The Telegraph
Sunday , January 6 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999
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Special view of cosmos for Titabar kids

Jorhat, Jan. 5: More than 100 schoolchildren in Titabar subdivision of Jorhat district have a treat in store for them tomorrow with the sun, stars and other cosmic phenomena being brought within their reach through a mobile planetarium.

Brought from Guwahati by the HHMI Alumni Association to Jorhat today, schoolchildren of Hemalata Handiqui Memorial Institute here witnessed mind-boggling images sourced from Nasa’s Hubble Telescope inside the inflated dome of the planetarium placed at the HHMI Alumni Hall of the school.

The Taramandal programme, organised in association with Bharat Jana Vigyan Jatha, an NGO under the department of science and technology and the Pragjyotish Amateur Astronomer’s Association, will also display the night sky to the children through a telescope.

Sanjiv Kumar Sarma, the joint secretary of the association, said with Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system being close to the earth at this time, the planet could be viewed through the telescope with four out of its 68 moons also perceptible.

“Our association is involved in sensitisation programmes to clear superstitions associated with solar and lunar eclipses. Showing these phenomenon to children makes them aware that they have nothing to do with (fables of) the gobbling up of the two bodies by monsters,” he said.

Ramesh Agarwal, the secretary of HHMI Alumni Association, said this was the first of many programmes which the association would take up for the betterment of the school, which is one of the first English medium schools in Upper Assam.

Jugal Bajaj, another member of the association, said it was not possible for schoolchildren from these parts to go all the way to Guwahati and see the show at the planetarium there.

“With the association being formed only in October last year, we would like to ensure that students of our school do not miss out on anything which will broaden their horizons,” he said.

All that is required is the transportation cost of the deflated dome, projectors and other equipment, and expenses of food and board of the crew and resource persons as well as a remuneration which is not fixed for the scientists, to be borne by the association.

District Institute of Educational and Training lecturer Krishna Dutta Deka contacted PRAAG for the planetarium to be brought here.

He said 110 students, 10 each from 11 schools and 30 teachers accompanying the students as well as 60 teachers receiving training in DIET in diploma in elementary education, will benefit from the programme.

Deka said the show would be shown free of cost to the schoolchildren, most of whom belonged to the tea garden areas, and “who might never get a chance to see these cosmic events from up close in a planetarium”.

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