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Rare sightings of the Himalayan peaks: boy and teacher affirms the bust | India News

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MUMBAI: For centuries the majestic Himalayas are believed to have produced rare sightings of many mountain peaks hundreds of miles away on a clear day. Now a student researcher and his mentor have questioned claims about such high visibility.
The lockdown was the most recent phase in which a substantial drop in atmospheric particulate matter is believed to have cleared the way for a view of the peaks normally obscured by pollution. But these claims of sightings of the Dhauladhar from Jalandhar and Mount Jomolhari in the eastern Himalayas from Bhagalpur were disputed by the duo in an article validated by a major scientific journal.
Arnav Singh, a boy who had just finished high school, and his mentor, Professor Vijay Singh, president of the Indian Association of Physics Teachers, reviewed long-standing reports on the sightings. Based on calculations of the distance and size of the object and the intensity of the light, they inferred that such sightings are unlikely to be true. The observer would have mistaken a larger or higher rank for something else.
Arnav and his mentor found that due to the curvature of the earth, the maximum distance that could be seen from the top of Mount Jomolhari was 301 km. “This was below the 366 km distance between the peak and Bhagalpur,” said Singh, a former professor at IIT Kanpur. The find was surprising since the observation of Jomolhari of Bhagalpur in 1785 by Sir William Jones, known to be the greatest Orientalist of all time and founder of the Royal Society of Bengal, has been quoted often and recently in a famous book of John Keay called The ‘Great Arch’.
So what peak did Sir William Jones see? Analyzing the observations of his successor from the Royal Bengal Society, Henry Colebroke, Arnav and Singh assumed that in all probability it was Mount Kanchenjunga. Seen from Bhagalpur, this mountain is in the same direction as Mount Jomolhari. It is also closer (297 km) and more visible and also higher (8,586 km), debunking the claim.
The duo’s work was published last month by the American Journal of Physics. The referees and the US editor expressed their satisfaction in confirming acceptance of the collaborative research conducted by a 17-year-old student and a 71-year-old professor.
Based on calculations of the distance and size of the object and the intensity of the light, the duo inferred that such sightings are unlikely to be true. The observer would have mistaken a larger or higher rank for something else.



Times of India

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