At the Amateur Astronomy Club, we aim to develop an awareness about astronomy and astrophysics and to introduce people to the mysteries and the magic of the night sky. As members of this club, we are united in our passion for this subject and conduct events frequently to foster an interest in this field.
Our most popular event, Starry Nights, allows participants a view of the night sky through the telescope. We are proud owners of a Skywatcher made Newtonian Telescope, with 200x magnification which allows us to view the craters on the moon in spectacular detail. Other popular objects visible through it are the rings of Saturn, Jupiter and it moons, Venus, Mars and the Orion Nebula. Only by looking through the binoculars can you appreciate the number of stars we fail to see with our naked eyes! A tour of the night sky is given, along with the mythological tales associated with the popular and easy to spot asterisms and constellations.
We also regularly conduct quizzing events about Astronomy and Astrophysics which test the participant’s awareness on the current happenings in the world of space exploration, astronomy, basic astrophysics and also a bit of pop culture! These events have a good participation, with palpable competition amongst all the quizzing enthusiasts of NITK. An event which never fails to keep the participants entertained is the Astro-Games event. This consists of a series of party games like Pictionary, taboo and jigsaw puzzle but all are astronomy themed.
AAC has its own committee for the Technical Fest Engineer. Situated on the ground floor of the MB, we have an exhibition of all the projects we have worked on and other models explaining fascinating phenomenon related to space. The highlight of this year’s Astro Committee was the rover Infinity 2.0. Modelled on the mars rover, it had a sturdy design and could be controlled remotely by an app. Other major attractions were the strobe light effect, where water droplets appeared to move upwards, the satellite tracker, which could point to satellites live as they passed overhead and even a model of Juno, the spacecraft sent to Jupiter.
We visit the NITK English Medium School every fortnight to try to broaden their perspective and expand their knowledge. In this programme, called SciTutor, our members try to help them understand the importance of science by making them visualize concepts and by teaching things a little differently from what is taught at school.
Apart from this, we also conduct intra-club talks which are sometimes open to the public, on any topic related to astronomy or astrophysics. This year we have had a talk on the different types of celestial coordinate systems and their applications, the future of space propulsion systems, and even on time crystals and 3D printing.
On our annual trip, we visited Kodachadri, where the cloudless, clear skies and absence of human habitation for miles around provided the perfect sky for a night of celestial observations. On this night, we saw the Orion Nebula through our new filters, and took several star-trail photographs.