We are a group of amateur sky enthusiasts. We indulge, practice and promote the joys of ‘sky watching’ and the science that goes with it. Reaching out to schools, colleges, general public, etc. to enthuse more and more people into astronomy – is one of our main activity. Initiating them to the joys of ‘sky watching’, taking them through the intricate process of reading star charts, helping them understand the celestial coordinate system, teaching them to find out deep sky objects, how to handle telescopes, etc. are our activities. We also organise and present popular science lectures on astronomy and often set up telescopes at public places for ‘sidewalk astronomy’.
Our enthusiasm and endeavors have resulted in numerous people ‘looking up’ and taking active interest in the subject.
India suffers from the onslaught of the covid pandemic. Regulations have forced us to stay indoors. We were deprived of the opportunity to meet & interact with people – but they too were rendered indoors.
This is when we decided to use the virtual platform. It literally set us free.
The plan was put to action in March, 2020. Our 1st video on ‘sky watching’ was presented on 26/3/2020.
The remaining 3 videos, in a series of 4, on the same topic, were presented in April & May, 2020. On 02/4/20, 20/4/20 & 02/5/20.
This was followed by 04 popular science videos on the Zero Shadow Day on 03/6/20, the Annular Eclipse on 21/6/20, the comet C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) on 22/7/20 and the NASA project ‘ARTEMIS’ on 17/8/2020.
We received a number of responses from people who shared their images after following the lectures on the Zero Shadow Day & the Annular Eclipse.
Along with the above there was a series of 05 lectures on the ‘celestial coordinate system’ which were presented in May & June’2020.
These videos and lectures were uploaded on the Facebook page and YouTube channel
In an effort to enrich ourselves and maintain our ‘knowledge sharing’ motto, we organized a set of 05 webinars on some intriguing topics of astronomy. We shall remain ever indebted to the experts for their effort. Responses from the participants during the ‘ask the expert’ phase proved that the interested layman was ‘looking up’ and was in awe of the sky.
- ‘Our neighborhood stars’ on 25/7/20 by Prof. Biman Nath, Professor, Raman Research Institute
‘Spacetime Mysteries – from Newton to Einstien to Hawking’ on 01/8/20 by Prof. SoumitraSenGupta, Senior Professor, Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science
‘The Story of the Sunspots’, on 08/8/20, by Prof. Dipankar Banerjee, Director, Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences
‘Exciting Exoplanets – are we alone?’, on 16/8/20, by Prof. Sujan Sengupta, Professor, Indian Institute of Astrophysics
‘Artemis – Humanity’s Return to the Moon’, on 23/8/20 by Dr. Jaydeep Mukherjee, Director, NASA Florida Space Grant Consortium.
All the details of the our activity can be found at our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/swakolkata/
To add to the above, we have registered to host a virtual event ‘International Observe the Moon Night’ which will take place on 26/9/20. It will be a 2.5 hrs program with live moon observation, discussions, q/a sessions, activities, etc on the moon.