Astronomy Club

(Assembly of special interest group)

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The splendour of the night sky has been fascinating man from time immemorial. Besides the stars, of which Sun is our nearest one, the Moon and the planets greatly stirred up man’s curiosity. Imaginative mind could figure out the constellations and noticed their movements of the planets and the stars from which a mental picture of the universe gradually evolved. However, observational astronomy, the oldest of all sciences had its foundations firmly laid around 1610 A.D., when Galileo Galilee, having constructed an optical telescope himself using lenses, started scanning the sky with its aid. With his telescope, he first detected sunspots, moons of Jupiter, rings around Saturn and the like. Subsequent development of bigger and bigger telescopes, of both refracting and reflecting types, spectroscopes and improved photographic techniques over the century enriched astronomy enormously and gradually has turned out to be one of the major pursuits of our time.

An important branch of Astronomy – Astrophysics, developed subsequently. On the basis of knowledge obtained from Thermodynamics, Spectroscopy, Nuclear Physics and the like, Astrophysics could explain the evolution of stars, production mechanism of stellar energies and the mysteries behind objects like Pulsars, Quasars, Black holes, Dark energy and dark Matter. Thus, while Astronomy deals with the observational aspect of heavenly bodies, Astrophysics goes into in-depth studies and interprets observational data on the basis of physical and chemical laws. On help the growth of the other giving birth to the twin science of Astronomy – Astrophysics.

The serendipitous discovery of extraterrestrial radio-waves by Karl Jansky in the early thirties ultimately gave birth to the new science of Radio- Astronomy. This opened up a new frontier: study of the universe through radio-waves (from 0.1 cm to 20 meters) emitted from different celestial objects. The two astronomies – Optical and Radio from the Earth-based observatories could develop because of the fact that the two wavelength ranges (optical and radio), can pass through the atmosphere. With the advent of space probes and the artificial satellites the so called Space-Astronomies – (IR< UV< X-ray & Gamma ray) developed. Since the sixties a new dimension of our knowledge of the universe has thus evolved.

On the recommendation of Seventh Local Advisory Committee of RSC & Planetarium, Calicut which met on 12th February 2002, The club came was officially formed on July 6, 2002 with a initial registration of 200 members. Any person with interest in astronomy can join the club by paying annual membership fee (presently it is Rs. 1000/- per year). There is no age restriction for joining the club.

Activities of the club includes but not limited to the following:

  • Sky Observation
  • Special observation programmes on phenomenon like solar & lunar eclipses, occultations, transits, apparitions of comets, meteor watch, zero shadow day etc
  • Observatory Visit
  • Star parties
  • Publication of Club Journal – Aakasham
  • Astronomy Tutorials
  • Astronomy Seminars, lectures and workshops
  • Meet the Astronomer
  • Astronomy Exhibitions in schools, colleges, universities and city fairs
  • Activities in Astronomy Education
  • Astronomy in culture
  • Astrophotography
  • Telescope making workshops
  • Short term Astronomy & Astrophysics hobby courses
  • Astronomy Projects for schools, Colleges and University students.
  • Participating in Exhibitions on Astronomy
  • Public Outreach in Astronomy
  • Celebration of international events announced by IAU and UNESCO

The club ‘functions following the insight ‘One Earth, One sky’. The sky is an open lab for all the earthlings to see and experience it, understand the natural phenomenon logically through the laws of science and rational reasoning and free our minds from all shorts of stigma and superstitions. We are now in the golden era of astronomy with ‘Hubble Space Telescope’, ‘James Web Space Telescope’ and ‘Thirty meter telescope’ and many similar others on the path of breath taking discoveries. The universe is so vast that reflecting on an image of Earth captured by cameras of Voyager – 2, the famous astronomer and polymath Carl Sagan attributes to it insightful description quoted below:

“Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.”

― Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space

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