Astronomy Camp at AIS 2011

Well, this is the first blog post that I'm publishing after 2 months. I'm really sorry about the absence of updates and news as i was really busy with University academics and AIESEC work. This post is about the Astronomy camp that we conducted for the Asian International School (AIS) last 18th of March

Astronomy Camp - March 2011 at University of Colombo

I'm now gonna blog about an event that we had in our University almost 2 months back. I'm really sorry guys for dragging this such longer due to the busy schedule I've been undergoing last few months due to various reasons. Hope you don't mind me sharing in so late. Anyway here it is...

Watch Total Solar Eclipse 11th July 2010 Live Streaming from EclipseBlog

The most awaited total solar eclipse of the year 2010 is about to take place in less than next 20 hours from now. There have been a lot of groups/ individuals flocked at South Pacific islands and Chilean territories right now waiting for the eclipse to take place.

IYA2009 Commemorative Coins Issued by Many Countries Worldwide

As the title of this post hints, there were lot of countries involved in this worldwide celebration during 2009, which was the 400th anniversary of both the discovery of telescope for astronomical observation by Galileo Galilei and the publication of “Astronomia Nova” by Johannes Kepler. These were the reasons which were prominent in specifying 2009 as the IYA.

A Tribute to Fiami the author of The Lives of Galileo

I have already made a post about Fiami, and his great gift that I received during the Christmas season. I got many great feedback on that and even my friends wanted to read it, as none of them had the comic book with them, So I thought of doing a youtube video featuring Fiami

The Blog Has Moved !

Friday, November 27, 2009

The SkyLK's Legacy of IYA2009: Special Award of Sinhalese Blogging Competition

This is the latest wonderful news that is fast spreading in Sri Lanka at the moment. It's not more than 6 hours since the awarding ceremony of Sinhalese blogging Competition. The SkyLK blog was awarded a special prize at this ceremony held by the Royal College IT unit. It can be concluded that SkyLK received the legacy of IYA2009, at the time when IYA 2009 is reaching its conclusion.

What a wonderful way to be paid tributes !! Here is the certificate SkyLK received. A big thank goes out to SkyLK for its endeavors in ameliorating the astronomy knowledge of locals to a higher level with manifold initiatives, varying in the range of updated podcast, blog posts, youtube videos, downloads (astronomy software like stellarium), important PDFs and significantly the online registration facility for Star Party 2009, enabled during the Largest IYA 2009 project of Sri Lanka.

The SkyLK's Legacy of IYA2009: Special Award of Sinhalese Blogging Competition

Here is the outstanding SkyLK team.

Anuradha Jayathilake
Hasitha Karunaratne
Madusha Dedigamuwa

Congratulations guys, you deserve it, the legacy of IYA2009 !!!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

40years of Space Age & Beyond - FYOSA- by Royal College Astronomical Society

International Year of Astronomy is fast reaching its irresistible end at the moment, However the people have not given up their endeavors in organizing mega events to celebrate the 400th anniversary of first Galilean telescopic observations back in 1609. Especially the students of RCAS- Royal College Astronomical Society have prepared themselves to showcase yet an extraordinary event for IYA2009.

Yes, literally speaking these young fellas have come up with a great theme - 40Years of Space Age & Beyond. What a theme for an IYA event !!40years of Space Age & Beyond ,FYOSA, Royal College Astronomical Society

This will be the largest IYA 2009 project organized by RCAS integrating an astronomy workshop, Sci-Fi competition, and an elegant exhibition featuring the moon rocks from the memorial Apollo 11. The event will take place from 8th to 9th of December 2009.

The Royal College Astronomical Society, which has a history of more than 4 decades, has contributed immensely towards the enhancement of astronomy and science in Sri Lanka. Its projects have been successful in ameliorating individual skills to professional levels, enabling students to find their careers in astronomy. One such example is Professor Kavan U Ratnatunga, who is an alumnus of RCAS.

40years of Space Age & Beyond ,FYOSA, Royal College Astronomical Society
Well, the workshop of FYOSA will focus on space programs of last 40 years, and future missions to space, plus colonies in extra terrestrial territories. (I hope Virgin Galactic/ Spaceport owner, Richard Branson will have some idea to share with, lol). As I remember the workshop is an annual event that the RCAS has been going ahead with. For sure, it will have more highlight with FYOSA in this IYA2009

More info here:

Furthermore the moonstones from memorial Apollo 11, that were presented to Sri Lanka from the US president Richard Nixon, will be on display during the 2 days. This would be historical as these stones are usually not displayed for public, without any special cause. So guys, don't miss out this great chance. Have either of 8 and 9, or both free to visit the Royal College, Colombo and be an eye-witness of this historical change. Moreover some important and valuable photographs taken from Apollo 11 will also be displayed together with the moonstones during the exhibition session.


The awarding ceremony of Sci-Fi competition will also take place during this great event. I have earlier posted about the competition in this blog and you may find some important details here as well.

The official news is here too

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Youtube Video of IYA2009 Featured Scientist of the Day

I hope all of you guys remembers the series of featured scientists that I introduced under an enhancement step for this IYA2009 blog. Now they are all collected in this video. You can watch them all with this video and enjoy.

Please do contribute to spreading news information on lives of these eminent scientists, whose knowledge has immensely contributed towards the understanding of Universe. Starting from early ages, the series expands to modern Scientists, who lived in the industrialized world as well.

Here is the video for you to enjoy !!!

