Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Live eclipse webcast Today

Gangtok,June 13: The Sky Watchers’ Association of North Bengal is planning to show the total lunar eclipse on Wednesday night live across the globe through the Internet.

This would be the 31st total lunar eclipse (TLE) in the country since 1900.

“TLEs occur on a regular basis and are sighted from different corners of the earth. The significance of this TLE is that it is a central lunar eclipse which means that the moon will pass through the centre of the earth’s shadow circle leading to a higher degree of darkness and a deep reddish colour of the moon as the earth’s shadow falls over it,” said Debasis Sarkar, the SWAN secretary.

Sarkar was addressing a media conference here today.

According to him, apart from India, the phenomenon can be sighted from South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia.

“This means it would not be visible from a good portion of the earth surface. We have thus taken the task to go for a live webcast of the entire event along with live commentaries in English, Bengali and Hindi. People sitting anywhere across the globe can log into any of the two URLs that we would provide and watch the webcast,” he said.
The URLs that will show the eclipse are:

“We are trying to make the commentary simple and informative for students, amateur sky-watchers and people in general who might find it convenient to see the eclipse live sitting at any place and without glaring at the sky for hours. Thumbnail images would appear below the live stream on the Internet and anybody interested can click on those to see the earlier phases of the eclipse if he/she misses to watch it on time,” he added.

According to the Sky and Telescope magazine, the SWAN is one of the seven organisations in the world to arrange for a live webcast of the eclipse, Sarkar said.

The images of the phenomenon would also be updated on the association’s Facebook Page during the eclipse.

“So far as the records go, it can be said that we are the first amateur organisation from the eastern India to do a live webcast of a celestial event,” Avik Chakraborty, a member of the SWAN, said.

A 20-member team from the association will be studying the eclipse and recording the phenomenon on Wednesday.

“We will be engaged in a number of works like studying the eclipse, preparation of a data bases, clicking photographs, making video recordings, a time lap movie and doing split spectrum photography of the moon,” Santanu Chowdhury, another member of the SWAN, said.

“We will finalise our location in Siliguri from where we will observe the moon by tomorrow,” the member added.

Among the instruments that the team will use to capture the phenomenon are three telescopes, five to seven still cameras, two-three video cameras, webcams and laptops.

The next total lunar eclipse, to be visible from India, will be on December 10, 2011. It will last only 25 minutes. After the December 10 eclipse, there will be a total lunar eclipse on January 31, 2018.

A lunar eclipse occurs when the earth’s shadow falls on the moon. This happens only when the sun, the moon and the earth are in a straight line on a single plane and the earth is between the sun and the moon.

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