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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Astronomy Awareness Program at Galle Concluded a Success

Well, as I told you in the previous post, on last Monday the 22nd, we left from Colombo to Galle.
In fact I departed from home at 7:30 am local time and soon I was joint by my fellow astronomer Pulasthi Kanatthage at about 8:45 am. We traveled from bus to Galle town and arrived there at 11:00 am. Since the school, that were to lecture, was situated in the suburbs of Galle we had been given the transportation by a three-wheeler to the school. Within a drive of 10 minutes, we got to our location.

The Richard Pathirana College (In fact the college was thus named after the late Minister of Education, who was from Galle and earlier this had been named "Uluwetike Maha Vidyalaya, Galle", where has the beginning of the college runs back to 1896 AD) was located near to the road and we were warmly welcome by the teacher-in-charge of the astronomical association of the school, Mrs. Dissanayake. The were were directed to the principal of the school, who was a Buddhist Thero. We explained the plan to teachers and got the students readied and flocked to the main hall.

We had an younger audience, which was composed of students from Grade 6 to Grade 9. Therefore we had to adjust our methods of lecturing as well to better suit the gathering. After a brief introduction on the first lecture Pulasthi Kanatthage started the basic lecture of "Introduction to Astronomy". This lecture explained the main branches of astronomyAstronomy Awareness Program at Galle Concluded a Success and their influence on everything in general. The topic included explanations and discussions on General Astronomy, Astrophysics & Cosmology, Rocketry, Astrobiology and related issues.

Then I also delivered a lecture on "Eclipses". This lecture included the basic idea of as eclipse and the dual segments - Solar and Lunar Eclipses. Moreover I taught them how an eclipse takes place and the number of (2) Solar or Lunar eclipses that occur annually. The students were glad to know that there's an total Solar eclipse would be on the way on 22nd July 2009, although Sri Lanka would be experiencing a partial Solar Eclipse in the morning.

In addition to these 2 lectures we didn't forget to make them aware of IYA 2009, International Year of Astronomy 2009 and its influence on global community.

In the end we had some good questions from the audience and we enjoyed answering them. However we came across this amazing guy who was actually the president of the society, currently engaged at writing a science fiction at an early age of 15 years. Unfortunately we noticed that he had a firm belief on ufology rather than anything else. We assumed that he had been greatly influenced by those UFO-marketed books available almost everywhere in Sri Lankan territories. I think those have to be exposed and truth should be engraved.

In the end we headed back to Colombo in the evening after a successful completion of the Astronomy Awareness Program at Richard Pathirana College, Galle.