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Karachi astronomer’s moon images feature on Nasa website

Karachi astronomer’s moon images feature on Nasa website

KARACHI: An NED graduate and young amateur astronomer from Karachi, Talha Zia’s composite of 12 single images documenting the full moon has been displayed on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (Nasa) Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD).

The 12 full moons captured by Zia, according to Nasa’s website, represent “every lunation from 2016 November through 2017 October, as imaged from Pakistan.”

As all the consecutive full moons are captured at the same scale, the images highlight the changes in its apparent size.

Zia has been interested since childhood in physics and astronomy and in 2015 joined the Karachi Astronomers’ Society to further explore his interest.

Speaking about the significance of the images, Zia explained, “They tell us how the size of moon varies during one year as seen from Earth. It shows the elliptical (non-circular/oval) orbit of the moon as confirmed from size variation, as well as tells us the nearest (perigee) and farthest (apogee) points of the moon’s orbit around Earth and hence explains the super moon of Nov 2016 and micro moon of June 2017.”

Another interesting element captured in Zia’s images is the partial lunar eclipse visible on the Aug 2017 full moon.

Zia explained how the photos “were taken at different timings due to weather and atmospheric conditions. I have mentioned the date and timings of each of the 12 images in my composite image”.

Another of his images of the moon has been displayed on in celebration of International Moon Observing Night on Oct 28, 2017. He contributed from Pakistan.

Without any fancy equipment, Zia has achieved this through dedication and consistency, as well as hard work.

Published in Dawn, November 17th, 2017

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