Astronomy for Maurtius – stories at night

This week, it’s Sports week at uni and so I have some time for me. So what I’d like to talk about is some basic astronomy for Mauritius. orion.jpg

In Mauritius, we are lucky to have a beautiful night sky. Nearly every night, we can see Orion – the hunter – accompanied by his dog (Sirius – the brightest star of the Southern Hemisphere is part of the constellation of the dog).

I do not have a lot of scientific interest in Astronmy but I like star gazing coz believe it or not, there are wonderful stories taking place in the night sky. Believe it or not, Orion is not standing there idly. Accompanied by his dog, he is chasing the pleiades – seven sisters. However, the great Zeus himself, in the form of a bull (the Taurus constellation) comes to protect the defenseless girls…

Similarly, there are loads of other nice stories taking place if you just care to look out through your window at night.

So, how to know where the stars are. The best software to keep track of the Mauritian Sky is a free one – KStars available freely on most linux distros. It allows you to view the sky from anywhere in the world and at any time; it even allows you to control a telescope.

By the way, if you are really interested in cellestial bodies, contact the Mauritian Astronomical Society.

P.S. I especially recommend the Scorpio constellation – it’s my favourite one.

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26 responses to “Astronomy for Maurtius – stories at night

  1. I’m always interested in such kind of things: stars, galaxies, nebulas, etc… These are cool things I think and are really captivating my mind. Since I was a child, I wanted to take a map and to try to see the constellations. However, I’ve never been able to match the figures from maps and the stars at night! Euh – what unlucky I am! I’d really appreciate someone could tell me how to try to locate the stars and ‘draw out’ imaginative figures that are on the maps.

  2. One of the major problems with most maps in book is that they are for the northern hemisphere and in the southern hemisphere, constellations appear different. So it helps to get a good map of the southern hemisphere sky.

    The best way to do that is to use KStars (but it requires Linux) as it gives u the star map for Mauritius at any time you want.

    Else, a good link for the southern hemisphere is at: http://www.skymaps.com/downloads.html – they provide monthly maps of the southern hemisphere sky. Try that.

    Also, just going out for 5 mins won’t do unfortunately :(. You’ll have to wait for your eyes to get used to the dark and that may take 10-15 mins. Yet if u use a torch on the map, u r back to square one. It’s said that red light does not affect ur eye’s night vision. So use a red cloth on a torch.

  3. Hi… Me too could spend hours looking at the stars at night… They are so full of mysteries, so unreachable (for the time being… who knows what the future holds… :P)… BTW, do you know whether we have an Astronomical Society at UoM???

    By the way, if you are really interested in cellestial bodies, contact the Mauritian Astrological Society.

    Is it Astrological or Astronomical???? It’s totally 2 different stuffs!!!!

  4. hi…i just love watching the stars and the moon… etc.but i’ve never been able to locate the different constellations.anyone there to help me out on that? thks

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    The results were startling: women are part of this repugnant odor, and the other part is very attractive, resembling the smell of vanilla, and the third group have not felt any smell. The authors argue that the reason is that the differences in the receptor responsible for the olfactory system, from different people are different.

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  6. u know we`ve just started wid our astronomy club club at college so i find it damn difficult dude! wateV! wuld b of gr8 help if u culd just tell me more abt tat mauritian astronomical society! plzzz! thnks in advance :)

    • Hi rawiyah. Just noticed this comment corner yesterday. I’m actually a member of the astro club. They meet every last friday of the month. its hosted @ the st esprit college. A long time since i’ve not been there myself! I just launched an astronomy club at college too. Its interresting to see that another college is doing it too. Very good. Just to tell you that its not difficult at all but a real pleasure..you’ll get to appreciate it hopefully.Contact me if you need any help. All the best.

      • do you have a telescope ? have two telescope , but dont knw how to find my way among the stars ! can u help me ??

  7. I want to buy equipment for observing the sky which passionates me and my son of 20. where do I get same? pl help. thank u for this blog.

    Mrs k. bhanji
    Senior Public Officer

  8. Hello

    Unfotunately I won’t be able to tell you much about that since I don’t have any telescope myself. However I think I saw a shop in the “New Cuadan” that looks like it’s selling telescopes; you could try there.

    Pascal

  9. Certainly Mauritius can be good for astronomy, though its maritime climate often results in considerable cloud. I would imagine the western side of the island is likely to offer better opportunities.

