Reports: Amateur Astronomy Workshop 2010

By admin; Published 30 Oct 2010

Bangalore Astronomical Society organised amateur astronomy workshop and about 55 participants were registered. A program which run for two day, covering various aspects of amateur astronomy. This workshop was mainly organised to share the learning BAS members had over the period of years. Workshop was organised in short notice but the participants made it a huge success and with all the positive feedback we have received about the workshop, we will come back soon with many more such events.

Thanks for our guests and Amateur Astronomers Prakash (ABAA) and Subramani (ABAA) for their kind support and participating in the workshop. I would like to thank, National college Jayanagar management for renting us the seminar hall,  all BAS volunteers  ( Vivek, Achyut, Gautham, Ravi, Viswa, Amar, Udayan, Pavan K)  for their hard work in organizing and support.

Thanks for Sunil G for writing a good report about the workshop.

Looking forward for many more such workshops and participation. 

Naveen Nanjundappa


Reports follows here.. 

            In the movie ‘A walk to remember’, Jamie's ambition in her life was to ‘witness a miracle’

Well, to say this workshop was a miracle I witnessed. Other miracles being with BAS more than 2 yrs now included watching TSE with Akarsh, Pavan etc & ASE with Naveen, Sharanu etc & so many star parties with Amar, Vivek & Akarsh & so many wonderful astronomy enthusiastic friends.

             First of all Congrats BAS for conducting the workshop successfully & wonderfully with so much knowledge shared among us. I had forgotten that this workshop was my idea until Akarsh told me about this! I joined BAS couple of years back, when I had completed reading 4/5 popular books like - A Brief history of time, Universe in a Nutshell etc & was wondering what’s next?  From that point of time I am able to explore various aspects in astronomy being with BAS, learnt so many things from mention a few Naveen, Amar, Akarsh, Vivek, Parag, Pavan, Rakesh, Keerthi Kiran, Achyut, Ravi babu, Goutham, Viswakeerthi, Kiran Tikare etc. 

 Here is a summary of what we learnt @ workshop: 

> There are many aspects of Amateur astronomy, you can observe planets, deep sky objects, astrophotography, astrosketching, radio astronomy(electronics expts specially for electronics engineers), learn theoretical astrophysics, Astrometry,  do experiments, build telescopes, optics, instrumentation  & the list goes on. Last but not the least, hunt for meteorites, comets, supernova etc.   

> Ancient astronomy, Astronomers & their contributions. Galileo Newton etc. How our concepts changed with time.  Lucky people as they were blessed with good skies then! 

> Various Coordinate systems, Equatorial coordinate system - Right Accession & Declination. Difficulties with coming up with the coordinate system to locate a particular point for an observer on any part of earth for apparent view of obervable sky, directions, terms like hoizon & zenith.  

> Stars patterns are called Constellations - how mythology has inspired to accept amazing patterns.  Identifying tips, star hopping techniques, averted vision,  - present day -88 Constellations as per IAU.

 How star atlas  is different from a catalog   ?    Messier marathon - Annual event where all 110 objects can be observed in one night . 

Collins Gem Night sky pocket size beginner‘s guide to identifying constellations.

Various Star charts & catalogs exist. 

Messier catalog – 110 comets like objects – the most beautiful things in night sky! 

> Sun, study of surface features of Sun like sunspots, prominences . Life cycle of star moon & phase lock, eclipses, TSE, ASE retrograde motion.

 TSE, ASE -how lucky we are to witness such amazing phenomena. The distances between Sun & Moon & the apparent sizes of moon & sun for an observer on earth are such that they give rise to such beautiful phenomena! not only beautiful view , but during eclipses lot of experiments can be done. 

Binoculars, what best you can do with binocs, care while choosing one, what 10X50 means ? 

Asteroids are minor planets, orbiting between Mars & Jupiter. Vishnu Reddy, the most famous amateur astronomer from India discovered asteroids

Asteroids, nomenclature. Meteor craters. Lonar crater in Maharashtra is the nearest & one of the significant in the world.

  > Role of atmosphere & sky conditions, Bortle scale of sky darkness.

How light pollution, clouds, city lights, water vapor or haze can play spoils sport in observations & photography. On the other hand Auroras, rings around moon sun are awesome atmospheric phenomena 

DSO comprising identifying constellations, open clusters, globular clusters, asterisms, nebulae, galaxies, cluster of galaxies etc.

Difference between magnitude & surface brightness. Catalogs of DSO.

How advanced DSO involves observing & recording features like spiral arms, nebulae in other galaxies, 

Averted vision, star hopping techniques.

Importance of maintaining logs of your observations 

Optics concepts like magnification focal length, resolution 

Instrumentation aspects , choosing binocs, telescopes, focal length, magnification, eyepieces etc 

Various filters which allow certain range of frequencies of light to pass & give amazing images. 

Comets are most wonderful & beautiful visitors ,

Comets, core, coma, tail, composition & Oort cloud, types of comets with some breadth taking snaps of some of the comets. Indian Comet discoverer : 

Step by step guide to challenges involved in Astrophotography, techniques like SLR, Star trails, Tripod, Prime focus, manual tracking, piggy backing, Automatic mounts,

Suresh Mohan’s photographs: 

Amazing phenomena which you should not miss to watch & photograph like Eclipses, Occultation, Auroras, halos around sun moon etc meteor showers. 

My favourite part was :

Galaxy, classification – Elliptical, Spiral, Barred spiral, Irregular, Some irregular galaxies, Peculiar galaxies, Seyfert, Active galactic nuclei (AGN )

Our home- milky way, spiral arms etc. an observer on earth is seeing the galaxy edge on from inside!  Advanced DSO includes seeing features in galaxy. 

Last but not the least, how amateurs can contribute in the field of astronomy.

Share the fun & excitement of astronomy! 

Thanks for the wonderful feedback, it will hep us create more enthusiasm in making Astronomy more amazing to learn.

Welcome to be a member of BAS, & share the excitement called ‘Astronomy ‘ 



Sometimes I wonder there just aren’t enough stars!