Popularization of astronomy through mobile planetarium

Popularization of astronomy through mobile planetarium
DC Kohima Rajesh Soundararajan speaking at the mobile planetarium currently on display for students from September 25 to 26 at the Multipurpose Hall of Rüzhükhrie GHSS, Kohima. (Morung Photo)


Morung Express News
Kohima | September 25


A mobile planetarium is currently on display for interested students from September 25 to 26 at the Multipurpose Hall of Rüzhükhrie Government Higher Secondary School, Kohima. Themed ‘Popularisation of Astronomy through Mobile Planetarium’ the exhibition is organised by the Uzho Cultural Society, Nagaland and catalyzed and supported by the National Council of Science and Technology Communication, OST, New Delhi.


With an objective to bring the science of Astronomy primarily to the children of the State and to the wider population, to educate the audience in a way that is both engaging and entertaining, the exhibition is part of a proposed program called ‘Astronomy Awareness Program’ to be executed in Nagaland.


“I think astronomy is naturally engaging as people are curious and awed by its subject matter as it usually covers things and phenomena that exist and work on scales and energies beyond the comprehension of most people,” said Stephen Theyo from Uzho Cultural Society noted that the mobile planetarium would be an entertaining means of presenting the beauty of astronomy.


The awareness programme also hopes to dispel any traditional beliefs stemming from old animist ideas or general misconceptions on astronomical subjects, as a consequence of educating people on astronomy. Theyo also expressed that the program aims to promote the scientific method and mode of thought and ensure that people’s understanding of astronomical bodies and events are bound by objective scientific theory.


Stressing on the essence of astronomy, Rajesh Soundararajan, Kohima Deputy Commissioner mentioned that Astronomy has led to major path-breaking inventions such as the innovation and inventions of GPS, CT Scan, MRAs.


“Studies of astronomy has transformed into medical applications. This is what makes Astronomy a very important discipline of Science,” said Soudararanjan adding that Astronomy has numerous career and employment opportunities. The Kohima DC also urged the students to make the best use of this opportunity and make an attempt to understand the basics of astronomy.


“Astronomy is a humbling experience as well as a character building experience. Looking at the night sky, and the studying the timeline of the universe it makes you realize how big your universe is and how small and insignificant we are. It humbles you and makes you start questioning about your existence as a species,” said Soundararajan.


The mobile planetarium can accommodate around 20 students at a time where the images of the nightsky, the stars, planets and other celestial bodies are projected. The program, according to Theyo, hopes to reach out and encompasses as many children and people as possible in all the 11 districts, from major towns to the remotest rural areas. “Given the number of schools I estimate that we can reach at least 700 schools and at least 1 lakh students and I think that estimation is conservative. I would also like to add at this point that with a grant of 47 lakhs the cost per child would be 47 rupees which I think is very cost effective,” added Theyo. During the inaugural, students from Northfield School, Mewi School and CC School were present.