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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

IYA 2009 Celebrated by AIS, Colombo

The Science Union of Asian International School, Colombo (AIS) organized last Monday, an Observation camp to highlight the IYA 2009, taking place worldwide. I felt glad as this was the third Observation Camp that I was contributing just within 10 Days. The Camp was conducted by the alumni of Anandian Astronomical Association, Ananda College, Colombo 10.

The camp started off at 7.00 pm on the 30th of Maech 2009 with a lecture on Introduction to Astronomy and this was delivered by Mr. Lasitha Senarathne, a 3rd year student of University of Colombo. Then Mr. Hasitha Karunarathe, an IT student of APIIT and who is also the webmaster of explained how the programme would be going through in next few hours.
IYA 2009 Observation Camp at AIS
After a short while I, Prasanna Deshapriya also lectured the AIS students on Celestial Sphere and there was a great response from the audience as the attendees were eager to the exposure of Observational type exploration, on which they didn't have much experience. Then the dinner time arrived and sky was getting better, although it was more gloomy and cloudy in the evening. With our telescope we were able to catch the Moon which was setting from the West. Thus we were able to let AIS students observe the Lunar and they could possibly see the craters of the Moon as well.

After the dinner there was a Guessing Game which which took all the gathering with amazement. It was like this. A volunteer was asked to come forward in the beginning and he was given a key-word IYA 2009 Observation Camp at AISrelated to Astronomy and all he had to do was give cluses to the audience without revealing the keyword. The student who first correctly got the keyword was awarded with a small gift ( Chocolate) and now it was his chance to repeat the game, provided with a new keyword.

Then there was a brief discussion on "Eye and Optics inside" conducted by Mr. Kusal Weerasinghe a medical faculty student of University of Colombo and it seemed more appealing to the audience of AIS. They were further informed about IYA - International Year of Astronomy and the story behind that. Next I gave an introduction to Using Sky Chart and taught them how to identify the stars and constellations during the night.

We also got the students and teachers of AIS to observe the Saturn and it's belts during its position in zenith. The telescopic functions were done by Mr.Varuna Gunasekara and Mr. Pulasthi Kanaththage who were both past presidents of Anandian Astronomical Association.

After all there came the most-waited event "The Lander Activity". The AIS students were divided into 4 groups and each group had to make a lander, whose landing should be able to survive the egg which was inside. Provided with the scissors, celo-tapes, glue, cardboard, IYA 2009 Observation Camp at AIScotton-wool and other needy, the groups performed pretty well under the inspection of Mr.Kusal Weerasinghe and Mr. Madusha Dedigamuwa. However amazingly the 4 landers survived their eggs as dropped from the 4th flour of the tallest building in AIS.

We called the halt to the Camp at midnight precisely at about 00:15 am next day (31st March 2009) as they organizers asked us to do so, since there were unavoidable security circumstances.

However although the Observation camp lasted for 5 hours the AIS students seemed to have experienced a new dimention of knowledge and fun, which was indeed out of the box for them.

Contributors of Anandian Astrnomical Association:
IYA 2009 Observation Camp at AIS
1. Mr.Varuna Gunasekara
2. Mr. Pulasthi Kanaththage
3. Mr. Lasitha Senarathne
4. Mr. Kusal Weerasinghe
5. Mr. Hasitha Karunarathe
6. Mr. Madusha Dedigamuwa
7. Mr. Prasanna Deshapriya


Hey Desh. It's Paulie from Facebook. I will check out the other stories when I have time.