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Dark Side Of The Moon

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Dark Side Of The Moon

Peer into the Great Beyond and celebrate International Astronomy Day with these clubs

Ever wished upon a falling star? Ever wondered how lost travellers found their way using constellations and stars? The oldest of all the natural sciences, astronomy has made civilisations peer into the inky blackness of space to understand what exactly lies beyond.

Today we may have made immense progress in understanding the universe and its celestial objects, but the universe’s vastness still dwarves our achievements.

On International Astronomy Day (April 21), get curious and meet some like-minded enthusiasts at these amateur astronomy clubs in your city.

1. Delhi

Its perennial dark grey skies don’t make Delhi an outstanding spot to check out stars from. The enthusiastic chaps at Amateur Astronomers Association, though, beg to differ.

This club meets every Sunday at Nehru Planetarium and also organises trips outside Delhi to spot stars and other heavenly bodies.

Their Facebook page is sporadically updated, which means they are mostly busy tracking objects in the sky, which is a good thing. Besides owning several 10 inch telescopes, the club also assists its members in buying new or used telescopes. Contact them here.

2. Mumbai

In the city that doesn’t sleep, spotting a handful of people at night isn’t a big deal. If they are spotted huddled around a telescope, then they surely will be members of Khagol Mandal.

One of the city’s oldest astronomy clubs, KM arranges sky observation sessions, basic and advanced astronomy courses, and various educative programs on astronomy. Club members gather every Wednesday and on weekends, so meeting them is fairly easy. A sky watch is scheduled on April 21. Contact them here.

3. Pune

Pleasant climate, an active student base, and several colleges means Pune has three major astronomy clubs.

Jyotirvidya Parisanstha (JVP) has been peering into the heart of the universe since 1944. Being India’s oldest astronomy club hasn’t dented their edge. Monthly star parties and basic courses are conducted at nominal costs.

The astronomy club at College of Engineering, Pune (CoEP) has a hands-on approach in creating interest among the city’s student population. Apart from sky observations, telescope building and quizzes keep its members engrossed. Join the fun here.

Elevating the hobby, few members of Akashmitra have already made a career in astronomy and astrophysics. Beginners are more than welcome to participate in their weekly activities and star parties. Regular updates and upcoming events are posted on their Facebook page.

4. Bangalore

With several weekend getaways in close quarters, Bangalore has two astronomy clubs. The Bangalore Astronomy Society (BAS) aims to promote the hobby among citizens, and actively seeks members and volunteers.

They also offer a few certificate programs for keen observers. Reach them through their website.

The Association of Bangalore Amateur Astronomers (ABAA) has similar motives and is slightly more active, with weekly talks by members, who are also keen on outdoor night sky trips around the city.

ABAA meets every Sunday at Nehru Planetarium. Contact them through their Facebook page or website.

Image Credit: Nikhil Mudaliar

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Mineli Goswami is a 24-year-old Assamese-East Indian, which usually translates into pretty good weekend feasts. When she’s not at her desk struggling with poetry – more often than she’d like – she’s seen wasting time on an assortment of things such as lugging an antique SLR, breaking nails climbing boulders, and chasing turtles. She’s graduated in history and has an unofficial PhD in Bandra-style jiving.

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