Asteroid Day: For the love of shooting stars and skygazing
Amateur astronomers in Delhi-NCR mark Asteroid Day (June 30) with online interactions and live streaming sessions. Many city-based astronomy clubs share how they have shifted gears to stay relevant in the virtual space and fulfil the demand of their followers.
Exploring the universe with a keen eye, the amateur astronomers in Delhi-NCR are quite enthusiastic to explore the dimensions of asteroids. From an interaction with asteroid discoverers by Space India to a live asteroid watch from Chennai by AstroClub India, most of the city-based astronomy clubs have shifted gears and changed pace to align themselves to the demand of their followers.
“The shift to online interactions became necessary to adapt during the pandemic. But that has somehow become the norm for the participants now,” says Sachin Bahmba, founder of SPACE India, adding, “There is a significant rise in the demand for online events. While earlier there would be two or three events in a year, now it has risen to 10 because this also gives the young amateur asteroid discoverers an opportunity to connect with international discoverers.”
Another Delhi-based astronomy group, AstroCamp India will live telecast an event from Chennai, Tamil Nadu at 7pm on their Instagram handle @astrocampindia “due to lack of environmental suitability in NCR”. It’s also a way of letting their followers know that they have resumed operations post the pandemic. “We have mentioned ‘Now Open Post Covid’ in our Insta bio because the discontinuity of the physical events during the pandemic distorted the group. Though we are open since almost one and a half year, for physical events, people aren’t much aware about our functional status. To change this, we are trying to engage with them through online events and spread the word,” shares Anurag Pandey, founder of the group, adding, “On the other hand, the rise in pollution has made it quite difficult to enjoy an astronomical activity in Delhi. But since there is an immense interest among youngsters to know about the deep ends of the universe, we are investing in their interest via online sessions and even in stargazing activities whenever possible.”
Worrying about the drastic change in the mindset of upcoming astronomers and the air condition of the Capital, Aryan Mishra, an amateur astronomer, says, “Watching an asteroid event in the city is anyways not possible since that requires big survey telescopes. The rise in pollution has now made even spotting a constellation in the sky a great task. Though astronomy is best experienced in person, when it allows participants to observe celestial objects through telescopes, but engaging in discussions with experts and experiencing the awe-inspiring nature of the night sky is equally significant. I’m afraid that the absence of physical events might lead to a decline in the number of individuals actively involved in astronomy in Delhi-NCR.”
Author tweets @maishascribbles