12 Anniversary Indian Flag landing on Moon - Spot 3 Planets - Dark Sky an Ancient Heritage

 This Diwali people have more than one reason to celebrate. On 14 November marks 12th Anniversary (Chandrayaan1-MIP) of Indian Flag landing on Moon. As it celebrated as CHILDREN’S DAY across India. After Sunset people can locate three planets Mars (in East), Jupiter, and Saturn (in South West Direction) as non-twinkling Star like objects. As courts have imposed restrictions on crackers.  Planetary Society, India requests people to celebrate this year’s Diwali realizing “Dark Sky as Ancient Heritage” as only 10’s among lakhs of stars are visible due to pollution which is a result of blindfolded development activities of humans.

I) Indian Flag Etched Moon Impact Probe (MIP) of Chandrayaan Landed on Moon 14 Nov 2008 – 12th Anniversary – Water Discovery : 14th November  is the day when in year 2008  The Moon Impact Probe (MIP) a lunar probe developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) with Indian Flag etched onto it was released by ISRO's Chandrayaan-1 mission on to the surface of moon. The Moon Impact Probe separated from the moon-orbiting Chandrayaan-1 on 14 November 2008 at  20:06 and crash-landed, as planned, into the lunar south pole after a controlled descent.  Moon Impact Probe(MIP) struck the Shackleton Crater of Southern pole of Moon at 20:31 on 14 November 2008 thus making India fourth nation among five to land its flag on Moon.

Later in the Year 2009, NASA with its Moon Mineralogy Mapper confirmed the presence of water on the Moon. Even ISRO presented the data of Moon Impact Probe (MIP) and announced the discovery of Water vapor in the Lunar Atmosphere.

Every Year since 2008 Planetary Society of India has been giving call for celebration of this great achievement of India. Unfortunately, not many people still know this fact that the Indian Flag landed on the Moon and celebrate 14 November every year as “Children’s Day”. Hence we request people to join us on Whatsapp 7993482012 or at www.twitter.com/infopsi or www.ournewplanets.info to celebrate 12 Anniversary of Indian Flag landing on Moon.

II) THREE PLANETS TILL YEAR-END – Direction/Time: Further as the courts have imposed restrictions on firecrackers etc.. during this Diwali and other celebrations. People can expect pollution-free Skies and utilize the opportunity to locate Planets.

After Sunset if one looks at East Direction one can see a reddish star-like object. Which is however not twinkling because it is Planet Mars. Further if one looks at South West Direction one can Spot another bright non-twinkling star-like object which is Planet Jupiter. And Just on to the left of Jupiter people can spot Dim Star-like Object which is Planet Saturn. So all in all people can spot Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn for many days to come after Sunset easily till the end of the year 2020.

III) DARK NIGHT SKY – AN ANCIENT HERITAGE: Since time immemorial people have always looked at the skies. Long ago night sky filled with stars was a common thing. However due to climate change, Pollution and various factors we do not see the same sky, the number of Stars that our ancestors used to see long ago. The United Nations recognizes “Dark Night Sky” as an Ancient Heritage. Whereas people normally think only Historical buildings are Ancient Heritage.


In UNISPACE III Declaration of 1999 at Vienna  says “Having in mind that humans have always gazed at the sky with wonder and that from such was born the curiosity that drove early astronomers to study the movements of celestial bodies, from which the foundations of modern space science and technology were laid” .


On the occasion of Diwali which is celebrated as the victory of light over the dark Planetary Society of India requests people to protect dark skies from pollution particularly light pollution. As Dark Night Sky is an ancient heritage. Importantly light pollution (for example LED Street Lights) is not only disturbing animals, wildlife, Birds, etc..  it is badly affecting the circadian rhythm (popularly known as Body Clock) of humans.

