Monday, 6 April 2009

100 Hours of Astronomy: Day I - Part 2

2 April
Oh, what a wonderful experience I had!

This was the first event for 100 Hours of Astronomy I organised for the public. (I did one before, but it was not open to the public.)

And it was brilliant.

The programme for this day was aimed at some students of a local school. The program was also open to some of their guardians. I persuaded those guardians for long before they finally allowed their children to come here.

The event started at 5 p.m. and it was supposed to continue till 9 p.m. But guess what, it continued till 11 p.m. I had no idea on how to show a webcast to the people. So the first event didn't have any webcast session.
When the students and some of their guardians arrived, I started showing them the DVD on Saturn I received from NASA. Forget the commentary, the spectacular images left them fascinated. Meanwhile, I told them briefly about the mission.

Next session was telescopic observation. It was even better. When I saw their expression after looking at the craters of the Moon, I felt that I too might have had the same expression on my face when I observed the Moon for the first time.

Meanwhile, I gave them lectures on the basics of astronomy. I tried not to focus on the recent researches as it would have definitely alienated them. My primary objective for this programme was to make them interested in astronomy. I used mythological references to make it easier for them to understand it. I also showed them Saturn. Imagine what their reactions would be on seeing the rings of Saturn!

The condition of the sky, however, somewhat betrayed me. Patches of clouds were frequently shielding the sky from our view. Only if the clouds had any power to curb our unending enthusiasm!

I believe that's the most important part of any event. Public reactions are what can make such an event a success or a disaster. I needn't have included this section as it's fairly evident (in the previous passages) what the reactions are.

Of course, the students and the guardians gave a big thumbs-up to this event. They expressed their wish to know more about astronomy and wanted to be in touch with me.

Oh wait, a (only one) guardian was not very pleased with me because I, well, told them that Saturn is not a harmful planet at all. I also told them that the Moon and the planets have no effect of their daily lives. But this wasn't the first time I faced hostility for saying this. I have to bear this burden for the rest of my (event organiser) life.

But the rest readily accepted the truth. Some remained doubtful, but did not reject it either.

But I forget everything when I see those happy faces. That is what matters.

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