Report: Outreach @ Nisarga Layout, Jigani.

By amar_universe; Published 25 Apr 2008

I got the opportunity to conduct this event due to Mr Subir of Infosys, who resides in a layout in Jigani (a couple kilometers after Bannerghatta Circle). The event was supposed to be conducted for some odd 30 children, aged 6-14 yrs and few of their parents, staying in his locality.

We picked up Hemanth's 12" scope from his residence by afternoon and headed off for Jigani in his Wagon R car. Surprisingly, we've always had problems transporting the huge scope around, however this time it was so comfortable with the scope's mount and tube, there was no cramping at all! We were little late leaving from city and it was easily some 35 odd kilometers we had to cover from Airport to Bannerghatta.

The children were all eager and waiting our arrival at Nisarga Layout where the event was scheduled; they could not wait any longer..we had already delayed them! This sky gazing session was part of a summer camp for the kids. I got a glimpse of the intellect of these kids, when during assembly before the program began, one of them roughly 6-7 years wittily asked us "How many minutes of observing time per child?" !! Quite an inspirational question... and we began the program with a light hearted laughter.

We carried the scope to an open area within the layout, overlooking distant hills and clear horizons to the east towards Bannerghatta jungle's premises. The skies were bad by now, it was covered with moving clouds and the nearly Full Moon had also risen. Anyway I pointed the scope at the Full Moon with the 32-mm wide eyepiece and all of them stuck their eyes at the eyepiece, grasping the bright light into their eyes. They quite enjoyed it, however, more when the eyepiece changed to a higher magnification of 9mm. They could all see single craters resolved and some of them even turned in for a second round. Some of the tiny tots did require a stool to reach the eyepiece.

Amidst all this, was obviously the firing of questions at me, at times not giving me time to respond to another child; they were tugging me from all sides! I managed the basic answers for their inquisitive questions. After this the scope aimed at the Lord of Rings, Saturn, when everyone could see Titan moon easily. Some other keen kids could see 2, 3 and even 4 moons. This is a sight which anyone and everyone easily revels in. The parents too gasped at the bright celestial jewel.

We departed for dinner at around 9:30 pm or so, at a nearby temple premises in the campus. Believe me...the feel of the location was as if I'm in the vicinity of a Divine Ashram somewhere on the outskirts. The cool breeze, the pleasant temperature, the sitting on grass and eating dinner was just exhilarating!

We then returned back to the same location for the second round of observing Moon and Saturn. Parents and the elder kids were glued to the eyepiece once again. Finally by 10:30 we called it a day off, since the next day they had to get ready for the summer camp. I was escorted back by Mr Subir to a Guest-House opposite his home in the layout. The room reserved for me was a posh air-conditioned room. I never realized how I slept well that night. Getting up the next day I spent some time at his house, after which we packed the 12" telescope in his car heading back to Hemanth's place to drop it off.

I would like to sincerely thank Mr Subir for the entire event, the children and their parents for making it a success, and Hemanth for kindly lending his 12" scope as usual. By this event we realized that there needs to be done much more for the deserving children than only showing through eyepiece. We have resolved, the next time BAS goes there, it would be for an advanced series of courses for the children, as even a couple parents requested for the same. Looking forward to have the 'Nisarga Layout-2' event within a month or two, and you are all welcome as volunteers. :)