White star above Delhi
About 700 years ago, Dilliwallahs built the Qutub Minar. The sky those days was far less polluted than it is today, so stars were much easier to spot. Those looking heavenwards then might have noticed a rather shy star of whitish hue touching the Delhi sky’s zenith every night in winter. We now know that this star nearly reaches the zenith of the national capital’s sky every day of the year — except for the fact that during summer it’s right on top during the day and invisible.
In fact, the star grazes the zenith more frequently than every ‘day’, hitting the proverbial ‘roof’ every 23 hours, 56 minutes and 4.09 seconds. It never reaches the highest point in adjoining towns like Mathura, Agra or Panipat. The star rightfully ‘belongs’ to Delhi and Delhi alone. Maybe it’s time for us to claim it as Delhi’s star.
This star is no ordinary star. It is one of the 12 brightest stars of the northern sky most easily visible in Delhi despite the thick haze that envelopes the city. It is a prominent star with a magnitude as high as 1.7. The star, popularly known by its Arabic name, El Nath — one who butts with its horns — is the second brightest star in the constellation Taurus (see image above), marking the tip of one of the celestial bull’s horns. Hindu astronomers named it Agni, while astronomers prefer calling it Beta Tauri. El Nath belongs to the B7 III category of stars. As mentioned before, it’s whitish with a tinge of blue. From its spectral reading, we know that its surface temperature is about 18,000 degrees Kelvin. (The surface temperature of the sun is much lower, about 5,700 K.)
Another remarkable thing is that the centre of our galaxy, Earth and El Nath, all lie in a straight line. So have a look at El Nath tonight when it touches the zenith of Delhi. Now in mid-February, that should happen around 8 o’clock in the evening. Sorry non-Delhiites. You’ll have to consult your star chart to spot El Nath in your town.
Enter your email to get our daily newsletter in your inbox
- India’s sedition law has an interesting past — it was introduced by the British in 1870, decided to be dropped from the Constitution in 1948 after discussions of the Constituent Assembly.
- India will also promote tourism by celebrating 2022 as the Visit India Year through a promotion campaign highlighting India’s strengths like heritage, culture, art, wellness and yoga.
- The ADG has constituted teams of police personnel from Aligarh to assist the Hathras police.
- The incident took place on Sunday afternoon, when the girl went to a wheat field, owned by the family of the accused, to collect fodder and water.
- The provisions under the new rules relate to the code of ethics for digital news publishers, setting up of a grievance redressal system and the requirement of disclosure of information to Centre, the ministry said.
- The instrument will support the 3.6 metre Devasthal Optical Telescope (DOT) in Uttarakhand, an official release from the department of science said on Wednesday.
- Lt-Gen BS Raju said a quiet LoC will allow us to address the challenge of terrorism in a focused manner.
- The central agency has registered a case on the basis of an FIR registered by Chennai Economic Offences Wing in September last year.
- Dhyani added that the burden on the ecology due to construction on Himalayan slopes made the region prone to disasters.
- Navlakha claimed in his petition filed through advocate Shadan Farasat that the 90-day period for filing of charge sheet was over and he was entitled to default bail under Section 167(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).
- Lama was being considered as the GJM candidate for the Kalimpong assembly seat in the coming polls later this month.
- Unhappy with the response, the bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to appear in the case along with Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Vikramjeet Banerjee, who presented the note to the Court.
- The officer withdrew his request after an orthopaedic surgeon said his purpose would not be served by buying a horse.