In September 2016, China unveiled the world’s largest telescope – an instrument engineered so finely it is 3 times more sensitive than Arecibo and may help in the international search for understanding more on the origin of the universe and the Big Bang. Sadly, since filming this video, FAST’s chief engineer and scientist, Professor Nan Rendong lost his fight with cancer. Not only was Professor Nan a talented and well-respected scientist who dedicated over 20 years to the FAST project, but we found him to be a kind, intelligent and dedicated man who took the time to explain his work and the importance of it to us. The Five-Hundred-Metre Aperture Spherical Telescope, known as FAST had been constructed over five years in a remote area of Guizhou province, south central China. It was built in a 45 million year old crater, unlikely to be affected by flooding and far from human interference. The 500m dish surpasses Arecibo radio telescope, built in Puerto Rico in 1963, as the world’s largest and is three times more sensitive in detecting radio waves thousands of light years away. FAST consists of 4450 individual panels and Chinese project engineers had to design a cable net of ten thousand cables to manipulate it to detect signals. FAST’s focus cabin is also unique thanks to a directional tracking system. A key mission for the telescope will be detecting pulsars, the matter that remains when a star eight times the size of the sun explodes. These pulsars rotate thousands of times per second and are the universe’s most accurate clock. Experience the construction and meet the creators of FAST: The World’s Largest Telescope.
Category Archives: Documentary
Documentary on Light Pollution. Light Pollution and Astronomy : The night Sky is beautiful and all our children deserve to see them in all their glory.
What is Dark Matter? – Space Documentary
By fitting a theoretical model of the composition of the Universe to the combined set of cosmological observations, scientists have come up with the composition that we described above, ~68% dark energy, ~27% dark matter, ~5% normal matter. What is dark matter?
We are much more certain what dark matter is not than we are what it is. First, it is dark, meaning that it is not in the form of stars and planets that we see. Observations show that there is far too little visible matter in the Universe to make up the 27% required by the observations. Second, it is not in the form of dark clouds of normal matter, matter made up of particles called baryons. We know this because we would be able to detect baryonic clouds by their absorption of radiation passing through them. Third, dark matter is not antimatter, because we do not see the unique gamma rays that are produced when antimatter annihilates with matter. Finally, we can rule out large galaxy-sized black holes on the basis of how many gravitational lenses we see. High concentrations of matter bend light passing near them from objects further away, but we do not see enough lensing events to suggest that such objects to make up the required 25% dark matter contribution.
What is space? What is Space Made of ? If you ignore the galaxies, stars & atoms, then the rest of empty space is mysterious. It is really not nothing. See this documentary to know more.
Europe to the Stars : The European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) first 50 years of exploring the southern sky.
Documentary by PSBT India and directed by Sujata Kulshreshtha.
Using footage from NASA’s Johnson Space Center, filmmaker Fede Castro creates a captivating time-lapse video of Earth from space. In a little over four minutes, “Nuestra Tierra—Our Earth” takes us around the world, sighting major cities and even catching the breathtaking aurora borealis.
The Short Film Showcase spotlights exceptional short videos selected by National Geographic’s editors.
New Horizons is the first mission to the Kuiper Belt, a gigantic zone of icy bodies and mysterious small objects orbiting beyond Neptune. This region also is known as the “third” zone of our solar system, beyond the inner rocky planets and outer gas giants. Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Maryland, designed, built and operates the New Horizons spacecraft, and manages the mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The Year of Pluto – NASA New Horizons is a one hour documentary which takes on the hard science and gives us answers to how the mission came about and why it matters. Interviews with Dr. James Green, John Spencer, Fran Bagenal, Mark Showalter and others share how New Horizons will answer many questions. New Horizons is part of the New Frontiers Program, managed by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
A black hole is a region of spacetime from which gravity prevents anything, including light, from escaping. The theory of general relativity predicts that a sufficiently compact mass will deform spacetime to form a black hole. The boundary of the region from which no escape is possible is called the event horizon. Although crossing the event horizon has enormous effect on the fate of the object crossing it, it appears to have no locally detectable features. In many ways a black hole acts like an ideal black body, as it reflects no light. Moreover, quantum field theory in curved spacetime predicts that event horizons emit Hawking radiation, with the same spectrum as a black body of a temperature inversely proportional to its mass. This temperature is on the order of billionths of a kelvin for black holes of stellar mass, making it all but impossible to observe.
