A Celestial Affair by Prof. Mujtaba Lokhandwala

Watch the entire programme on YouTube here:

A Celestial Affair: A journey beyond the solar system by Prof Mujtaba Lokhandwala began with the Van Gogh’s The starry night. This sent across the idea that people from all walks of life are intrigued by the vast expanse above.

This directed us to the presentation that took us Beyond the Solar System. This included constellations, pictures, myths and the history of the world. The idea behind these aspects was to understand, remember and relate to the stars.

Every place we go, the things around us change but the sky is a constant. An easy way used to remember stars was to create shapes using the image they create based on their positioning. This point was made clear using a picture or Orion or the Indian name called ‘Mriga’. The shape of this constellation creates the shape of a hunter.

The next section of the presentation took us through the Apparent Stellar Magnitude. In 134 BCE, Hipparchus classifies the stars into 6 magnitudes. Further, we delved into topics such as Absolute Stellar Magnitude.

Next, the presentation moved to how in 1911 and 1913, scientists called Hertzsprung and Russel classified the stars into colour and absolute magnitude.

Further, the presentation delved into the distance of the stars. The prof. Lokhandwala spoke of how visual or trigonometric parallax and spectroscopic parallax. The units of measurement were astronomical unit, light year or Parsec.

As an audience, we learnt more about the life of a star. This section dealt with the stable form of a star. And finally with the explosion of a star. After this stage, a star could become a supernova or a red giant.

This part was followed by the clusters of stars. Apart from introducing us to the Open galactic cluster, and the globular cluster, we delved into nebulas.

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