CFI Open house!

It’s been almost a month since I last posted anything. Sigh! Academics!

But anyway, I had work going around, and with people working on the first set of projects, last week was really, really hectic. The reason? CFI Open House!

I have witnessed two Open Houses, but this year was a literal pain- not due to projects but due to rains! The entire area in front of CFI was flodded with water, and people had almost no way of coming. We thought the Open house would be postponed, but then, we are going to be engineers. Jugaad is bread and butter of our life. Hence, we got a lot of wooden planks (like a small table), and placed them so that it formed a small “bridge” to help people come into CFI!

But wait, what is CFI? It is an organization of sorts funded by alumni (of IIT-M, of course) which gives a facility to work on projects. Astro Club is also a part of it. And every year, an exhibition is organized at CFI wherein students showcase their projects.

Right then, we put up our projects, and a lot of people came – appreciators, criticizers, professors, students, etc. Some were excited to look at the exhibits, others were just there to pass time, and yet others were actually giving advice on how to make the exhibits better.

I was wondering when some people from physics department would come. And then, there came Prof. CVK, who was in his element of making the project better with his ideas. And then, there was Prof. Suresh, who was naturally intending to dispel myths of random planets and pull in general relativity into our projects. Overall, it was fun and tiring, with Arjun (Iyer) breaking my laptop, and I am thinking to claim the money from him!

The event ended at 8:45 in the evening, where some alumni of CFI were giving random speeches of how they toiled hard- true, not denying it. But then, I was too tired to listen, and left unseen by others, only to find half of CFI junta leaving with me!

But wait, I did not mention  what projects were exhibited, right?  Not all, but some projects which have been done pretty well were exhibited. It included the following:

  • Astronomy Clock: Yep! The one which was put up in page-1 of the projects release. A basic prototype had been done, and we were able to present it. It was done in python, after some good fight by the project members. I will upload the code soon, so that people can try it out!
  • Smartphone Coupler: A coupler for smartphone to the telescope eyepiece was made. Pretty old project, but always a feast to see celestial objects via a smartphone!
  • Solar system simulator: This was a sort of last-minute work done by me. I tried to simulate our solar system in Visual python, and get a feel of how much the initial conditions determine the orbits! We were able to get all conics (though I didn’t wait long enough to differentiate a parabola and a hyperbola of low eccentricity 😛 ). The source code is put up here.
    Here are a few pic of the same:
    Screenshot 2015-11-07 09.32.04Screenshot 2015-11-07 09.32.21

    So how does it even work? Well, its pretty simple actually. Newton’s law of Gravitation and II Law of motion. Its a Second-order differential equation asking 2 initial conditions. Hence, given the initial positions and velocities of the planets & moons, and given all masses, I let gravity play, and make orbits for me!

    For more details on the math, please ping me. It makes the post lame to go into the mathematics, though it isn’t exactly tough!

So that’s it guys! Hope I will write soon enough before end sems!



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