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Sunday, July 15, 2018

Light Years

This star gazing event deftly combined a passion for art and astronomy

Written by AmritaJain | Published: May 21, 2012 1:27:21 am

This star gazing event deftly combined a passion for art and astronomy

The settings were akin to Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night . Close to 30 audience members sat at the amphitheatre of Cha Hut,the tea lounge at Mulshi,listening to the story of the milky way unfold through a NASA audio-visual presentation. An informal gathering had come together to listen to the story of the planets and the stars through this star gazing event organised by Cha Hut and Khagol Vishwa on Saturday evening.

Being conducted for the first time,this was an attempt to tie music and astronomy together. At the picturesque bungalow in Girivan,30 kms from Pune,colorful mats and open skies greeted the audience. As a curtain raiser,a musical programme was presented by senior citizens ….. and …. Right from old Hindi songs to Lavani sangeet,the music set the mood right. For Devika Nadig,who stays at Cha Hut along with her family,this is a small effort to bring people with different interests together. “We try and make sure that activities keep happening here once a month. We started this tea lounge in February this year. Till now we have had a drum circle,a classical dance presentation,a play from Prithvi Theatre. This place is not just a lounge but tries to go beyond it to explore different areas of interest.”

At the terrace,volunteers from Khagol Vishwa stood next to the telescopes,showing several interesting constellations,clusters and planets. A small laser show conducted by Mayuresh Prabhune,secretary,Khagol Vishwa,gave the evening a much needed direction and flow. With the help of the software Starry Nights,a guided tour of the sky was conducted. One spotted the north star,constellations like Ursa Major,Ursa Minor,Bootes,star signs Scorpio,Libra and so forth. “This was the first time we tried to match art and astronomy. We were looking for something like this because I think this combination is quite attractive. Science,astronomy and arts should be mixed,” said Prabhune.

A team of 12 volunteers,mostly college students,explained details about what one saw through the telescopes. “The best thing about these workshops is that it can attract people towards science. Once you see through a telescope things appear differently,” said Prabhune,as he showed another star cluster. A registered society,Khagol Vishwa was established in 1999 and has since been conducting observations on eclipses,comets,and asteroids. They have also studied the Lonar meteorite impact and are currently working to conserve it as a world heritage site.

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