Mars hoax returns to misguide astronomy enthusiasts
Karachi, June 04: Astronomy enthusiasts are being misguided yet again this year by the dissemination of emails and other material of unfounded information about the closest orbital encounter between Earth and Mars.
University of Karachi (KU) Institute of Space and Planetary Astrophysics Director Dr M Shahid Qureshi said that somehow this information about Mars reaching its closest point to Earth had re-emerged on the internet or is being spread through emails. This information should be clarified for sky gazers and other people who take keen interest in movement of celestial bodies, he said.
Dr Qureshi said that it was August 27, 2003 when Mars reached its closest distance to earth that was 346, 44,600 miles. It would take another 60,000 years when Mars would again come so close to Earth.
He said it seems that after 2003, internet users are misguided every year by spread of such emails containing unsubstantiated information about closest encounter between Mars and Earth. He said that this year the closest distance between Mars and Earth, which in terminology of astronomy is called conjunction, would be around 686,00,000 miles and it would occur on December 31.
In his article "Mars Hoax Returns" in the August 2006 issue of the American monthly magazine Sky & Telescope, Alan M MacRobert wrote that the problem is that "August 27" is actually August 27, 2003. Mars did make a historically close pass by Earth at that time, and when magnified 75 times in a telescope, it looked (in the telescope) the size of the Moon as it appears to the unaided eye. However, that qualifier has long been lost from some versions of the chain letter.
"As they orbit the Sun, Earth and Mars make a close approach every 2-1/4 years or so. This time is called 'opposition', because from our perspective on Earth, Mars then appears opposite the Sun in the sky. On average, the two planets come within 48 million miles of each other, but because their orbits are elliptical (oval) rather than perfectly circular, the minimum separation between the two planets varies from one opposition to the next," he wrote.
"In late August 2003 Mars came within 35 million miles of Earth, and in late October and early November 2005 it came within 43 million miles. Mars's next opposition came in December 2007, when it was farther still, 55 million miles from Earth. For reference, the Moon orbits the Earth at an average distance of about 240,000 miles, and the average Earth–Sun distance is about 93 million miles," MacRobert added. The News
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7th Emerging Talent: Out in the open
Karachi: Bright, creative, intriguing, enticing, these are just some of the superlatives that can best describe the 7th Emerging Talent 2009 exhibit being held at the V M Art Gallery.
In its seventh year, the art exhibit showcased some of the best works of young art students from all over Pakistan and this year was no exception.
Institutions that took part in this year's Emerging Talent include Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture (IVSAA), Karachi School of Art (KSA), University of Karachi (KU), Central Institute of Arts and Crafts (CIAC), National College of Arts (NCA), University of Punjab (PU), Islamia University Bahawalpur and Bahauddin Zakariya University-Multan College of Arts.
Depicting work in mediums of oil on canvas, prints, mixed media and sculptures, the graduates focused on a multitude of themes, unveiling young talent at various stages of artistic maturity. The theses coming out this year were full of experimentation, with most artists using their thoughts and feelings as a focal point.
KSA's Turab Ali Ramzi's etchings were a burst of feelings that the artist felt with regards to the offerings promised in the world hereafter, with eternal peace and houris a part of the package. NCA's Adeela Shah came up with 'Floydian Slip' a parallel reality reflecting her feelings. Aisha Gul's 'Angels and Devils of Love' had larger than life heels in striking colours, capturing the joys and hurt that love brings.
Picking up violence from the streets of Karachi and entwining it with Medusa's rage using coffee stain and charcoal was IVS's Syed Ammad Tahir. "I am attached to Karachi despite my share of fears and insecurities but then I see something positive coming out of this and I think that's what makes us all go on," said Tahir. Uroosa Ishtiaq's cool blue canvas 'Musical Rain' depicted her light and perky moods thanks to music.
Taking inspiration from Sheikh Saadi's poem, the hardworking ants symbolising humans, in Salman Hassan's creations captured an introspective journey, resulting in an insight into a world where the never ending struggle defines a person. Abreea Asim's 'La La Land' explored the whimsical and noisy world of rickshaws, where they are more than a humble means of transportation.
However, the most in-your-face pieces were 'Hidden Lust' and 'Pleasure' by NCA's Madiha Arif. Although the artist could not make it to the show, her works were self explanatory. Dealing with the sexual exploitation of women in the society, a majority of women present at the exhibit agreed that they could relate to experiences depicted on the canvases.
Riffat Alvi, a prominent artist in her own right, is the moving spirit behind the annual fair that displays a choice selection of thesis works of art institutions from all over Pakistan. Talking about the exhibit, she said, "Over all, this year's exhibit is nice and refreshing. There is so much of creativity on display and the different thoughts and ideas that went behind the creations. Also, it is nice to see that some of the works by students were sold even before the exhibition started, giving them the first rush of the professional world."
With more than 50 captivating art pieces by some of the finest graduates, the exhibition drew a large number of visitors, ranging from art admirers to critics. Emerging Talent not only provides an excellent platform to young artists to display their works collectively and gain exposure, it also gives the much needed encouragement to young artists who have the potential to define tomorrow's art. Daily Times
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