off by a dying sun-like star over 2300 light years away.

12. Moon joins Lion's heart (Regulus): By the evenings of Thursday, July 11, and Friday, July 12, the moon will rise higher in the western sky at dusk and will sidle up to the bright blue-white star Regulus - the heart of Leo, the lion. The waxing crescent moon will appear less than 6 degrees away from Regulus, which is 78 light years away. [Regulus marks the heart of the lion and lies 78 light years away. A hot blue-white star, it is about 3.5 times larger than our Sun and, at 300 million years old, is an adolescent when it comes to star lifetimes.]


As Robi Thakur said:  

|| Aamar mukti aaloy aaloy, ei aakashey,
Aamar mukti dhulaay dhulaay ghaashey ghaashey
Aamar mukti shorbojoner moner majhe
Dukkha-bipad tuchha kora kothin kaaje ||

[My deliverance is in the lighted firmament; in every dust particle and in every grass of the earth/ ... My salvation is in the universal mind and in my exertions defying all dangers and disappointments...]

Do listen to this jewel of a song, Aamar Mukti Aaloy Aaloy... [My Salvation] - rendered by Indrani Sen. (This song is part of Swarobitan/Geetobitan):

... And capture the heartbeat behind Robi Thakur's verse:

|| My deliverance is in the lighted firmament (aamar mukti aaloy aaloy, ei aakashey) |

My deliverance is in every dust particle (dhulaay dhulaay) and in every grass (ghaashey ghaashey) of the earth |

Far beyond the evanescent and the eternal (deho moner shuduur paare)
Whence I lose myself (hariye feli aponare) |

In the melody of songs (gaaner shurey) lies my salvation (aamar mukti)
Flowing high in the horizon above (urdhe bhashe) |

My salvation is in the universal mind (shorbojoner moner majhe), in the hearts of others |

Belittling sorrows and perils (dukkho bipod tucchho kora), in tasks difficult (kothin kaaje) |

My salvation lies at the altar of the world's master (Bishwodhatar jogyoshala/ Jagadishvar ke yagyashala mein basey) |

Lies in the heat of self-sacrifice (Aattwo-homer bonhi jvala/ Atmasamarpan ke badhti jvala mein basey) |

Whence I burn my life as an offering (Jibon jeno dii aahuti/ Jeevan ki jab di ahuti), Salvation comes to me (Mukti ashe) ||

[Note: Robi Thakur, a humanist, is referring to karm yog. To him: this world is the altar (yagna-shala) of the World's Master (Jagadishvar). And he aspires to offer his soul for the Jagadishvar's homa.

That is: He aspires to be a true karm yogi. (He wants to perform/achieve difficult tasks, belittling all sorrows and perils). Therein lay his salvation, mukti.] 

Like how Swami Vivekananda said:

|| Bohu-roope sammukhe tomar aami,
Kotha khunjichho Ishvar?
Jibe prem kore jei jon,
Shei jon shebichhe Ishvar ||

Meaning: Service to humanity is service to God. That is true worship. ['Coz the Almighty is everywhere, omnipresent: Vishwaroop, the Universal form.]  

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