National Observation Camp for Annular Solar Eclipse 14-16 January 2010

   Activities in workshop     Watch Video

Annular Solar Eclipse (15 Jan 2010) : Photographs taken by Vigyan Prasar   विज्ञान प्रसार के द्वारा लिये चित्र

14 January 2010

Vigyan Prasar in collaboration with Tamilnadu Science and Technology Centre (TNSTC), Chennai organised a National Observation Camp on viewing the annular solar eclipse on 15 January 2010. The other partners in this programme were National Council for Science and Technology Communications (NCSTC) and St. Anthony Sr. Sec. School, Kanyakumari. 


For this Camp the children selected from the VIPNET clubs on the basis of the projects submitted by them to Vigyan Prasar were invited.  The project ideas relating to astronomical activities were circulated among the VIPNET clubs through VIPNET Newsletter and correspondence. Two child scientists from each state who participated in the National Children’s Science Congress and the members of about 100 most active VIPNET clubs were also invited for this camp. In total, 827 participants representing more than 26 States/UTs registered for the camp. Some distinguished scientists and science communicators were the special invitees for the programme.


During the 3-day camp, a series of programmes and activities were conducted for the participants. The programme started with the lighting of lamp followed by a welcome song sung by the students of St. Anthony’s H.S. School. The District Collector of Kanyakumari, Shri Rajinder Ratnoo, Dr. V.B.Kamble (Ex-Director Vigyan Prasar), Shri Anuj Sinha (Ex-Head NCSTC), Dr. Arul Gerald Prakash (Director, Kerala State Science and Technology Museum), Dr. P. Iyaperumal, Executive Director, TNSTC, Smt Ujjwala T. Trikey Scientist E, (NCSTC) were present. 


In his welcome address Dr. Iyaperumal spoke about the special features and peculiarity of Kanyakumari and what was so special for selecting Kanyakumari for organising the camp for observing the annular solar eclipse.  He also explained the phenomenon of the annular eclipse and its uniqueness.


In his presidential address Er. Anuj Sinha made an appeal to the younger generation to become scientists through hard work, keen observation, and gain new knowledge about the universe.   He also spoke about the role of science communicators in society and said, “The great scientists are those, who not only solve problems, but also pose many problems”.


            Former Director of Vigyan Prasar Dr. V.B. Kamble recalled how scientific attitude and scientific temper is being promoted in the country, especially regarding eclipses, since the total solar eclipse of 1995. He said an amazing change is taking place in the ways of thinking among the people. They are now coming out of the mire of superstitions, dogmas and unscientific and wrong beliefs.


            Shri B.K. Tyagi, principal scientific officer, VP presented a brief report about how the children were selected for the camp and gave an account of the programmes and activities to be organised during the three-day programme. The vote of thanks was proposed by Dr. S. Soundarajaperumal, Joint Director, TNSTC.


            On the first day three parallel technical sessions were organised in which a series of lectures, demonstration and discussions were organised. The lectures by scientists were on subjects covering various aspects like understanding eclipses, the anatomy of eye and science of vision, and how to view eclipses safely. The demonstration of the kit, developed by VP, was also given to the participants in all the three parallel sessions. A briefing session on how to perform activities during the eclipse was also organised. Each child was assigned an activity, which he/she was supposed to perform during the eclipse. The required material for performing the activity along with activity sheets with instructions was also made available to group leaders.

The four activities were:


1)      To find the angular size of Sun and Moon

2)      To find the percentage of eclipse

3)      To find the maximum time of annular eclipse

4)      To record any effect on flora and fauna


At 6 in the evening, a written quiz for the participating children was organised.  About 400 children participated in the quiz. At the same time an important interaction session with the teachers and coordinator was organised in which Dr. V.B. Kamble, Er. Anuj Sinha, Smt. Ujjwala Tirkey, and Smt. Indu Puri participated. The basic objective of this discussion was to involve the VIPNET clubs in programmes relating to empowerment of women and issues relating to their health, sanitation and nutrition, etc.  Shri Nimish Kapoor also briefed the coordinators about the programme and activities, which could be undertaken by the clubs in the coming years as part of International Year of Biodiversity-2010.


15 January 2010

This was the day of the annular solar eclipse. All the participants gathered at 9.15 a.m. in the school campus. Necessary instructions were given and the precautions to be taken were told again.   Afterwards, volunteers guided the participants to the observation site.


            At the observation site, telescopes were arranged for projecting the image of Sun during the eclipse.  Small mirrors fixed to balls were distributed for projecting the image of Sun on screen for taking necessary observations and readings as part of the activity assigned to each child. The team leaders and volunteers were also provided with additional material for the activities. Regular announcements were made to instruct all about the first and the last contact and precautions to be observed during the entire period by Dr. Arvind Ranade.   Everyone watched the eclipse with the filters provided for the purpose. Scientists and volunteers assisted the children in conducting the activities during the eclipse. About 300 children submitted the reports of their findings to the organisers. The same are being analysed.


16 January 2010

The last day of the camp was devoted mainly to experience sharing and distribution of prizes and participation certificates. All the participants assembled at 10.00 a.m.  The first session began with a briefing about the International Year of Biodiversity. 


As was apparent from the feedback received, for majority of the participants the three-day camp was a unique experience. During the valedictory function, the winners of quiz competition were given prizes in the form of books and CDs of Vigyan Prasar. The children who put up the best 15 projects were also honoured and special gifts in form of VP’s publications, kits, and software were also given to them. 




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