Beautiful Universe – Pencil Nebula!!

Pencil Nebula (Credit: ESO)

Some 11,000 years ago, people living in the Southern Hemisphere of Earth must have been completely amazed by a ‘short-lived star’ which was sssso bright that it could be seen even in daytime. That suddenly brightened star was at the final stage of it’s lifetime and what we saw was actually a Supernovae Blast – the end of a supermassive star.

Now, 11000 years later, we still can see the remnants of that stellar outburst. What has been clicked here, is a small part of that remnant. At the center is the core of that long-dead star – in the form of a Pulsar. The remaining gas and dust remnants have shaped themselves in a perfectly linear pattern 5 light years long, hence earning for themselves a popular name called the ‘Pencil Nebula’.

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Out there… it is always Diwali!

Pinwheel Galaxy (Image Credit: NASA/ESA)

Spiral Galaxies are definitely some of the most beautifully structured jewels of the Universe – galaxies with a grand design, showcasing elegant patterns of tightly bound bright spiral arms – so pretty! This particular galaxy – known as Messier Object 101 or more commonly as the Pinwheel Galaxy, is almost 70 percent larger than our Milky Way. It is ssso far that even light takes almost 21 million years to travel from this grand spiral to us!! And it is ssso big that it is estimated to contain more than 1,000,000,000,000 stars in it.

This image is a multi-wavelength view of the galaxy – combining datas from four instruments – Hubble Space Telescope (visible light), Spitzer Space Telescope (infra-red parts), Galaxy Evolution Explorer (Ultra-violet data) and Chandra Observatory (for the X-Ray image).

Doing multi-wavelength study of an astronomical object is very interesting. Each wavelength carries various informations about different regions of the object. The hottest areas – regions near black hole, colliding and exploding stars – are revealed in most details by the X-Rays (shown in purple here). The young and hot stars mostly emit in ultra-violet (blue areas of this picture). The dust lanes and the star-forming regions are best seen in infra-red (the red parts) while the visible wavelength range is mainly a result of the stars residing in the spiral arms (yellow parts).

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Surrounded by the Tulips.. A Day in Amsterdam!

“Dekha Ek Khwaab To Yeh Silsile Hue
Door Tak Nigahon Mein Hain Gul Khile Hue”

Decorating the atmosphere with lovely bollywood songs on a bright fresh morning, we the fifteen Indian students on holidays in Amsterdam left for The Keukenhof Gardens !! Famed all over the Globe for its uniqueness, beauty and vastness (it is the world’s largest flower garden), this mesmerizing place is a pride of South Holland. They say it covers an area of 32 hectares with 4.5 million tulips in more than 100 varieties and has 15 kilometer long footpath. And yeah – they even boost about more than 44 million visitors in the last 60 years. Inspired by the facts and the figures, and not to forget the beautiful google pictures – we all left for our destination for the day – Lisse of Netherlands!
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Us and The Universe!

Few days ago I stumbled upon one of the most interesting videos I have ever come across.

Titled as ‘The Known Universe’ – this is a video which takes us from the Himalayas to the cosmic horizon – till the last point in space that we have observed and takes us back home – to Earth! Kudos to the American Museum of Natural History for such a nice film.

Just to think of it – in this big big universe with millions and millions of galaxy clusters and galaxy groups boosting of many many galaxies – Milky Way is just another normal galaxy … of the numerous stars in this one small galaxy, our Sun is just another ordinary star… and revolving it is one of the planets called Earth… where we the Human kind reside… all of us – in this tiny little place!! And still we have so much of ego, we carry with us such high baseless pride, worry over little things, fight over small issues, make enemies, lie and hide and fear – for what! I wonder sometimes!

This universe has been here for some 14,000,000,000 years and will stay till .. well, till the last tick of what we call as ‘time’. We are here in it for may be not even 100 years! How we still manage to waste our time not doing things that we love, being someone we are not, not spending time with the people who matter and regret later for the time that is gone – for what!! I wonder sometimes!

And still, most of the time I do the same – fear, get hurt, let the anger take over me, worry over issues that should not even matter!!!

And the rest of the time – I wonder why!!!

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The Bihu of my Grandma’s time!

The Heart of Assamese Art (and culture) – Bihu!

Bihu Dance (courtesy : 'The Hindu')

Bihu is the main cultural festival of Assam and is celebrated thrice a year – as Rongali Bihu (Assamese New Year, mid-April), Maagh Bihu (harvest festival, mid-January) and Kaati Bihu (mid-October). If you want more information on the festival, you better look at Wiki or some other links giving you details on this festival. The main motive behind this post of mine is basically to share what my grandma remembers about the bihu of her time (the perfect bihu that I can dream of) and to share two nice bihu videos 🙂
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A Day in The Hague (Holland)

It was an extended weekend, thanks to Easter. We, the 15 Indian students staying far from our beautiful country in a small city of Germany called Göttingen were finally on holidays in Amsterdam.

We woke up on a sunny Sunday in a small camping place in the outskirts of Amsterdam. The last two days were spent exploring the city from dawn till dusk. This Sunday was the final day of our tour and after considering many options from Antwerp of Belgium to Rotterdam of Holland, we were finally decided on spending the day in Den Haag –  the city of Dutch parliament. Each of us had a Holland Pass with us and we could get 24-hrs of free transportation in Den Haag and free entry to Madurodam with the Tulip Card of this Pass (thanks to Ankit and Vinty for their research on the options available with Holland Card). One of us – Achintya (my friend from Stephen’s) was planning to visit Mona (another Stephanian common friend of ours) who is doing her Masters in Amsterdam. I wanted to meet her, but I wanted to go to Den Haag too. Finally, I decided on the later and the 14 of us (except Achintya) started our final day of the awesome Holland trip.

The 14 of us

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In the small Swiss City – Luzern!

Voted as the 5th most popular tourism destination in the world by Tripadvisor (in 2010), Lucerne or Luzern is the most populous city in Central Switzerland. For it’s unique location surrounded by swiss Alps, on the shore of Lake Lucerne – this is one of the prettiest place to be in. I went there last year with my parents and my younger sister and needless to say, as all the other cities of Switzerland even this one left me spellbound.

Over the Wooden Bridge of Luzern

The town’s landmark is the Chapel Bridge constructed in the 1st half of the 14th century as a part of the city’s forti cations. On it lies the most frequently photographed monument in Switzerland – the 34mt high octagonal Water Tower. It was supposedly used as an archive, treasury, prison and torture chamber when functional. But there is no shades of terror. It’s a calm deep blue lake with beautiful white geese playing on it, over which stands the bridge with lovely flowers decorating it’s wooden pillars and there is the blue sky above and far away you have a perfectly awesome glimpse of the Alps. It is simply amazing!

In front of the most photographed tower of Switzerland

The little Swiss city is full of many spectacular monuments- the Sacral Baroque church, the Gothic Franciscan Church and the old city squares featuring the beautifully painted Town Hall. But the one I loved the most was the Dying Lion of Lucerne, which Mark Twain has described to be the saddest and most moving piece of rock in the world. Carved out of natural rock in memory of the heroic deaths of the Swiss mercenaries at the Tuileries in 1792, it remains one of the world’s most famous monuments.

The Dying Lion

How a small little city can leave such a strong impression on someone’s heart – I wonder!!

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