By R. P. Ajeesh(III Year Biomedical Engineering)
“When you look at the Andromeda galaxy (which is 2.3 million light years away), the light you are seeing took 2.3 million years to reach you. Thus you are seeing the galaxy as it was 2.3 million years ago”
Source:Astronomy for Beginners
The history of Astronomy in India speaks about great scholars like Aryabhatta, Bhaskara II, Madhava of Sangamagama, Nilakantha Somayaji, Jyeshtadeva and many others with their contributions like Aryabhatiya, Siddhantasiromani, Aryabhatibhasya etc in the field of Astronomy. It was believed that during the Indus Valley Civilization, the science of Astronomy came into practice for the first time, when it was used to write calendars. As the civilization hadn’t left any written documents, the oldest text that describes the rules for tracking the motions of Sun and the Moon was the Vedanga Jyotisha which dated back Vedic Period.
Annually, a huge amount of money is being spent for Astronomical observations(about $30.8 million annually for Keck Observatory) and space related operations. It is therefore necessary to know the importance of Astronomy. Not everyone of us may be aware of the fact that many of the devices or phenomenon used in Astronomical devices and procedures are applied to various other Industries. The I-Phone camera is a Charged Coupled Device (CCD), that was originally developed for Astronomy. The principle of Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Aperture Synthesis was first developed by a radio astronomer which is widely used in Medical Industry and the list goes on.
The Astronomy Club of the college was established by Dr. Sakthivel (presently the president of Coimbatore Astronomy Club) in 1986 who was the Associate Professor of Department of Applied Mathematics. He used to conduct regular Star Gazing sessions for students. It was during the time of appearance of Halley’s Comet, Dr. Sreenivasan (then HOD, Department of Metallurgical Engineering) encouraged him to start a club. In 1987, when his request got granted by the Principal, Dr. A. Shanmuga Sundaram, the Astronomy Club was established. Since then, the club has been actively involved in gazing the sky and beyond.
Mr.A.Senthil Kumar (Assistant professor, Department of Applied science)
B.Venkatesan-BE ECE 4th yr
P.Sujitha-BE-EEE 4 th yr
There are about 23 executives who belong to both the second and the third year.
The interesting events and activities that mark the club apart are listed below:
- As an important part of the club, weekly observations of moon in different phases, various nebula and clusters, eclipse, sun spots and super moon planets are made through SKYWATCH event at the E-Block terrace. It includes star gazing and deep sky observations using a reflective telescope. The club has five telescopes with them.
- The club had conducted three hangout sessions by the alumni, Mr. Jeevan on various topics like Planet Formation, Solar System Formation, Early Earth, Simulations on Solar System formation, Moon formation, formation of stars and galaxies, eclipse, sun spots and super moon
- Intrams Events
- CLASH OF ASTRO MANIACS: A Scientific Debate on “R&D ON V/s BEYOND Geo Space”
- SPACE VENTURE : A mind boggling QUIZ Hunt was organised by the club which included three rounds: prelims, Connections, in which the participant identified the scientists and their corresponding laws or phenomenon and Decipher, in which the participant was asked to find the answer for each letter that has a question whose answer consisted of the letter. Nearly 40 teams participated out of which 25 went to finals.
- Kalam quiz: As a remembrance to the missile man of India, the club conducted Kalam quiz on 29th September which had two rounds: the prelims and the final round. In the prelims, students were asked questions about Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam’s contribution to astronomy, his achievements, and basic astrophysics. The second round consisted of identification of constellations, a rapid fire round and a questionnaire round. About 60 teams participated.
3) Back to School: To make the students skim through their secondary academics, the club organised an event called Back to School on 15th October and it had the rounds: Prelims(basic questions were asked), Video Round(collection of experiments), Cartoon round(a phenomenon to be identified from a humorous conversation between two people), Around the solar system round and movie round(reasoning in terms of science about a particular part of movie being projected to the participant).
- Kriya 2K15 Event – Make Your Own Hubble: The students were provided with the materials, out of which a refractive telescope should be made.
- Each year, the club organizes an Industrial Visit to gain astronomical knowledge. Last year, the club visited the Cosmic Ray Laboratory, TIFR, Ooty.
- Creative Modelling events are conducted by the club like telescope-making. Other events include fact of the week(posted regularly in Student Union Boards), WhatsApp discussion on scientific topics, Industrial Visit to any observatory every year, guest lectures and student lectures.
For the executives, the recruitment process was done online. The interested students were advised to submit their resumes and write ups, from which shortlisted students were selected and interviewed through WhatsApp.
The Astronomy club is the only club dedicated to science and amateur astronomy, whose specialty being The Skywatch. The club unleashes the scientific knowledge of engineering students and teach astronomy to the beginners.
When asked about the expectations of the club from the students, Ms. Sujitha, one of the Secretaries said “We wish the students to take part in Skywatch from which they can explore the sky and beyond, take part in creative modelling events and quizzes where they can show the power of their grey matter and to utilize our resources properly”
“We spread knowledge through social media”, she added. True to their words, the club has an active Facebook page and a website designed and maintained by the alumni students.
The club has an enthusiastic crew of students with throbbing knowledge in astronomy which focuses on developing the understanding capability and exploring nature among students. Try the Skywatch as it is worth a lot! Lets all hope, that someday our astronomical scientists find a new planet somewhere in the universe that supports life forms better than Earth!
R. P. Ajeesh(III Year Biomedical Engineering) is a devouring reader and loves to write about mysteries and relationships. He is passionate about journalism, loves camping and music. He has a great deal of interest in crime thrillers and detective stories.
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