Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Venus Transit View From Bangalore - 2012 June 06

Update on 2012-June-06 08:15 IST
Now I got clear pictures of the Venus transit (2012 June 06) from the terrace of the building where I live. This time I used my tripod effectively. In these new pictures, along with the Venus on the top left corner, you can see many sunspot groups spread over the solar disk. All these photographs are using my old Canon PowerShot S2 IS with a tele-convertor TC-DC58B. I used couple of x-ray films to adjust the brightness. Many times it was too difficult to adjust the brightness and point at the sun at the same time to get it in focus as the clouds made sudden and a lot of brightness change. Here are the pictures with the time of capture as title.
07:28 IST

07:29 IST

07:32 IST

07:32 IST

07:32 IST

07:32 IST

07:35 IST

07:43 IST


I got these first pictures of Venus Transit of 2012 June 6th from Bangalore around 06:35 am IST. I waited from 05:45am and at last, the sun peaked through the monsoon clouds for a small moment, and I could capture only these shaky pictures, the wind was very high at the apartment roof, and I could not hold the camera and the x-ray film firmly to get a better focus, by the time I reach again with my Tripod, the clouds again obscured the sun. These pictures are taken around 06:35 am IST.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Circumhorizontal Arc

On a fine early morning, when the flight from Bangalore International Airport to London – Heathrow, climbed up the heights, I could see this Circumhorizontal Arc. (Look at the upper right-hand side of the first picture and slightly towards left from the center of the second picture to spot it.) But I am not sure if it is a Circumhorizontal Arc, or a sundog. The Wikipedia definition says that “a sundog is an atmospheric phenomenon that creates bright spots of light in the sky, often on a luminous ring or halo on either side of the sun”. You can read more about sundog in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun_dog.Circumhorizontal arcs or fire bow are formed not from water droplets in sky, but due to the presence of ice crystals in sky in the form of Cirrus clouds. More info about Circumhorizontal arcs is available at wikipedia => Circumhorizontal Arc
Here is another similar optical event that I captured long back ago that looks like a Circumhorizontal Arc =>A Rainbow or a Circumhorizontal arc!!! and here is yet another capture that I made a while back that looked like a Sundog =>Parhelion

Climbing Above the Clouds

As the flight climbed up to the height from Bangalore International Airport on the way to London Heathrow on a fine morning, the cloud pattern changed their appearance over different layers. Here in the two pictures below, you can see the same layer of cloud from bottom and top. In the first picture you can see two layers of clouds, one below the level of the aircraft and one above, obscuring the sun. The second picture is taken after the flight climbed to some more height and reached farther high from the obscuring layer. But another dispersed layer of cloud is still visible obscuring the sun to a certain extend in the second picture also.

Friday, May 04, 2012

St. Catherine Church Payyampally – A Painting

The St. Catherine Church in Payyampally is a catholic Syro Malabar Church under Mananthavady Diocese. Payyampally Parish was promoted to Forane somewhere around the year 2000 with the following 11 parish under it, including Payyampally parish

  • St. George, Appapara
  • St. Thomas, Arattuthara
  • St. Joseph, Bavali
  • Bl. Chavara Kuriakose, Edayoorkunnu
  • Little Flower, Kammana
  • St. Sebastian, Kartikulam
  • St. Martin, Martin Nagar(Ondayangadi)
  • St. Alphonsa, Padmala
  • St. Mary, Panavally
  • St. Catherine, Payyampally
  • St. George, Thrissilery
  • The church was established in the year of 1936 as per the diocese website http://www.diocesemdy.org/.
    The above painting shows the Church building which was constructed somewhere in 1970~75. I was not even born then. I asked my mother (P. C Mary, retired teacher of St. Catherine’s Higher Secondary school) and came to know that prior to the construction of the church that you see in this painting, the church was functioning in another small building adjacent to the old parish house which is now in the verge of collapse. Even before that the church was functioning in the old lower primary school building of St. Catherine’s Higher Secondary School. The LP school building is destructed as it reached its age limit and a basketball court stands in the location as of now in 2012. A new two storey concrete building is constructed as the new lower primary wing of St. Catherine’s school.
    The building that you see in the above painting is destructed recently (2011~2012) and a new church building construction is going on which is expected to be complete by 2012~2013. So I thought of recreating the memories of the old church building by painting it and as a tribute to all those who nurtured out from this Parish during the last 35 or 40 years.
    Read more about St. Catherine’s Higher secondary school here ->St. Catherine's Higher Secondary School