‘India in Space’ records the birth and progress of Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and India’s contribution in the area of space research. The firing of a two-stage rocket from a Kerala fishing village saw the birth of the Indian Space Programme and India’s entry into the ‘space age’. ISRO was formed by the vision of Dr. Vikram Sarabhai with a clear objective of peaceful exploration of space. The Satellite Instructional and Television Experiment or SITE using the U.S. Satellite ATS- 6 saw the telecast of a series of educational programs on health, family planning, agriculture in over two thousand five hundred villages. The next few decades saw the tremendous success of India in launching satellites through its own satellites systems, primarily for telecommunications designed and built by ISRO called INSAT.
A documentary about the father of India’s Space programme — Dr. Vikram Ambalal Sarabhai
On this day (2nd March) in 1972 Pioneer 10 was launched towards Jupiter. Pioneer 10 is an American space probe, that completed the first mission to the planet Jupiter. Thereafter, Pioneer 10 became the first spacecraft to achieve escape velocity from the Solar System.
The story of the Hubble Telescope by ESA.
During the Astro Camp some of you had queries regarding Gamma Ray Bursts and also about hyper novae and black holes. Watch this documentary to give you more info on this.
It was one of the greatest mysteries in modern science: a series of brief but extremely bright flashes of ultra-high energy light coming from somewhere out in space. These gamma ray bursts were first spotted by spy satellites in the 1960s. It took three decades and a revolution in high-energy astronomy for scientists to figure out what they were.
Cosmic Journeys examines the great promise of the Voyager mission and where it will lead us in our grand ambition to move out beyond our home planet. The two Voyager spacecraft are part of an ancient quest to push beyond our boundaries… to see what lies beyond the horizon. Now tens of billions of kilometers from Earth, two spacecraft are streaking out into the void. What will we learn about the Galaxy, the Universe, and ourselves from Voyager’s epic Journey to the stars? December 19, 1972… the splashdown of the Apollo 17 crew capsule marked the end of the golden age of manned spaceflight. The Mercury…. Gemini… and Apollo programs had proven that we could send people into space… To orbit the Earth…. Fly out beyond our planet… Then land on the moon and walk among its ancient crater. The collective will to send people beyond our planet faded in times of economic uncertainty, war, and shifting priorities. And yet, just five years after Apollo ended, scientists launched a new vision that was just as profound and even more far-reaching.
It didn’t all go smoothly. Early computer problems threatened to doom Voyager 2. Then its radio receiver failed, forcing engineers to use a back up. Now, after more than three and a half decades of successful operations, the twin spacecraft are sending back information on their flight into interstellar space. Along the way, they have revealed a solar system rich beyond our imagining.
The journey was made possible by a rare alignment of the planets, a configuration that occurs only once every 176 years. That enabled the craft to go from planet to planet, accelerating as they entered the gravitational field of one, then flying out to the next. The Voyagers carried a battery of scientific equipment to collect data on the unknown worlds in their path. That included a pair of vidicom cameras, and a data transfer rate slower than a dialup modem.
Scientists have been reconstructing the history of the moon by scouring its surface, mapping its mountains and craters, and probing its interior. What are they learning about our own planet’s beginnings? Decades ago, we sent astronauts to the moon as a symbol of confidence in the face of the great cold war struggle. Landing on the moon was a giant leap for mankind. But it’s what the astronauts picked up from the lunar surface that may turn out to be Apollo’s greatest legacy.
When the astronauts of Apollo stepped out of their landing craft, they entered a world draped in fine sticky dust, strewn with rocks, and pocked with craters. They walked and rambled about, picking up rocks that they packed for the return flight. Back in earth-bound labs, scientists went to work probing the rocks for clues to one of the most vexing questions in all of science. Where did the moon come from? The answer promised to shed light on an even grander question. Where did Earth come from? And how did it evolve into the planet we know today?
The nature of the moon began to come into focus four centuries ago. Galileo Galilei had heard of an instrument built by Dutch opticians capable of “seeing faraway things as though nearby.” Galileo, in many ways the first modern scientist, saw this new instrument as a tool to help settle a long standing question. What was the nature of the heavens, and how did the world of men fit within it? To some philosophers, the moon was a perfect, crystalline sphere of divine substance, free of Earth’s imperfections. Galileo, with his telescope, saw a more familiar reality. He noted mountains and valleys on the moon, features like those of Earth.
