The much anticipated Astro-Camp at Delhi Public School Tapi has finally taken place – on 5 January for us and on 6 January for DPS Surat, both hosted by DPST.
The Astro-Camp at DPS Tapi was on the momentous day when the fuel tank at IOC, Hazira caught fire. The conflagration, accompanied by a dense pall of smoke spreading across the horizon was visible from our school campus. Along with the stars, we watched the glare of the fire flaring up all night long. Perhaps, the great fire kept the night from getting too cold. On the next night, 6 January, DPS Surat reported that the temperature dropped to 7 degrees and it was simply freezing!
The DPS Tapi Astro-Camp began with a fruit drink and an Inter House Astro-Quiz for the participants, to prepare them for the main event. This was followed by a presentation on Space Technology and Space Travel by Mr. Vikram Virulkar, from Beyond Earth, covering a range of interesting facts, from space tourism to building space rockets.
After dinner at 8.30 pm (DPST Astro-Camp Menu) it was straight to the terrace, well wrapped up in woollens, for a rendezvous with the stars, planets and constellations that awaited. A few enthusiastic parents of participants who had braved the cold to drive to school, also joined us by 9.00 pm.
You can share the activities of the human participants of the camp recorded in The Terrestrial Stars of DPS Tapi Astro-Camp.
Mr. G.R. Sivakumar, Principal, DPS Surat had set up three telescopes belonging to DPS Surat and Mr. Vikram Virulkar from Beyond Earth also set up two telescopes. The telescope models are:
- 12-inch Newtonian/Dobsonian Reflecting Telescope with syn-scan automatic Go-to Mount
- 6-inch Refracting Telescope with Equatorial Mount
- Schmidt-Cassagrain Telescope
The teachers and students used the school iPads with Redshift, Night Sky and Star Walk Apps to help identify the celestial objects they located. The students were able to fill their star sheets with all they saw and learnt. Now, they can number among their friends – Jupiter with 7 of its (63) moons, Aldebaran, Taurus, Pleiades, Orion, Rigel, Betelgeuse, Bellatrix, Polaris, Canopus, Procyon, Sirius, Cassiopeia, Andromeda, Perseus, Leo, Ursa Major, Arcturus, Spica and Saturn. The entire night sky was mapped out as the heavens wheeled and earth turned on its axis. The telescopes helped us to penetrate to star clusters and nebulae not visible to the naked eye.
There was brief rest and a coffee-break (for adults) or snacks-n-dance break (for more interesting people) for an hour or so, to await moonrise. Then, the queen of heaven reigned supreme, dwarfing all the rest with her lustre.
Some spectacular photography of the night sky was achieved by Mr. Sivakumar and Mr. Virulkar. You can admire the non-human participants of the camp recorded in The Celestial Stars of DPS Tapi Astro-Camp. The spectacular show ended with a view of Saturn in the east at 4.00 am.
Then, it was pack-up telescopes and down to a well-earned rest – for 2-3 hours till the sun rose up, mystified by all the happenings during its absence.
The students were up to breakfast and numerous games in the field before they left for home, to share the experience with eager family and friends.
The nucleus of the DPS Tapi-Surat Astronomy Club has been set. If you are interested, then you are welcome to join us for some serious star-gazing on suitable nights. There will be more sky-gazing (already booked) at DPS Tapi from 11-13 January 2012.
Do leave your comments on how you enjoyed our Astro-Camp!