Star Watch at Sundara Mahal Homestay

Look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see, and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious - Stephen Hawking

The Study of the Stars is like begun at home!!!

Socrates is credited with the saying “Philosophy begins in Wonder”. The fascination with the night sky and sense of wonder it stimulates had driven our ancestors for millennia to observe and record, through changing seasons, patterns and precision, to creating farmer’s almanac and to building great monuments and memorials. To understand and navigate our night sky we need to know a lot more about our planet, our fellow occupants in the solar system and our one star, the sun. From these basics to full-fledged star gazing, identifying  and tracking stars  you need resources of many kinds. As a family of serious Astronomy buffs we do have a vast collection of these resources. From books to personal teaching videos we have resources that will help you take a fantastic voyage by yourself. Most urban areas these days produce light pollution from city lights to head and street lights. Unless and until you are sure you can learn the basics in terms of Astronomy in theory and use the multimedia resources we suggest, please make sure you do not buy any gadgets. No telescopes not even a set of binoculars.

Study the Legends and Myths and learn to identify the 88 Constellations

From the respected source we learn by comparing the Greek and Indian Legends and Myths and how they remain to date in the stories we tell looking at the sky.

The Greek Legend – The Pleiades-

According to the ancient Greeks, the Pleiades were seven sisters. In Greek, the word “pleiades” means “doves.” Their parents were Pleione and Atlas who was condemned by Zeus to support the Heavens on his shoulders. One day, the Pleiades were traveling with their mother and met the hunter Orion.
Orion fell in love with Pleione and her charming daughters. He spent a great deal of time chasing after them, trying to win their affection. After several years, Zeus intervened and transformed the women into doves to help them escape. They flew into the sky to become the cluster of stars that today has their name.
However, only six stars are visible in the sky without a telescope. The ancient Greeks explained the absence of a seventh star with several different stories. According to one story, one of the Pleiades, Merope deserted her sisters because she was ashamed of having a mortal husband, who also happened to be a criminal.

The Indian Legend – The seven Rishis-

According to the epic Mahabharata, the stars of the Big Dipper were the seven sages called Rishis. These seven sages are said to be those who made the Sun rise and shine. They were happily married to seven sisters named Krttika. They originally all lived together in the northern sky.
But one day, the god of fire, Agni, emerged from the flames of an offering performed by the seven Rishis and fell in love with the seven Krttika. Trying to forget his hopeless love for the Krttika, Agni wandered in the forest where he met Svaha. To conquer Agni’s love, Svaha disguised herself as six of the seven Krttika. Svaha could mimic only six of the Krttika because the seventh sister Arundhati was too devoted to her husband to be imitated. After a while, Svaha gave birth to a child that she named Skanda. With his birth, rumors began to spread that six of the Rishis’ wives were his mother. Six of the Rishis divorced their wives. Arundhati was the only one that remained with her husband as the star Alcor. The other six Krttika went away to become the Pleiades.

The WorldWide Telescope is a software environment that enables your computer to function as a virtual telescope, combining terabytes of imagery from such famous telescopes as Hubble, Chandra and Spitzer into one vast panorama of the universe. Click on the Image above and get started…