    One area of concern is increasing light pollution, and I have observed that the island is visible on satellite images of the Earth at night. I recall observing the Gegenschein from the Britannia Sugar Estate in 1986 during the apparition of Comet Halley. Whether it is still possible to see it is debatable.

    Something should be done to conserve dark skies in Mauritius and prevent the insidious spread of light pollution from street lighting and over-lit tourist facilities. Dark skies will actually be a boon to the tourist industry, so for that reason alone they should be protected. Furthermore, the environmental damage caused by excessive lighting is now well established.

    For further information, consult:

    http://www.lightpollution.org.uk

  10. Monn fek returne depi Moris, e mo kone aster kifer pena klib lastronomi aktif an Moris. Klima pa bon. Mo ti res an Blue Bay, pre kot Maybur pu enn mwa, e mo pa ti gayne enn sel nwit ditu. Sak nwit nyaze, me dan lazurne bann nyaz ti pu disparet pu plizye lertan. Avek bann kondisyon klimatik kumsa bann Morisyin pa pu gayne buku lokazyon get zetwal, me zot kapav obzerve soley.

    Osi, klima ti kapav sanze. Avan 1995 mo ti kapav observe suvan laba, me apre sofaz global e sanzman klima, Moris aster pe atir nyaz dan aswar.

    Enn lot problem se polisyon liminez. Sa partu an Moris aster, mem dan bann ti vilaz parey kuma St Hillaire. Bann minisipalite pe fann limyer partu aswar akoz zot panse li pe redwir krim. Nu kone aster li pa pe fer sa ditu akoz dan lekleraz aswar dimunn pe konporte plis ki zot konporte dan lazurne, e aktyelman krim pu ogmante.

    Si zot anvi get zetwal aswar, bizin aret instale bann lalimyer partu. Osi nu kone aster ki lekleraz artifisyel pe afekte laglan paynyel dan laservel. Sa pe prodwir enn hormonn ki apel Melatonin. Sa hormonn-la pe redwir kanser dan lekor akoz li pe detrir bann “free radicals.” Si lekleraz aswar pu ogmante, prodiksyon melatonin pu diminwi, e nu pu gayne enn ogmantasyon dan nivo kanser servikal an fam e kanser prostatik dan zom. Bizin evit lalimyer depi deor rant dan lakaz aswar. Bizin dormi dan nwarte.

  11. hello! very nice posting! the replies are really interesting…
    yeah light pollution is a real problem… but as soon as it’s beyond 11 pm., there’s nothing that can match the brightness of stars!
    Summers in the shade of Orion and winters in the tail of Scorpio! Beating red would be Betelgeuse and Antares…
    It’s great to map the imagination, into stories and constellations.
    And Remember to watch for the tail of Canis Major, what follows is amazing!

    P.S eski pane gran temp pu setup ene society for nightsky lovers dan sa UoM la?!!

  12. Mauritius Astronomical Society has meetings every last friday of the month at CSE from 19 30 to 22 00.

    This has been the case from 1967 till date.

  13. Hi there

    I am doing some research on the 1882 transit of venus, and read your society’s very interesting account of the 1994 event.

    Perhaps you will be able to give me an answer to the following question

    William JL Wharton observed from Point Cotton on Rodrigues. The observation spot was 20 feet from the edge of the sea cliff (30 feet) of Point Cotton that faces the East, with the summit of the inshore cliff (where the triangulation beacon was) S 73°.03′ W. (true) 185 feet. The northern point of Point Cotton is (by chart) 926 feet. (…) The exact spot is marked by an iron stake fixed into the rock with lead. The cloud on the satellite image is very unfortunate. Is this iron stake still in place? Can we derive the exact spot from the description above?

    Many thanks in advance for your help, I hope to hear from you shortly

    Kind regards

    Tina Hammond

  14. Hi Tina,

    With reference to the transit and the spot marked by iron stake, I would be unable to give you specific details.

    If anybody is visiting Rodrigues island could verify the above for you.

    Bhasker Desai

  15. Hi Mr Bhaskar,

    I would like to thank you for the spectacular sessions at Oberoi Public Beach on the 12th of April. I was always trying to locate the south cross, but alone it was not possible for me.Its very true that when you look at the sky at night, its so full of mysteries, so vast. You know what, now i can locate saturn planet.
    Isn`t this great!

    Babita
    Ex student od London College.

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