I have good news with me for you guys, Star Party 2009; "Rendezvous of Celestial Surveillance" concluded successfully during the morning of 26th Sept 2009. Apparently this is the 1st post I am gonna make after my visit to Kandy for Star Party. Now I unfold the story from the evening of 24th Sept 2009, when I left for Kandy from Colombo.
We (With my colleagues Surath & Tharaka) drove to Kandy town within 3.5 hours and joint our crew who had already been there previous day. We reached the Kandy town at around 6.30 p.m. and searched for the news about the sky conditions, during previous days. As per the news we got the sky had been filled with clouds and it had been impossible to see even a bright star during the previous night. However we had good hopes and wished for better skies tomorrow for the Star Party 2009 to succeed. Meantime I got stuck to the plan of streaming the whole show of Star Party 2009 live with ustream especially from the official website http://www.starparty2009.com/ . We also had pre-show transmissions which were successful.
Even some people who were online watching those "behind the scene actions" chatted with us.
We spent the night at KUNDASLE area which is located some 20-minute drive from the Star Party 2009 location, which was the Premises of University of Peradeniya, Kandy.
As I mentioned we had successfully broadcast the behind the scene actions, featuring the Star Party 2009 Crew, working and developing decoration items. However it's around 12:00 midnight that we got this shocking news.
This happened to be the most crushing news that we got. The servers of the site had fallen. The servers were down, leaving us with nothing to update the exclusive page for the live cast @ http://www.starparty2009.com/sp-09-live . I immediately opted to transfer the hosting to another server, as we had to start the live show at 6:00 pm on 25th. Since we had more hours and (it was about 2:00 am 25th Morning) I transferred the nameservers of the to the xtraorbit nameservers that I purchased simultaneously. However they said it'd take up to 6 hours for the nameservers to update. I also did a domain redirection to a temporary page @ Skylk.com and waited for the updates to happen.
After having a sleep of about 3 hours I got up in the morning at about 7.00 am and soon got to the University premises. Everyone was busy dealing with their specific stuff in the organizing affairs. We had some webcams and a professional handy camera for the recording. However we opted the use of webcams as they were of much ease. We also got involved transporting the essential stuff and had a good time of working.
It was during the afternoon that many of the lecturers and quiz masters arrived the premises. However I should recall that still the nameserves had not been updated. Therefore we arranged a blogspot subdomain @ http://www.starparty2009.blogspot.com/ and a new URL @ Skylk.com site as http://www.skylk.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=176%3Alive-stream-star-party-2009&catid=20%3Alocal-news&Itemid=5&lang=en
and started the live cast with ustream. We broadcast the events as they were happening and were able to fully launch the transmission from the Department of Geology where the Opening Ceremony started from 6:00 pm onwards.
It was a great thing that Sachith ayya also joined with us with Skype ( Sachith ayya was there at each Star Party ever since 2004 when the event was embarked as the primordial Observation Competition in South Asia ). We began the live streaming of Opening ceremony. I won't bother mentioning every thing : You shoul have watched the live stream and even if you did miss it please find the video archive here @ http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/2225545 . Not forgetting you IYA 2009, yeah It was on the early stage of the Opening Ceremony that the importance & significance of International Year of Astronomy 2009 was mentioned.
Then the Observation Competition started at the same hall where the opening ceremony took place. In addition, the Workshop also began with a highlight on Solar Observation. The competitors got a 1-hour writing paper starting from 7:05 pm and it should be mentioned that Sky was supporting us, Yes Sky was crystal clear which was like a blessing.
Then the Observation sessions continued at the ground, where the competitors observed Mars, Jupiter and other Constellations. Moreover the workshop continued inside the Gymnasium and outside it where it was necessary for observation. The workshop participants were divided into groups and each group had a separate lecturer, introducing basic facts on Observation and answering the questioned arisen. Then came the Good News.
The servers had been updated. Yeah That was the best news we got. Instantly the visitors to http://www.starparty2009.com/ were redirected to the live streaming page of Skylk.com
Now we were really happy that the live streaming was fine and it was made sure.
Things progressed well and you can view the recorded stuff at the URL given above @ ustream.
I won't go in detail and would mention the special quiz item featured in Star Party 2009, which was the Spot Test, where competitions are rounded up in a circular-arranged desks. Each desk has a separate unique question, which should be answered in the paper within 2 minutes. At the end of each 2 minute threshold time, am alarm is rung, indicating that it's the time competitor moved to the following desk in the circular arrangement. In Star Party 2009 Spot Test, it was really understood that to perform well, in the Spot Test, each contestant had to quickly go through the question and get it answered ASAP.
Meantime the live streaming went fine and we also had continuous chat with the online viewers updating the sessions.
In the workshop the amateur participants were taught about the assembly of telescope and significance of it as the 400th anniversary of Telescope is now already dawn crediting to Galileo. They also had the show of Eyes on the Skies, together with the subtitles in Sinhalese, as subtitled by SkyLK team. You can find the youtubed video here http://www.eyes.skylk.com/
In the end De Mazenod College, Kandana emerged overall Champions and Sangamitta College, Galle became the runners-up.
Moreover it should be mentioned that there were awards especially for the round-wise performance featuring IYA 2009.
Award for Theoretical Round & Spot Test : Dharmaraja College, Kandy
Solar & Observation Astronomy : Royal College, Colombo
Constellation & Deep Sky Observation: Sangamitta College, Galle
Moon Mapping : De Mazenod College, Kandana
Planetary Observation : De Mazenod College, Kandana
It was about 7:30 in the morning that Star APrty 2009 officially concluded with a great success.
Would like to see your comments:
You may also find additional photos here @ http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=124941&id=597140918&page=8