Last solar eclipse of decade: Pune students marvel rare celestial event
At least 120 students gathered at the grounds despite the drizzle and cloudy sky. Most students who were preset were witnessing the event for the first time and described the event as a celestial marvelUpdated: Dec 27, 2019, 16:45 IST
Students from various schools, universities and orphanages flocked to the College of Engineering Pune (CoEP) grounds to witness the annular solar eclipse as the college’s astronomy club had organised a special event called ‘Eclipsed’.
At least 120 students gathered at the grounds despite the drizzle and cloudy sky. Most students who were preset were witnessing the event for the first time and described the event as a celestial marvel.
Eleven-year-old Arjun Mahajan from Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan who came with his mother was in complete awe. “I have never seen an eclipse before. I saw a beautiful partial eclipse through the telescope. I was excited as the moon slowly masked the Sun. I am lucky to have witnessed the last solar eclipse of the decade. This event was a hands-on experience and has piqued my interest in astronomy.”
Vidhisha Baviskar, a third year student of mechanical engineering, COEP and secretary of the astronomy club, said, “This was a one in a million chance and we wanted young students to share this experience with us. Hence, with the help of Rotary Club, Shivajinagar, we invited students of Modern High School, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan and More Madhyamik Vidyalaya that cater to students from lower middle class families.”
The astronomy club had made special arrangements for students to enjoy the eclipse. The club had four telescopes, 20 solar goggles and two pin hole projectors. The club members also set up a live telecast on a projector wherein the members explained this phenomenon to the young students.
“The students were eagerly waiting to witness this phenomenon. Despite the cloudy weather they did not complain and enjoyed the event. The students erupted into a cheer as the clouds started to clear and the partial eclipse was visible to the naked eye,” said Vinod Zope, teacher, More Madhyamik Vidyalaya who accompanied students of Class 12.
The club members also entertained the students with on-the-spot quizes.
Atharva Dongaonkar, a second year student of Wadia College and an astronomy enthusiast, said, “We could not see the entire event as we experienced cloudy weather, but I am not disappointed at all. The club members shared all the information about the solar eclipse and it was fun waiting for the clouds to clear and get a glimpse of the phenomenon of the decade.”
CoEP astronomy club: Nurturing young minds
Founded in 2004, the CoEP astronomy club has an ambitious team driven by amateur astronomers, who have managed to conjure up a lot of interest amongst students in the science of stargazing. The idea is to bring innovation and passion to its vision of spreading the awareness and knowledge of astronomy and space sciences to the students.
The club has initiated many projects, one such project is the construction of India’s largest amateur built telescope – a 12” Newtonian reflector, construction of mobile, inflatable planetarium dome.
The club also holds many events such as Star Party (a fun-filled night of stargazing), planetarium visits, quiztronomy (a quiz to test people’s knowledge on everything seen beyond the night sky), telescope building and handling sessions (telescope – every astronomers weapon), and many more.
In addition to this, the club in association with the Interuniversity Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Pune (IUCAA) organises the event StareWay to Heaven during MindSpark with an aim to bring astronomy to the masses. Within this, a mobile planetarium is set up in the college, where the night sky is simulated and the people are introduced to various constellations and stars.