    Wednesday, April 25, 2012

    The Swarm and the Banyan Trees

    The two Big Banyan trees you see in the picture above stands next to the apartment where I stay now (Daadys Layout, Hebbagodi, Bangalore). In the last 3 or 4 weeks the tree sprouted new leaves and the colors changed dramatically. In fact all the trees in Bangalore underwent the usual dramatic color changes during the last couple of months. These two big trees create a special ambience to our living place. The reason is nothing but there are living beings on it 24x7 making a lot of noise. In the night time few bats and some small birds (I don’t know what bird) of the size of around two cricket balls makes the chirping music, while during day time the chirping musicians of numerous kinds. Unfortunately I am a very bad ornithologist who can identify very few birds like crows, sparrows and eagles; perhaps a few other well-known birds like a wood-pecker , a king fisher, a horn-bill and many other birds of which I do not know the English names but the Malayalam names.


    This location started to be become noisier in the last one year on account of recordings played over loud speakers from various religious institutions around. Noise is uncomfortable and I love to remain in silence once I am back from office. For the same reason, I used to switch of TV even if interesting programs are being broadcasted. But the chirping of birds always turned to be soothing.

    When I said that the chirping sound of the birds are soothing; you would have imagined of nice music like chirping that we always imagine or see in a calm village movie scene. But it was not like that for the last few months when the tree bared full of fruits.

    A small type of bird which was a little bigger than the usual sparrow used to be the main musician. They used to come in small and large groups to feed on these fruits. The fruits were red in color and sized slightly bigger than ripe coffee beans and the two trees were full of these and turned almost red on account of this. The huge number of birds that alighted on the tree made me to think that the fruits will be over by one or two days. But the nature showcased a beautiful story. The birds never took more than they wanted. They just had the ripest red fruits which were about to fall. Different flocks came over day by day again and again whenever they were hungry. In fact all the Banyan Trees of the same species bared fruit around the same time in and outside Bangalore. When I inspected the ground below the tree I never saw an over ripened fruit laying there. Over the last three months (January to March) the tree gave food to a lot of living beings including sparrows, and the above bigger birds, crows, eagles, squirrels and lot many other birds which visited the tree.

    These birds which came in flocks demonstrated a spectacular show of coordination which I am not able to find how till now. They use to turn up in small groups (might be around 50 or 100) and first alighted in the nearby trees. After making sure that there are no predators around them took one or two round flights around the tree in group in a harmony before alighting onto the Banyan tree for the feast. While they were feeding or better say harvesting, they start to make the chirping music. They never user to chirp while they made sure of safe surroundings. Slowly more bird flocks of the same kind used to turn up onto the tree. Gradually the music level will increase like a monsoon rain becoming strong. Meanwhile small groups of birds use to fly way and take one or two round flights to alight again on the same spot. The distance from one end of the tree to the other end of the adjacent tree that you see above is somewhere around 75 meters. When the chirping level reaches a certain level, all the birds (more than 1000 in numbers) fly away together from the tree, and the sudden sound of the flapping wings along with the sudden silence from the chirping being stopped simulated the sound of strong winds before summer rain. After this spectacular group show there will be silence for at least another half an hour before small flocks turns up again. I couldn’t understand how they coordinate the sudden flight when all the 1000 or 2000 birds are making the same chirping sound. One thing I noticed is that the chirping sound is at the maximum level just before the sudden group take off. It created a similar feeling of an airplane warming and speeding up its engine before a takeoff. Coordination by seeing the other birds flying away seems to be impossible since the span of the tree with a radius of 50 or more meter (the two trees together) is beyond that. The sound itself will have a small delay to reach from one end to another end if I guess that a group leader coordinates the activity by making a strange sound. It is something like a flock of birds flying away when they hear the BANG sound of a hunter’s gun. Initially I thought that they took off because a predator bird like an eagle or crows or squirrels were spotted. But this assumption turned out to be false, since many a times I could see them feeding on the tree together. Then I watched for humans or dogs nearby and found that that too is not the cause. The only convincing argument that I made myself is that the birds decide to fly together based on a maximum chirping sound level.

