Asa perfect start to the International Year of Astronomy 2009, three wonderfuldays of hobnobbing with few of the best minds in Astronomy and Eclipses came toan end on 11th January. The occasion was the “Solar EclipseWorkshop” organized by ECa, the eclipse sphere of SPACE [Science PopularisationAssociation of Communicators and Educators] and the venue was Shankar LalConcert Hall, Delhi University Campus, New Delhi on 9th, 10th and 11th January 2009.
This Solar Eclipse Workshop wasan intensive three day workshop. All aspects of a successful Solar Eclipseobservation were discussed. Participants left with a definite plan for theirown eclipse observation. There were discussions on planning experiments,instrumentation, travel and logistics, anything and everything related toeclipse watching. The aim of this workshop was'Take-Home-an-Eclipse-Plan'. Whether you want to observe the eclipse, photograph it, orshow the eclipse to a large audience, all related aspects were discussed tohelp the participants make a definite plan. The workshop brought togetherprofessional & amateur astronomers, Ecliptomaniacs, Umbraphiles and eclipsechasers to share their information, knowledge, and experience. Participants who attended the workshop came from all parts ofthe country.
Speakersfor the workshop included Famous Professional Eclipse Chasers fromobservatories in India and abroad including NASA.
Mr. Jay Pasachoff,Chairman, International Astronomical Union Working Group onEclipses. Prof. Ashok Ambastha of Udaipur Solar Observatory. He plans to observe the July 2009 eclipseusing a high altitude balloon or an aircraft! Prof. Arnab RaiChoudhuriProfessor,Department of Physics, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore is a leading Indian theoreticalastrophysicist and along with his students he has developed a code named Surya(a Sanskrit word meaning the Sun) for solving the basic equations of solardynamo theory. Mr. Jay Anderson, He is the co-author, along with Mr. Fred Espenak,of all NASA eclipse bulletins. Dr. N.Rathnasree, Director Nehru PlanetariumMr. Sheridan Williams, Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. Mr. Xavier Jubier, the famous eclipseadventurer from France and a veteran of 10 eclipses. His interactive google maps andthe eclipse calculator are famous and used by eclipse enthusiasts all over theworld. Dr. Satyendra Bhandari, fromBhaskaracharya Institute for Space Applications and Geoinformatics (BISAG),Gandhinagar. For the TSE of August 2008 he travelled to the arctic - Ny Alesund(Svalbard, Norway) to conduct his experiments. Dr. Krishnanand Sinha, ARIES observatory Nainital.Prof.Dr. Dipankar Banerjee Indian Instituteof Astrophysics, Bangalore. Mr. Eric Brown is an eclipse chaser who has puttogether 8 eclipse tours. Dr. Hari Om Vats, an Associate Professor in theAstronomy and Astrophysics Division of the Physical Research Laboratory. He hasto his credit more than 90 scientific publications and 10 popular sciencearticles. ChanderBhushan Devgunis a trained mechanical engineer with expertise in tooldesigning in production technology. He is also an amateur astronomer having 25years of experience in telescope making, astrophotography and observationalastronomy Mr. Vikrant Narangis an avid astronomer, eclipse chaserand an adventure lover. Ajay Talwaris an amateur astronomer of twodecades in India. He is one of the prolific& foremost transient sky events astrophotographer in India.
the workshop were - History of eclipses, Experiencing the
rapid sequence ofevents during a Total Solar Eclipse, Future
eclipse near India and theirplanning, Building instruments
and resources for use, Charting weather patternsof places,
Planning logistics for eclipse observation, Eclipse
relatedsoftware, How to predict corona and Baily’s beads,
Science and Experimentsduring eclipse, Automated Eclipse
Photography plans, Public watches and eyesafety.
Apart from lectures and presentation theworkshop also hadlive andhands-on equipment demonstrationsandusage for the maximum benefit of eclipse enthusiasts. In addition to it video-graphingthe Sun live during the day was the highlight of the demonstrations. There wasalso a live telecast of the Demonstration area inside the auditorium whereparticipants could watch the activities outside projected on the LCD screeninside. They could also get their questions answered by the astronomers bytele-calling facility available at the venue.
One ofthe highlights of the workshop was the ‘OpenHouse Session’ where the entire panel of speakers sat on the stage andanswered all the questions posed by the audiences regarding the eclipses. Thequestions flew thick and fast and soon everyone was involved in the animateddiscussions that ensued.
Prof. Ashok Ambastha of UdaipurSolar Observatory was “very impressed by the quality of work done by ECa”. Hesaid, “A close interaction of ECa with professional astronomers would helppopularization of Astronomy in the country.”
Theworkshop presented a great opportunity to all to learn and appreciate thedynamics of our closest star, the Sun and be prepared for our tryst with It on22nd July, 2009 when India will witness the longest eclipse of the21st century, the next Total Solar Eclipse passing over India only on 20thMarch 2034!
As MeghaArora, one of the participants aptly summed up the mood of the conference, “Hey!Don’t forget to take me on any Eclipse Expedition”.
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SPACE Group is a group of companies doing pioneer work in the field of astronomy and space science. It has ventured into astronomy and space sciences products, services, software and educational material. It is the first company to develop and implement astronomy and space science modules and activities in the schools all over India. Space caters to various market segments including Corporate, Educational Institutes, Universities and Individuals. The philanthropic wing of the group known as Science Popularisation Association of Communicators and Educators (SPACE) is one of the most active agencies popularising astronomy and space science among the masses. Space activities and hands on experimental procedures find mention in text books of various national and international universities. SPACE has developed astronomy centers in all over India which host the various activities of the organization. Such centers have been developed in schools, tourism corporation properties of states of Haryana, Delhi, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Punjab, West Bengal, Maharashtra, and Karnataka. SPACE is working to tie up with Hotels and resorts all over India to provide astronomy activities as the regular activity for the guest.
SPACE has introduced
Astro-Tourism in the tourism industry of India and the
present focus is to develop Astro-Tourism as a premier
business & employment opportunity for the masses. The demand
for such tourism has surged amongst the masses by the
continuous efforts of the organization.To know more please
visit: www. spacegroupindia.org, www.space-india.org,