Stunning meteor showers, full moons and eclipses will light up the sky all through this year. While usually there are 12 full moons every year, this year, there will be 13 full moons, with two occurring in August. The second full moon appearing on August 31 is also called The Blue Moon, like the phrase ‘once in a blue moon’, according to NASA.
“It’s time to look up and observe the sky,” announces Obuli Chandran, a science and maths educator, who has launched the Mango Calendar 2023, themed on astronomy. Important celestial events like eclipses, planetary conjunctions, and meteor showers are highlighted along with their brief descriptions. For example, the hybrid solar eclipse occurs on April 20. It is a solar eclipse, wherein some parts of the world will witness it as total solar eclipse, while in others parts it will be seen as an annular solar eclipse.
As for the meteor showers, the Lyrids meteor shower that shoots about 20 meteors per hour at its peak can be visible in the evening skies on April 22 and April 23.
On May 5, one can observe a penumbral lunar eclipse – when the moon moves through the penumbra, or the faint, which is the outer part of Earth’s shadow. Meanwhile, a partial lunar eclipse will be visible on October 28, where only one portion of the moon passes through the darkest shadow or umbra.
Making science fun
Obuli, who is also the founder of Mango Education that aims to make science and maths fun for students, says the calendar’s objective is to make people, especially children, get excited about astronomy. “When you mention ‘black hole’, everyone is intrigued. Using black hole as an example, we lure them into understanding complex science like gravity, force and light. We also use examples to teach geometry and trignometry.”
Mango Education has a full-fledged curriculum in Astronomy and Astrophysics for students from grade 3 to 9, which they offer on a tie-up to private schools in the city. “We teach the subject as an extra-curricular activity, take students on star gazing trips to Mudumalai and Ladakh.”
They also reach out to Government school students through a number of outreach programmes as a part of ‘Naalaya Vignani’ initiative along with the Regional Science Centre in Coimbatore, developed by National Council of Science Museums with the active support of Tamil Nadu Science & Technology Centre (TNSTC).
“We have mapped the science exhibits at the Regional Science Centre according to the curriculum of students.”
He also talks with pride about Mango Science Radio, a WhatsApp initiative launched during COVID-19.
“We had 7,000 subscribers from across the country. We posted short clips on fascinating stories related with science. For example, did you know that Neptune is the only planet found using mathematical calculations?”
The calendar features 12 astro images including deep sky objects, star clusters, nebulae, and eclipses shot by Obuli over the years. He adds, “We want to bring a sense of wonder and make people look up at the cosmos.”
To know more, call 9952243541 or visit https://themango.co/ calendar2023
Priced at ₹599 (₹499 till January 10), the calendar can be shipped across India.