Poor man’s guide to Astrophotography

Note: I wrote this on my earlier blog hosted as https://blogs.seds.org/pradeep. I recovered the text from the WayBack Machine. This post appeared on June 30, 2007 as per the timestamp. I’m trying to collect here again all my old writings spread on various blogs.

Dr. Suresh Mohan is one of the few Indian astrophotographers work that I have witnessed in the recent past through the astronomyclubsindia mailing list.

He recently posted an email on a poor man’s guide to astrophotography. Just thought I’d mention it here via a link.The site is also a good resource for more things astrophotography.

Hope it helps. Hat tip to Dr. Suresh Mohan.

 

 

India’s first military satellite and my thoughts

Note: I wrote this on my earlier blog hosted as https://blogs.seds.org/pradeep. I recovered the text from the WayBack Machine. This post appeared on June 29, 2007 as per the timestamp. I’m trying to collect here again all my old writings spread on various blogs.

I am not a big fan of the militarization of space and also can’t get to spell it properly. So, I was not too happy when I read this.

India’s first military satellite – CARTOSAT-2A is going to be launched on the PSLV sometime in August.

I was so happy that India has been using space for peaceful purposes for so long and despite so many roadblocks put in by the US and Europe. So, it seemed like this was a bit odd. But, not really. What dictates this is basically geo-politics and not the people of our country.

China and Pakistan seems to be what this satellite would be looking at. Basically. And they’re watching them for our own protection. So, doesn’t really make sense to rant about that.

The launch of CARTOSAT 2A has been timed to coincide with the scheduled delivery of the country’s first airborne warning and control system (AWACS) aircraft by Israel. So, basically we get the whole range from the ground to the stratosphere. It’s good to keep all the bases covered. Just in case.

SEDSAT-2 Update

Note: I wrote this on my earlier blog hosted as https://blogs.seds.org/pradeep. I recovered the text from the WayBack Machine. This post appeared on June 26, 2007 as per the timestamp. I’m trying to collect here again all my old writings spread on various blogs.

I thought now that I don’t have to submit a darn long essay to ISRO since I’m out, I can settle down and think about what has happened with SEDSAT2 all this time. These are my personal opinions..and all that.

SEDSAT2 started out in mid-November about two weeks before my semester exams. Cool no?

Before I could even decide whether I should participate in the project, the wiki page, the mailing list and all were setup. So, all I had to do was join in. We had a very small but great team of people who came together to begin thinking on this project – Chris, Kirk, Tom, Geoff, Michael, ME and Lavina. It was we who finally (after many delays) finally put our heads together and wrote the paper which basically said – yes, this crazy idea is possible.

To describe this crazy idea – we are thinking of designing and building a cubesat (a 10×10 cms 1 kg satellite orignially designed by CalPoly) but not in one university but by linking through a string of universities all throughout the world. The major aim of the project was also to take a look at how international collaboration projects in space look like at the student level of things. The idea, as I have mentioned above was crazy to say the least.

But the more we thought about it, the more we believed that it could be done.

So, we invited people via mailing lists to submit their applications to become members of the team and boy, did we have a great response – 30 people from 12 countries.

In between all of the babble, we finally defined our goal –

to build a cubesat using international collaboration

small and sweet, no?

Also, we got a lot of support from SEDS alumni like Chris, Aaron and Kirk. Aaron gave us a software that he’s being putting together which he calls ProtoForge. Protoforge is sort of like a check list which helps us with our thinking and also makes sure we are following logically and helps us manage our “huge” team. It’s great thing to have on a satellite project.

Fast forward to the present, I’m now looking after the structures team on SEDSAT2. I’ve brushed up on all the basics that I might get hit by and hope that I’m now prepared to read more complicated stuff. Hmm..I think that’s it for now…

Communicating my ideas

Note: I wrote this on my earlier blog hosted as https://blogs.seds.org/pradeep. I recovered the text from the WayBack Machine. This post appeared on June 25, 2007 as per the timestamp. I’m trying to collect here again all my old writings spread on various blogs.

One of the things that I learnt at the meeting at ISRO Bangalore is how I lack the idea of communicating what I am doing to a group of people who may or may not know about space. In the end, it all comes down to communication.

The bad part is I get only one chance.

A guy to whom I tried to explain what being in SEDS entailed and who was not interested in it is not likely to listen to me a second time when I know a bit more and have a clearer picture of what I am saying than when I said it before. He’s already created a block against space thinking of it as very murky water. All thanks to me =(

That has not happened yet and I hope it never will. It is one of the worries that a person who is trying to start a SEDS chapter might face. Startup fear?

I am thinking about this and I am also simultaneously trying to solve this problem. But, my solving this problem won’t help others besides people in India since every country has a different outlook on space. India uses space as a means of self-reliance and telecommunications. We don’t want to rely on NASA pictures all the time :).

Return trip from ISRO

Note: I wrote this on my earlier blog hosted as https://blogs.seds.org/pradeep. I recovered the text from the WayBack Machine. This post appeared on June 18, 2007 as per the timestamp. I’m trying to collect here again all my old writings spread on various blogs.

Returning in the evening from ISRO Headquarters to a quarter of Bangalore called Majestic, we found our way out of maze of criss-crossing exits and finally pinned down a hotel where we could eat something light. As we settled down in the hotel, my mom called me asking if I was boarding my train.

The re-booking that I talked about caused this confusion. I thought my train was at night and so decided to print my ticket only in the evening.

I was now running across the crowded streets of Bangalore trying to find an internet cafe. Nagappan accompanied me and helped me in locating a cafe. Thanks a lot, Nagappan. In the run, we finally found a cafe where I got my tickets printed.
Didn’t have the time to bid all the people there good-bye, but I hope that they’ll forgive me for that short-coming.

Lo and behold. My train is in the next 45 minutes. I had to travel atleast 1 hour for getting to the station which I thought I should go to. But luckily my father booked the wrong station and that ended up being 15 minutes away. I have to say that Bangalore Station is a very confusing maze and more confusing when you’re confused.

Finally jumped onto the train and I slept all the way to my hometown.

I woke up realizing my station had come. I got up and ran to get down. I realized the train was moving and waited until it stopped but when I looked ahead I noticed that the train was moving out and not in. Luckily, it hadn’t gathered speed and so I just closed my eyes and jumped out.

My dad, who had come to pick me up at the station had surmised that I might get out at the next station, but I managed to catch up with him. Most of that was a dream. All in all, a fun trip. Hope I was able to contribute something positive to the discussion we had at Bangalore.

I’ve just returned from a month’s worth of vacation. Have lots to catch up on. Will reply to all emails and requests soon. Hang on!!