The astronauts of Apollo lifted off on a series of missions to get a close up look at the moon and perhaps settle the debate. Because there’s no atmosphere there, the astronauts entered landscapes that are nearly frozen in time. They could scour the lunar surface for evidence of events going back almost to the time of its birth.
Indeed, eons of impacts had opened up the Moon’s interior, leaving a wealth of information strewn about their landing sites. Scientists had already noticed that some large old craters were surrounded by concentric rings. You can see one of the most pronounced examples in this image of the Mare Orientale, captured recently by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO. The colors show differences in elevation.
The old view was that the impact had melted the rock below. A newer view held that the impactor had actually splashed down on a molten surface. That gave rise to the radical notion that, early in its history, the moon’s surface was covered in a vast ocean of magma. When the astronauts arrived, they found relatively light rocks known as anorthosites. Their presence suggested that heavier material had sunk toward the moon’s interior, forcing lighter material to the surface. The rocks they brought back were found to be strikingly similar to those on Earth, in part because they share forms of oxygen, called isotopes, that scientists regard as “blood types” for solar system bodies. Then there was this. The moon appeared to be completely, utterly, dry, with no evidence that water was ever present on its surface.
The story of how the space missions evolved from the X-15 fighter jet in 1959 to get people into space is explained. The programs began with the Mercury missions: 7 men were selected to carry the first astronaut into space “on top of a rocket capsule”. There was a rush because of competition with Russia: initially not much was known (a) whether the rockets would work, and (b) whether man could survive in space. At the beginning an ape called “Ham” was the first animal that flew. Eventually Alan Shepard was selected, BUT it is learned that the Soviet Union had been the first nation to put a man in space: Yuri Gagarin.
Then John Glenn was selected in 1962 for the longest mission:5 days of weightlessness. He takes off but runs into trouble – the world waits – but the Friendship 7 flight worked and “it was obvious that the Russians are not beating us”.
The process moves on to a more scientific set of missions, led by Scott Carpenter, called the Aurora program. More problems arise, but are overcome. Aurora 7 is recovered.
The next program are the Gemini launches, and here president Kennedy announces the goal of flying to the moon and back.Ten missions are planned. John Young and Gus Grisman are chosen. A new launch missile, the Titan was scary – “the rocket was like a controlled explosion”. Engineers fix the problems. In March 1965, “it was white knuckles” when Gemini 3 was launched but the astronauts were recovered.
The next big challenge was “walking in space”, also known as EVA – Extra Vehicular Activity. During this time weightlessness was tested using a specially modified plane called “the vomit Comet”. Spacesuit design was another problem – going from 250 degrees above zero to 250 degrees below zero rather quickly.
There was still competition with the Soviets, and NASA rushed matters. It was “a risky business” with EVA training performed in secret. On Gemini 4, in 1964, Ed White made the first EVA.
Then it was the “Rendezvous” effort where two spacecraft could coordinate for an eventual moon landing. Gemini 6 and Gemini 7 came within 20 feet of each other for 3 orbits. Then Gemini 7 travelled 6 million miles in 14 days. The effort weakened the astronaut’s legs.
Finally Dave Scott and Neil Armstrong demonstrated docking in 1966 in the Gemini 8 flight. There were problems, but recovery was achieved.
There were 4 Gemini missions left. Gene Cerman and Tom Stafford flew Gemini 9. It didn’t work. Neither did more Gemini attempts.
Finally Buzz Aldrin, who practised weightless motion under water, on Gemini’s final mission, Aldrin conducted three successful EVAs.
Things were then set for the Apollo missions.
The testing of ORION – NASA’s Deep Space Exploration Spacecraft has been postponed once again. This video explains in detail NASA’s new deep space exploration spacecraft called Orion which will take humans farther into space than ever before including landing on an asteroid, the moons of Mars, and Mars itself.
It is commonly theorized that the universe began with the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago. But since we can only see as far as light has traveled in that time, we can’t actually make out the edge of the universe. Could it be that the universe is infinite? Is there any way to find out what the shape of the universe really is? Can we find the edge, discover what might lie beyond it, and perhaps even discover a universe next to ours? Narrated by Morgan Freeman