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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.