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Durgesh Tripathi - solar guides


Durgesh Tripathi


Ryan MilliganWhere did you grow up?


I grew up in a lovely small village in the state of Uttar Pradesh in India. After high school I moved to the nearest city called Gorakhpur where I studied Physics and Astrophysics.


Here is a picture of a printing press for which Gorakhpur is famous.


a picture of a printing press for which Gorakhpur is famous


How did you get interested in astronomy?


My interest in Astronomy began from my school days. In India, during summer, people go on their rooftop in the evening… most of the houses are made of concrete with a flat roof.  The summer days get very hot (40-50 C) and it’s good to get a breath of fresh air in the evening up on the roof! 


Living in a village was an advantage, since there was very little pollution and you could see a very clear sky, the Milky Way -- Aakash Ganga (Ganges flowing in sky)– this is how we call it in Hindi.


In those days we didn’t have electricity, so there were no lights around, just the Moon and the starlight. My father was a science teacher in school and used to show me different stars, planets and constellations and that's when I fell in love with astronomy.


Later on when I was older, I got an opportunity to attend a summer school in Astronomy and Astrophysics at one the top institutes in India called Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Pune. This is where it all began then I went to Max Plank Institute, Lindau in Germany and then spent several yeas at Cambridge University, UK. Now I am back at the IUCAA in Pune doing research and teaching.


In Japan with the Hinode team
In Japan with the Hinode team


How did you get into Solar Physics?


In the beginning my interest was night sky observations i.e. studying different stars but during my studies, I realised that our daytime star (our Sun), is also really interesting.


Then I got an opportunity to go and study at the Max-Planck-Institute for Solar System Research in Germany. 


This was a challenging, but great experience.


What do you work on?


Hinode HatI am studying the physics of solar atmosphere and in particular solar eruptions, called coronal mass ejections (CMEs).


I feel lucky that I am working on Solar Physics in an era which is considered as the Golden time to study the Sun., since many solar spacecraft are in space already (SoHO, TRACE, RHESSI, Hinode and Stereo) and another one  (solar Dynamics Observatory) is going to be launched soon.


Here I am wearing the "Hinode Hat" in Japan.


The Sun has been very calm and quiet, but now in 2012 it is becoming more active and dynamic. The Sun has an eleven year cycle of activity, and is just waking up!


With some friends in Japan

With some friends in Japan


I have been using observations from SOHO, Hinode and STEREO. Working with Hinode, I have travelled to Japan several time. It was great to see how people were driving Hinode in
space and trying to make the spacecraft look at some particular features on the Sun. I loved being in Japan where I learnt that fish can also be eaten raw and it can be yummy…


What do you like to do in your spare time?


playing what we then called German Cricket.Being an Indian where everyone plays cricket, I used to play cricket a lot. But when I went to Germany, there were no opportunities for cricket…but I still did not give up…I tried to show my friends in Germany that cricket can be really interesting… and I made then play what we then called German Cricket.

Here I am playing ‘German cricket’


Apart from cricket, I love playing chess, but I like to play it with people whom I can beat. I know, I am mean when it comes to chess.


I also like hiking and love sunny places.


Doing solar physics I got a chance to visit Boulder (Colorado, USA) for a couple of months. Boulder is like a heaven for people who love hiking during the summer.


Boulder, Colorado, USA


Ah yes, I cannot forget to mention this: I LOVE WATCHING Bollywood movies. I can watch several (each of 3 hrs) one after the other!


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