And we’ve got fresh and great news: GalileoMobile is right now at the end of one more stop around the globe. This time India is receiving some of our members and we are taking profit of the Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) assembly in mid-July in the city of Mysuru (at the southwest of Bengaluru) in Karnataka, at the south of the country.
The trip, named “Khagol Rath (Astro Chariot) Expedition” is a pilot project in which the idea is to make contacts in India for future visits. It’s taking place from July 1st to today, July 13th, in the state of Karnataka and 12 villages and towns were on the roadmap: rural Bengaluru, Malur, Srinivaspur, Sidlaghatta, Thodagere, Alanahalli, Kunigal, Koppa, Ramanagara, KM Doddi, Channapatna and Mandya.
According to Megha Bhatt and Jayant Joshi, the Indian astronomers behind the expedition, the idea was to reach around 700 students and 1500 local people in places where access to Astronomy is rare or non-existent. They also stress that “besides activities directed to children, the involvement with teachers is very important so that the work can go on and bear fruit. In this sense, there’ll be workshops directed to educators so that they, too, can improve their knowledge and pass on the taste for the sky.”
The expedition, sponsored by COSPAR, Max-Planck Institute for Solar System Research (MPS), Nordic Institute for Theoretical Physics (NORDITA) and Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA, Bangalore), has taken six GM members and also four students/astronomers from Bengaluru in order to help with the local language and making contact with the schools. They’ve traveled to different villages using a mini-bus provided by IIA with enough space to carry the telescopes and materials of the activities during the planned trip of two weeks.
And why India? “The country has a strong tradition in ancient astronomy and the near Equator sky there offers many exciting objects for observation. Besides, India has a wide difference of education between urban and rural areas. The objective is to make more people familiar with what’s going on in science fields such as astronomy so that they can increase their will of learning”, Megha says. And she completes: “Bengaluru is a hub of Astronomy in India and it is a great opportunity for local institutes and universities to interact in an outreach effort such as Khagol Rath”.