Planet Mars Closest to Earth on 6 Oct 2020

 On 6th Oct 2020, Planet Mars will be the closest it can get to Earth in other words Planet Mars in its journey around Sun will reach a point in its orbit which is the closest it can get at 7.47 p.m. on 6th  Oct 2020 at 0.415 AU i.e 6,20,83,116 km (62.02 Million Km).

Why Mars is Closest every 26 months? This closest approach of Mars is due to a celestial phenomenon called “Mars Opposition to the Sun” which occurs once every 26 months. On 14 Oct 2020 at 4.56 a.m. IST Mars will be at Opposition to Sun because of which Planet Mars will be the closest it can get to earth in the next 13 years.

 Due to this celestial phenomenon of opposition Mars and Sun will be Opposite to Each other and in a straight line from our perspective on earth. Whenever a planet is in Opposition it would be closest in its orbit to earth than any other time. Hence this year Mars will appear Closest, brightest, biggest (from Telescope). 

Closest in 13 years - Similar Distance in 2033  : As of 6th Oct 2020 at 7.47 p.m. Planet Mars is placed at 0.415 AU i.e. 62.02 million km. Generally, the Minimum Distance from Mars to Earth is 55.7 Million km whereas the Maximum Distance Planet Mars can be away from Earth is 401.3 Million Km. So considering the Closest/Farthest distance of Mars can get to earth Oct 2020 is one of the best opportunity for people to see and appreciate Mars. It will take another 13 Years for Mars to match 2020 closeness to earth i.e. in June 2033.

Distance Data - Mars Opposition & Closest approach to Earth

 Occurs once in every 26 Months

14 Oct 2020

Mars distance to earth: 0.419 AU,

8 Dec 2022

Mars distance to earth: 0.550 AU,

16 Jan 2025

 Mars distance to earth: 0.644 AU,

19 Feb 2027

 Mars distance to earth: 0.678 AU,

25 Mar 2029

 Mars distance to earth: 0.649 AU

4 May 2031

Mars distance to earth: 0.559 AU

28 Jun 2033



Mars distance to earth: 0.427 AU


On 21 June 2020 one of the first visible eclipse of the decade named as “Annular Solar Eclipse” will occur. Though annular phase (popularly known as Ring of Fire) of Eclipse is visible only in few places of northern India, rest of India will observe this event as partial solar eclipse.  

Timings across the world:  across the world the Eclipse in Various Phases occur between 9.16 a.m. IST (3.46 a.m. UTC) to 3.04 p.m. IST (9.34 a.m. UTC). Wherein Greatest Phase of Eclipse is at  12.10 p.m. IST (6.40 a.m. UTC). In India depending on the location of a Person from Central path the eclipse mostly in partial phase will visible between 9.56 a.m. to 2.29 p.m.  Across the world this Eclipse is visible in the region covering Africa (except Western and Southern parts), southeast Europe, Middle East, Asia (except North and Eastern Russia), Indonesia, etc..

Telugu States – Timings – Appearance of Sun: In TELANGANA Hyderabad (10.15 a.m.  to 1.44 p.m.) Greatest Phase of Eclipse at 11.56 a.m. with 51% of Sun covered by Moon. Whereas in ANDHRA PRADESH (Vijaywadada 10.21 a.m. to 1.49 p.m) Greatest Phase at 12.03 p.m. with 46%.At Greatest Phase Sun is expected to be visible in the form of Half Moon in Telugu states.  

Central Path – Ring of Fire places in India: Timings (Start & End) of Eclipse, Percentage of Sun Covered etc.. are based on the location of the observer from Central Path of the Eclipse. Though the central path of this eclipse begins it journey in Congo (Africa), in India, it traverses from Suratgarh (Rajasthan), Sirsa&Kurukshetra (Haryana), Dehradhun, Chamoli and Joshimath in Uttarakhand thus giving people in these areas  opportunity to observe Sun as Ring of Fire. And after its stint in India, it will continue towards China, Taiwan, and end in Pacific Ocean

First and Last People to Witness Start/End In India: with Moon already covered a part of Sun’s Disk, people of Dwarka will be first to witness the eclipse starting at 9.56 a.m. Whereas at one of the easternmost part of India in Dibrugarh people will watch the eclipse till 2.29 p.m as here the eclipse visibility starts and ends late compared to the rest of India. Importantly for people of Kanyakumari the eclipse will end very early then rest of India at 1.15 p.m.

