The Bangalore Astronomical Society conducted sessions at two different places:
· BAS Volunteers involved: Shashank HJ, Amar Sharma, Naveen LN, Vinod, Chandrashekhar, Pavan Keshavamurthy
· Equipment: 6” f/7 Newtonian, 8” f/6 Newtonian
· Other organizations involved: Karnataka Mountaineering Association (KMA)
· BAS Volunteers involved: Hemant Hariyani
· KMA Volunteers involved: Vasumathi, Ajoy, Lavaraju, Siddahlinga Swamy, Smitha, Asha, and Mohan
· Equipment: 12” f4/5 Newtonian, 3” Newtonian
While the first was aimed at general public outreach, the second was a part of a Scouts Training Program organized by The Karnataka Mountaineering Association for school children and involved teaching theory followed by an all night observation session.
In Bangalore, the response was overwhelming and more than 600 people had a look at the Moon and Saturn. The event started at around 6:00 PM with everybody getting a glimpse of the moon on the 8". Saturn was as usual the crowd's favorite. Some keen observers could also make out the faint moons of Saturn too!
The event went on till 10:00 PM. While there were still enthusiastic people around, we had to cut the event short due to our Time constraints. A lot of people showed interest in joining us at future star parties. Some photographs can be found here:
At the scouts camp, we started by giving a small lecture on astronomy for about 45 mins and a lot of questions ranging from why don’t we see stars during the day to what happens once you cross the event horizon kept coming and we could see tremendous interest and anxiety in children. This was followed by a look at the Orion Nebula, Moon and Saturn. A few students stayed up all night and we had an observation session and we saw objects like M13, Omega Centauri, Dembell Nebula, Ring Nebula, Lagoon, Trifid, Swan, Eagle, M92, M6, Sobrero Galaxy, The Virgo Cluster, M81, M82, Jupiter and many more. Physics and phenomena behind each object were explained. After a brief introduction to the telescope and how to use it to find objects, they were finding objects on their own. A lot of students who had gone back to their tents after Moon and Saturn came back to see the Milky Way and stayed up. The session ended around 4 AM and we are expecting many students to join us at future observation sessions. We would like to thank KMA for giving us the opportunity to organize this event. We would also like to thank Mr. Ajoy from KMA for his help in coordinating and making his telescope available too.
Difficulties: One thing that the organizers realized at The Forum was that a lot of people thought that this was some commercial demo and shied away. We need to work on this