    By chance if any ornithologist who has done enough research on this subject goes through my page, please share your findings. I came across great stories of scientists who learned about the flight and life cycle path of dragon flies across two generations from Hyderabad – Bangalore – Western Coast - Maldives and back to origin. So I believe that this spectacular coordination between the birds would also have been researched and revealed. If not I am happy to announce this as a subject for research for new aspirants, and I am sure that the show will start all over again from next January and the subsequent months till the last fruit of these Banyan trees are consumed.


    One word to those who cut down trees for any reason – When you destroy these you are destroying some unknown beautiful things for ever which might be even suit commercialized interests of you in the future.

    Friday, April 20, 2012

    The Transporter


    The vehicle that assisted me for a month’s time in California! This rented car helped us to roam around here and there as we wished (me and my colleagues). The article published on April 15th (Panoramic View from Golden Gate Bridge – III) were the last photos to publish from the California trip made on 2010 September. Las Vegas, The redwood forest and Grand Canyon are left for next visit.

    Thursday, April 19, 2012

    After a Summer Rain

    The sun poked out of the clouds after a Summer Rain during the Easter of 2012 (8th April 2012). I got this view from the school ground (St. Catherine’s Higher Secondary School). I visited the school to get some more pictures of the ~75 year old school where I completed my 7th to 10th standard education. Those pictures of the school that I took are added to a previous post named Ente Vidyalayam. Please click the link St. Catherines H.S.S Payyampally to see them.

    Sunday, April 15, 2012

    Panoramic View from Golden Gate Bridge - III



    A panoramic view of the famous Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco! During my short stay in California, along with my colleagues, I made a trip to San Francisco from Los Angeles along the coastal highway - CA 1 also called as Highway 1. We stayed in San Jose as a guest of my friend Sajith. We could reach there only by mid night, the next morning we reached this historical and beautiful location, spent some time there, had a nice walk through the bridge and started back to Los Angeles by noon time.

    Tuesday, April 10, 2012

    Panoramic View from Golden Gate Bridge - II




    A panoramic view of the famous Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco! During my short stay in California, along with my colleagues, I made a trip to San Francisco from Los Angeles along the coastal highway - CA 1 also called as Highway 1. We stayed in San Jose as a guest of my friend Sajith. We could reach there only by mid night, the next morning we reached this historical and beautiful location, spent some time there, had a nice walk through the bridge and started back to Los Angeles by noon time.

    Thursday, April 05, 2012

    Panoramic View from Golden Gate Bridge – I



    A panoramic view of the famous Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco! During my short stay in California, along with my colleagues, I made a trip to San Francisco from Los Angeles along the coastal highway - CA 1 also called as Highway 1. We stayed in San Jose as a guest of my friend Sajith. We could reach there only by mid night, the next morning we reached this historical and beautiful location, spent some time there, had a nice walk through the bridge and started back to Los Angeles by noon time.

    Sunday, April 01, 2012

    Golden Gate Bridge



    A view of the famous Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco! During my short stay in California, along with my colleagues, I made a trip to San Francisco from Los Angeles along the coastal highway - CA 1 also called as Highway 1. We stayed in San Jose as a guest of my friend Sajith. We could reach there only by mid night, the next morning we reached this historical and beautiful location, spent some time there, had a nice walk through the bridge and started back to Los Angeles by noon time.