Appearance Of Sun – Greatest Phase – Timings on 21st June – Depending on Location: Between beginning and ending of any eclipse “Greatest Eclipse” phase is the time to watch out, as covering/obscuration of Sun by Moon will be maximum for any location during this time i.e. between 11.31 a.m. to 12.51 am across India. And the Sun will appear like ranging from Crescent to Quarter or half-covered by Moon than its normal shape. Whereas Sun will appear as a ring in few places in Northern India. Location of an observer from Central path of the eclipse determines when and how Sun is visible during maximum phase. 

North to South – West to East – Approximate Percentage:  On 21 June when eclipse it at maximum the percentage of coverage of Sun’s disk by Moon will be between 50% to 21% in Southern India. It will range between 84% to 95% for people Northernmost past of India. Whereas in Central India or Western parts or Eastern or Northeastern parts of India people will see between 70%-86% of Sun covered by Moon. In other words, as a person moves away from the Central path of eclipse which passes he/she will less see lesser obscuration of Sun by Moon. 

Pregnant Ladies – Superstitions Restriction – Food Spoilage – No Govt & WHO – Health Alerts :  During eclipse various restrictions in the form of rituals based on a misunderstanding of Eclipse are imposed on Pregnant ladies in India. Cleft lip and cleft palate which is a medical condition is wrongly associated with Eclipse as after effect in unborn kids. It’s interesting to note WHO never in thev past declared Eclipse as Pendemic or never issued any health notification for Indian women to follow during Eclipse. Further FSSAI (regarding Food), Ministry of Health & Govt Dept.s in tune with a universal understanding of Eclipse as normal celestial event hasn’t issued any specific health notification except on eye care to watch the eclipse with special certified solar filters. 


This launch was supposed to be launched on 27th May but due to weather it was postponed. If again this launch is postponed it will be conducted on 1st June 2020 in Indian Standard Time. Early in the day Elon Musk stated there is 50% chance of postponement of this mission.  To see the launch LIVE visit NASA TV https://bit.ly/2B5qYT3   Here.

NASA’S TWO ASTRONAUTS – IN THIS TEST FLIGHT – SPACEX UNMANNED CARGO FLIGHTS SINCE 2012: This is test flight with NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley on board the Dragon spacecraft. As “Space Shuttle” vehicles carrying humans was retired with last flight in 2011. After 9 years this is first time Astronauts will be launched to space from US Soil. Success of this mission will mark return of USA to Human Space Flight from US. It may be noted since 2012 SpaceX transported Cargo approx. 20 – 22  times with its “Cargo Version of Dragon spacecraft” to International Space Station (ISS). www.twitter.com/infopsi


Big Circle Around Sun - Yadadri Dist 1.15pm - 30 May 2020

In Scientific Circles, they are known as “22-degree halos”. Because for an observer in a location the ring has a radius of approximately 22 degrees around the sun or moon.

22 degree Sun Halo' seen in the sky - The Hindu
And yet halos are a sign of high, thin cirrus clouds drifting 20,000 feet or more above our heads. These clouds contain millions of tiny ice crystals.

Why Do We Sometimes See a Ring Around the Moon? - Universe Today

The halos you see are caused by both refraction, or splitting of light, and also by reflection, or glints of light from these ice crystals which are in hexagonal shape. Like rainbows, halos around the sun – or moon – are personal. That’s a person in Delhi may see rainbow or halo at 4pm but a person in Hyderabad may not because atmospheric conditions in a location are crucial to see halo/Rainbow