Saturday, 4 April 2009

Server Not Found (or How My ISP Almost Destroyed the 1OO HA)

This error message (and its variations like "The Page Cannot Be Displayed") irritates you and me, of course. But never before, I guess, this message has made me cry...well, almost.

That's what happened to me yesterday and the day before. Before I could submit my further plans for 3-5 April on the 100 Hours of Astronomy website, my truly great server went off. You may argue that reporting doesn't mean much (or anything at all) if I really celebrate the 100 Hours of Astronomy and reach out to everybody. And I'd agree with you, no doubt.

But there was one irreparable damage done. I invited a number of school students to my place on Friday. I promised everyone to show them live webcasts from various observatories across the globe. Alas, that didn't happen. I showed them the material I already had with me and gave them lectures on the basics of astronomy. Thankfully they went home satisfied. The sky in Kolkata is betraying me too. The night sky remains clouded, mostly. Also the waxing Moon is proving a bad thing for observation. (The sky looked something like the sky in the photo yesterday. It's not my photo, by the way.)

My job as an organiser of the 100 Hours of Astronomy isn't easy because I'm doing it on my own. I have no grand-scale club involved with me. I have to show people the sky with my limited number of telescopes. I have to show the films and webcasts with whatever limited resources (the Internet and my computer, to be more specific) I have. If those fail, I cannot but feel a little ashamed as I fail. If, and only if, an organisation with better resources were involved with me, I could have done this on a much bigger scale. How much better it'd have been if the webcasts and films were shown on multiplex screen and more telescopes were arranged! Sadly, I found no such organisation in Kolkata involved in this project.

Wait, I don't think I have the right to blame anybody. I guess I should have been more active in finding such resources. But I came to know about it too late for my good, thanks to my exams. But I discussed the importance of my exams before. So there's none to blame.

But am I failing to enjoy the 100 Hours of Astronomy? No way! Remember, it's about loving astronomy as a whole. And I do it.

Now that the Internet has come back, there's no stopping me. Till 5 April, 23:59:59.9999, I will continue what I am doing.

Meanwhile, I embed the webcast on my blog.


Considering the visibility of my blog, there's little chance that I'd ever get a comment. Sigh.

(Will post the event reports soon.)

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