Zameen-Aasmaan IYA workshops
"Star Gazer" @ Babak Tafreshi, Director, TWAN
An International Workshop on
The Earth and the Sky, Astrophotography and Image Processing
An International workshop on The Earth and the Sky, Astrophotography and Image Processing, is proposed to be conducted at Delhi, by the Nehru Planetarium, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi.
Funding for the workshop has been applied for, from the National Council of Science, Technology and Communication. Partial funding, science and technical support is also envisaged to be obtained through collaborations.
The workshop has also a fortunate collaboration with the Indian chapter of the United Nations recognized special project for the International Year of Astronomy – "The World at Night" and with the project "Astronomers without Borders", an organisational node of the International Year of Astronomy.
The workshop has so far benefited through Science and other support that has been give by
The workshop is looking for a collaboration with Astronomy and Astrophysics Institutions :-
Science help from the Astronomy institutions, for the envisaged student and amateur projects to emerge from the workshop, would be invaluable!
A lot of background support has been provided for the framing of the workshop, through interaction with astronomers of the Indian Institute of Astrophysics.
The workshop is also working in collaboration, with organisations involved in Science Education
The workshop will be enriched through a collaboration with voluntary organisations involved in Astronomy Education
The spirit and thoughts behind this workshop are the following :-
And finally, the workshop attempts to look at -
A celebration of the Science of the skies, with the Heritage of the land!
Through its collaboration with the Indian chapter of the International Year of Astronomy project “The World at Night” (TWAN).
TWAN attempts to image the night sky through very high quality astrophotographs. The night sky images for the TWAN project, also include a terrestrial backdrop, thus describing the night views from various locations of the world.
TWAN India, would be a wonderful way of showcasing India’s monumental heritage, giving it a unique backdrop of the starry skies. It is not just the monumental heritage, that would be of interest to TWAN India – geographical and natural heritage as well as the multilayered cross cultural heritage of India would be a unique backdrop for the TWAN India Astrophotographs.
India has so much of Astronomical heritage – medieval as well as modern – and many observatories and institutions working at the front ends of astronomical research. These locations would make some uniquely interesting backdrops for the TWAN astrophotographs.
The workshop will mark the beginning of TWAN India imaging.
During this workshop, it is envisaged that some of the Indian Astrophotographers would be identified who could contribute as guest astrophotographers, to the TWAN India project.
Selection of Participants
The selection of participants for the workshop will be based on the work and skills that they have already demonstrated, related to either - astrophotography, image processing, data analysis, telescope instrumentation or dedicated and serious usage of amateur telescopes.
It is envisaged that about 70 participants will be selected from Delhi, and about 50 outstation participants will be selected from all over India.
About 20 students each, would be selected and registered by some of the collaborating organisations.
There is an upper limit of 200 on the number of partcipants in the workshop, who will largely be amateur astronomers and senior school Bsc/Msc students with an interest in Astronomy.
The proposed dates for the workshop are October 3rd to 6th 2008. It is envisaged that the daytime workshop sessions from the 3rd to 5th will be held at the Planetarium, and the participants will be taken to Nuh, in Haryana, for overnight observations and imaging on the night of 4th of October. A dark site, free of light pollution, is very essential for the practical sessions of the workshop, and the site at Nuh has been frequently used and tested by the amateur astronomers of Delhi.
The workshop sessions on the 3rd and the morning of 4th, will be held in the Planetarium sky theatre and in the auditorium of the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library. On the evening of the 3rd, there will be some practical astrophotography sessions from the Jantar Mantar Observatory. The participants will start in the evening of 4th, for the 4-5 hour journey to Nuh, Haryana, and attend overnight observing sessions. A few rooms and Dormitories will be booked as accommodation, and all the young participants will also be asked to bring sleeping bags for camping out. The participants will return to Delhi, on the morning of 5th October. Short concluding daytime sessions will be held in the late afternoon of the 5th. The 6th of October is reserved for discussions on possible long term projects to be undertaken by the participants. The detailed schedule of the workshop will be updated soon.
Long term interaction and projects following the Workshop
One particular aspect of this workshop is related to the possibilities of long term interactions with the participants both before and after the workshop, through the online forum created for daily interactions with interested students and amateur astronomers, for activities related to the International Year of Astronomy, at
It is envisaged that all the participants of the workshop will be encouraged to take up some specific imaging and analysis oriented projects, in partnership groups, to be undertaken over the next year. These partnerships will also include the presence of an educator and a professional astronomer to mentor the projects over the period of a year. A follow up workshop is envisaged to be held in the latter half of 2009, to bring together the material from all these partnerships. During the workshop, discussions will be held to encourage the participants to take up specific observing and analysis projects, in partnership groups, that will be mentored by educators and professional astronomers, over the coming months and years. Partnership groups, who come up with good projects of their own and show enough promise of carrying the work through, will be given an astrophtography kit containing a German Eq3 equatorial mount, dual axis drive and a moderate telescope with a camera adapter, for some specific projects that can be done with such small aperture telescopes. The policy will be - one astrophotography kit per city or town, with the understanding the kit will be donated to an amateur astronomers group, to be used in rotation, by all the amateur groups in that city who would find a need for it, to undertake some learning projects.
These projects could be related to variable star observations, asteroid and lunar occultation studies, imaging and analysis of planetary events, and light pollution studies. These projects need not be contributory, they could just be learning and student projects for submission at senior school/Bsc/Msc level.
This kind of long term work and partnerships are feasible, only through collaboration with many Astronomy and Astrophysics institutions, planetaria and science centres. Such collaborations are being formed, both for this workshop as well as for the envisaged follow up activities and projects.
It would also be possible to work towards online and video conferencing participation of some of the international amateur astronomers who have done good work towards quantitative usage of their imaging skills, during the proposed workshop. This aspect of the workshop will be co-ordinated through collaboration with the project “Astronomers without Borders”. This possibility would also allow many young students and amateur astronomers from India, who cannot physically be present at the workshop, to gain from the sessions and participate in the discussions.