Please note that the above picture is a courtesy of Asia Travel

Friday, November 13, 2009

Send Your Messege to Venus along with Your Name; Your Gift for IYA2009

Today, I come back to you with this cool news, which will make many of you amazed. Yes, it's true. Now you can send your name to Venus together with your name aboard AKATSUKI, (Planet-C) The Venus Climate Orbiter, scheduled to be launched in 2010 by JAXA (Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency)

According to their project, JAXA is allowing anyone, interested to send their names across AKATSUKI to Venus. You can send them online @ following page of JAXA site.

Momentarily you will be given a certificate upon the submission of the message together with your name. The certificate portrays your message together with your name in an elegant manner. I have attached mine here for you guys to have a look. All the messages will be etched on Aluminum plate prior to them being put aboard AKATSUKI, The Venus Climate Orbiter.

Send Your Massege to Venus along with Your Name; Your Gift for IYA2009

Since the deadline is 25th Dec 2009, be hurry and spread the message among friends.

In addition this is carried out with respect to IYA 2009 by International Year of Astronomy 2009 Japan Committee, which presently manages the message campaign, allowing anyone on Earth to send their wishes and thoughts to the Goddess of Beauty , Venus. This message campaign is aimed at improving the understanding of Japanese space science research activities, thus enabling the general Japanese IYA2009 missions to be accomplished as well.

I can also recall few years back when I got the Change to send a message aboard a spacecraft for the very first time, the Selene project, which was also carried out by JAXA. It was during 2006/2007 I guess. I still have the certificate that I received upon submitting the message.

Therefore you're strongly encouraged to send a message in this special year of IYA2009.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A UNAWE project @ HFC, Dehiwala : Featured with IYA2009 & Observation Astronomy

A UNAWE Project for Girl Guides : A Session with Celestial Stuff

In fact I think that I should have blogged this earlier. However now the story has already hit the UNAWE site, thanks to Dr. Carolina Ödman, the Single Point of Contact of UNAWE. This has already fallen as an IYA event into IYA 2009 projects of Sri Lanka.
A UNAWE Project for Girl Guides : A Session with Celestial Stuff
This project was organized in last August, by the Girl Guides of Holy Family Convent Dehivala, Sri Lanka. There was a participation of over 50+ students for the event, which is also tagged as the very first program of UNAWE in Sri Lanka. The students who were from Grades 6 to 9 got a chance to have a scope on looking at heavens. In addition to students, there were teachers among those who took part to the wonderful evening that was more focused to celestial stuff rather than the old syllabi of school, and text books.

My colleague Thilina Heenatigala who is also the IYA2009 Sri Lanka National Node Secretary, gave an introduction to Observation Astronomy as initial outset of the program. Afterward Dimuth Waliwitiya, who also happens to be a colleague of mine, gave an overview on how to use star maps in dealing with the starry nights. It was very educative for students to improve their knowledge on how to recognize a patter of a constellation and then make out what the constellation really is. Then came the practical observation session, where the duo divided the students into 2 groups and conducted group sessions to further boost the understanding of heavens. Hopefully this ended up in allowing the students, themselves to determine the constellation prior to looking at and verifying the starts, and constellations, all of which proved to be successful. The evening session concluded merrily with the dinner leaving with everyone, a delightful evening with stars in their mind.

So that's the old story I missed to blog. You can also refer to Carolina's article here @ UNAWE site.

Here are some random images depicting how the event went.

A UNAWE Project for Girl Guides : A Session with Celestial StuffDimuth among students @ star map session
A UNAWE Project for Girl Guides : A Session with Celestial Stuff
Thilina @ the lecture sessionA UNAWE Project for Girl Guides : A Session with Celestial Stuff
Students, stargazing !!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Annual Astronomy Workshop 2009 at Southlands College, Galle, Sri Lanka

It was the last day of the October in fact. The 31st to be precise. The day dawned with promising sun light from the East. However we were supposed to travel to South , to Galle for the annual Astronomy Workshop of Southlands College. I think doing many outreach programs like this will help the students/ children in farther areas, to develop their knowledge on science and astronomy in general. They have limited resources and it's an obligation of ours to help them enjoy the life with the beauty of astronomy in this IYA2009.

Well let's go ahead with the story !! We left from Colombo at about 7:00 am in the morning. Here is the outreach crew.

  • Professor Kavan U Ratnatunga
  • Mr. Thilina Heenatigala
  • Mr. Pulasthi Kanattage
  • Ms. Monika Madhavi
  • Mr. Buddhika Priyasad
  • Mr. Lasitha Senaratne
  • Mr. Prasanna Deshapriya (me)
  • Mr. Thishan Pavithra
  • Mr. Thanura Hashantha
It was great to visit Galle town after sometime and the weather was supporting us for the workshop, which was coming ahead. One can find the historical Galle Fort when getting into the Southlands College. You have to go through a small tunnel-like structure when getting into the college. We had a warm welcome, which was featured with an escort of band parade.

After the opening ceremony the workshop commenced with a lecture by Professor Kavan. The lecture delivered a scope on occultations and especially focused on upcoming Eclipse in January 2010. (You can read Prof Kavan's article here @ lakdiva site : This was featured on Sundaytimes as well)

Then everyone had lunch and we got ourselves prepared for the workshop. Basically there were few activities which were led by us. Following were the activities conducted.

1. Space Shuttle Model
2. Moon Colony
3. Discovery Shuttle Model
4. Model of International Space Station

model of the moon colony

The activities were interesting and students were able to learn something new and it was adorable to notice them enthusiastically taking part in activities. I have included some photos taken whcih highlights the activity session.

model of the moon colony

Annually Southlands College organizes such events like this which also include occasional nigh camps. If you are a frequent visitor to my blog, you might be aware of the previous events, which were organized by the Southlands College Galle. Especially I blogged about night camps they organized for the IYA2009

Special thanks should go out to Ms Nandanee & Kushani Imalsha for the co-coordinating purposes.