Taare Zameen Par,Yes this is what an outreach event is conducted for .Those enthusiastic young souls looking forward to study the night sky full of passion and ecstacy just waiting for somebody to take the initiative and show them the hidden paradise.
Murthy Sir,Naveen and I conducted the outreach event at Shri Swaminaryan Gurukul on 15th April 2008.SGIS with about 350 students in number is a beautifully architectured institution imparting top education to the students.Interestingly most of the professors and the students know a lot about astronomy but never had a chance to actually see what it actually is.They got their chance during the event and made the most of it.We reached there at about 6 pm and set up Naveen's 6" reflector.As soon as the telescope was set the students abandoned their playing and gathered around the scope.Soon we had a crowd around us.
Waiting for darkness to set in we were shown around the gurukul by Mr Mohan and as Naveen mentioned every bit of it was royal.The skies were clear and as darkness set in we could get the first glimpse of the moon and and saturn.The moon being very bright it overshadowed the other lighter objects during the night.With the telescope penciled on
the moon the students got their first ever glimpse of the craters through the scope and the expression on their faces revealed the excitement they were going through.
With Naveen doing an amazing job of patiently explaining some unknown facts about the planets,moon and the constellations,it was a great event of knowledge transfer in a practical way.The questions just seemed to be neverending.Saturn was shining in full glory and we really wished we had a camera around to picture it.Some of the objects shown were Mars,Saturn,Moon,a couple of binary stars, the constellations,some nebulae and clusters.As a result today these students can point out directions and identify constellations based on the night sky.
Moving on after the skywatching event we had a documentary session on the birth of stars and the solar system,black holes and alien life.The crowd enjoyed every bit of it as they didnt have any idea about the hidden mysteries in the universe.The questions were on and on and on and finally we had to stop it.
The kids,swamijis and teachers in the gurukul being in a religious institution today exactly differentiate between atronomy and astrology and put aside the superstitions to learn more about it.Its not only the students but we also enjoyed it to the full.Finally it was time to make a move so at about 11:00 pm we pushed off with the satisfaction of a sucessful outreach and a overwhelming response.In future we look forward to educate students who are the "taare zameen par" so that they can learn and propogate this interesting piece of science for a long time.