Humans have always been fascinated by the beauty and vastness of the Universe. They kept observing changes in the sky and made regular updates on understanding of the Cosmos. Of many significant discoveries and inventions, the Hubble Space Telescope has been one of the most instrumental, in terms of the revelations it has produced on previously unsuspected aspects of the Universe.
“The Hubble”, a relatively small telescope by terrestrial standards, was launched 25 years ago, on April 24, 1990, and has provided more than one million observations encoded in more than 200 terabytes of data that have resulted in the production of a 15,000 scientific publications.
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of this magnificent science instrument, Amrita Astronomy Club organized a workshop and star party, HubbleFest2015, on April 18th. The overall program extending for a 22 hour stretch started at 9 a.m. on April 18th, ended at 6 a.m. on April 19th. There were invited talks on Astronomy by eminent men from outside the campus, observation of the sky during sunset at the beach, video presentations by our own astronomy club students, fun events and the memorable sky watch. Dr. Anand Narayanan [IIST, Thiruvananthapuram] gave a talk on ‘25 Years & Counting- The Hubble Space Telescope Saga’ and Mr. Amar Sharma, Nikaya Observatory, Bangalore, gave two talks on the topics ‘Visual Deep Sky Observation’ and ‘Introduction to CCD Imaging’.
For the first time on our campus, a full night SKY WATCH was organized. The participants were delighted to watch different constellations including Orion, Scorpion and Ursa Major, and also the planet Venus and Saturn and its rings. In addition, they were fortunate enough to spot the Arm of Milky Way, Albireo double star system, M7 open cluster, M22 globular cluster, M57 ring nebula , Omega centauri globular cluster, and NGC6231 [also known as Northern Jewel Box-a Open Cluster] using the Club owned 8” Dobsonian Telescope. Additionally, 'Sigma Leonids shower' charmed the viewers with three meteors. The event was hugely successful, as it educated participants on different fascinating aspects of Universe, as well as kept them excited and inspired for many hours.