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, May 6, 2011

Star Quest 2011 Organized by Mathematical & Astronomical Society, University of Colombo

Astronomy has been nourishing since as early as Babylonian, Egyptian and Greek civilizations and today it has yielded a great portion of intellect enabling the humans to reach beyond their own horizons far beyond what anybody could possibly imagine. In presence it’s a foreseen attempt that all the countries trying to make their way ahead in the space science, whereas there’s no exception in Sri Lanka as well. In such a context, the Mathematical & Astronomical Society based in University of Colombo can be introduced as an alliance of such likeminded students, bonded together in the ties of science.

The eminent Sri Lankan astronomers Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe and Professor V K Samaranayake took the initiative in founding this society back in 1959, playing the roles of very first president and the secretary. This move can be referred to as the first scientific collaboration towards astronomy in Sri Lanka. Further, Professor L S R Wijewardena & Professor Valentine Joseph were prominent members of the society and today senior lecturer Dr. Chandana Jayaratne serves as the senior adviser.

The society conducts occasional observation camps, regular series of lectures and other astronomy activities both for university undergraduates as well as school students upon request. Moreover the official website is kept updated on recent news plus educational material so that visitors are equipped with some knowhow on astronomy. Mathematical & Astronomical Society also has in its possession the Molesworth telescope which is a telescope with 32 cm, thought to be the largest telescope in Sri Lanka during time of its owner major P B Molesworth. Currently the scope is housed in the small observatory / dome near the university grounds.

It is our firm conviction that the school students should be made aware of knowledge for a concurrent progress of astronomy in Sri Lanka, which is the very fact behind many of the outreach projects organized by us. We contribute to school level astronomy by offering both material and immaterial resources for ‘Astronomy Days’ and ‘Science Days’. Additionally we’ve been continuing an interschool astronomy quiz competition and a workshop consecutively for last 4 years and it’s famous among students as ‘Star Quest’. In last year’s program Sirimavo Bandaranaike Balika Vidyalaya and Ananda College, Colombo emerged as winners and runners-up respectively.

It is with great pleasure we inform you that arrangements have been made for a similar attempt in this year as well under the name ‘Star Quest 2011’ to be held on 07th of May 2011 at the university premises. Mathematical & Astronomical Society extends an open invitation to all the school-based astronomy clubs, whereby interested clubs/ societies may apply with as teams representing their entity. More information can be obtained from and through following contacts.

Chethya Vidanapathirana – 0718135177
Muditha Bandara – 0712371914

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

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..

This is the annual astronomy camp that we organize for undergraduates in the University itself, This is generally aimed at getting amateurs more interested in astronomy by working along with a practical observation related path while recruiting enthusiasts as members for the society at the same time. Of course just anyone in the University can take part here in various sessions of activities and talks. The astronomy camp 2011 was held on 11th of March 2011 from evening onwards at the University premises. I was in particular happy that a lot of my batch-mates took part here and enjoyed themselves all the way through to the end.
The participants waiting for the start of the program

It's true that we were surrounded by a great many light sources lit in the Colombo city. There were always flashes anywhere you looked, leaving us to skip more than 60 degrees of altitude from the horizon. Favorably it didn't rain and clouds were a less concern.
As an interesting talk was in progress....

There were talks by our senior members such as Mrs. Monika Madhavi as well as an interesting presentation about so-called "2012" by Dr. Chandana Jayaratne, our staff advisor.

There were observations sessions, where the participants got the chance to observe Moon- I'd say that the Moon was very clear that evening; and Jupiter and Saturn, as well as some other constellations plus Orion nebula. I wish we had repaired the Molesworth telescope somehow, as we would then have managed to do extensive observation with better optics.We've been having it in our possession for quite a time and I think we need to make it back functional.
Having fun with telescopes :)

It's the time for hands-on activity

Inside the dome with Molesworth Telescope

Dr. Jayaratne giving introductory remarks on the telescope.

Moreover there were interesting games, which were aimed at broadening the basic astronomy knowledge in various formats such as puzzles, etc. I must also mention that everybody got a change to visit the small dome where Molesworth telescope is currently housed. I've recorded a video of that segment and I will try to youtube it and post it here.

The video features Dr. Jayaratne giving a brief introduction about the scope to the attendees whilst inside the dome.

The puzzling game..

Enthusiasm + activity = Learning

and Done !

As I recall, I find this astronomy camp as a one where I more or less played the roles of both a participant and an organizer. It was a nice experience and excitement was there right from the start to the end of this
12-hour astronomy scenario. A big thanks should go out to our president Mrs. Chethya Vidanapathirana and other 3rd year students for putting together their efforts for such a successful astronomy camp as well as to contributors and participants alike.

Here is a group photograph of the participants posing in front of the dome housing Molesworth telescope.