When the heavens were brought down for kids!

This relates to the wonderful observation session we organised for 3 entire villages!

  • Date: 25 May 2015
  • Day: Monday
  • Place: Veppampattu, a village by Chennai, Capital of Tamil Nadu

We arranged for a taxi, carried our 8” telescope and set out for the village, late at around 7:00 p.m. We were invited for dinner, and considering the place to be a village , we thought people might just not understand stuff and were planning to keep things simple (Nope. The moon is not made of cheese. Not that simple).
We arrive at the first village, only to find about 50(!) people waiting for us, most of them children. We had not had this magnitude of turnout for the sessions in the institute! But, we continued. The people there were very receptive, and the organizer, one Mr. Sabapathy, was all excited about filling our stomachs and taking out our telescopes.
And so we eat our fill and set up the telescope. We find out the location of planets “finely” using the app Skeye, and start putting some swag among them, when suddenly, a group of people come to us, asking for instructions to use the app!
We were shell shocked! To think villagers had android smartphones and they could get the app.. man! that was just way too much! It was at this point that we started taking things seriously.
We explain about the planarity of our solar system, conservation of angular momentum, far side/near side of moon, precision of moon, kepler’s laws, among many other things. Of course, most of them were motivated to know, and some were even preparing for JEE, so we were thoroughly excited to talk about science and stuff.
Fast forward, we pack things up and visit two more villages, only to meet up with such a high level of enthusiasm, and feeling that we must have motivated at least 10 children to study science, and 10 parents to let their kids study. The people are happy enough to brew hot tea for us, thinking we might fall asleep!
Fast forward again, the sessions come to an end, our taxi driver is dead drowsy, so we show him the Rings of Saturn, the Moons of Jupiter (Galilean) and Craters of the Moon. Enough to wake up anybody. So we thank the villagers and the organizer for such a wonderful experience, and start packing things up, only to see a “powercut” in the village! We start to observe again, but yeah, you can’t have all the good in the world, as god is jobless enough to send clouds to block our view of the heavens. Irony, the site’s named after the ‘Raijin’ or ‘Rai-shin’, the Japanese god of Thunder (the reference, however is not to him. That funda will come later).
We reach our rooms (I go home, by the virtue of being a localite!) at around 3:00 a.m. and thank the driver profusely for helping us pack up the trip. And yeah, the next day we boast all about how smart these so-called ‘villagers’ were. Enough inspiration to last a month.

So that’s it! I have attached a few pics at the bottom. The guy with white t-shirt is the club head Sunil and I am the guy with the reddish-brownish tee!

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5 thoughts on “When the heavens were brought down for kids!

    1. Thanks! Currently, we operate out of IIT-Madras, and as such our projects are open only to institute students. You can attend our sessions, if you’re not from the institute (we are from Chennai, btw). We generally send out mails and post on our google and facebook groups regarding any sessions.
      We are in the process of making our Facebook page, so till then, this blog will be the source of all information!


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