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Taking amateur astronomy a notch higher

Bangalore, May 16, 2012, DHNS: 1:21 IST
Astronomy is not everyone’s cup of tea. But for Akshay Kumar, a literally star-struck 17-year-old City college student, amateur astronomy has been a passion.

Driven by the passion, he chose to start a collective called Sheraton Astronomy Club.

The club had only 70 student members when it was started two years ago. Today, this collective promoting astronomy as a hobby and a potential career path, has over 600 members.

In fact, today Sheraton intends to make foray into schools and trigger interest in astronomy among students at a tender age.

To make pursuit of astronomy more meaningful, the Sheraton Club now holds regular career counselling sessions.

The Grand Star Party organised by the club in the City recently is a testimony to its successful journey. The event saw the participation of important persons in the field such as Dr GSD Babu, director of MP Birla Institute of Fundamental Research; Dr Sriraghavan, director of Brain Stars – Innovation in Education, Naveen Nanjundappa – vice president, Bangalore Astronomical Society and Sivashankara Sastry, astronomy educator, Kolar.
Night sky observation and astrophotography sessions were the highlights of the event.

“Astronomy is like an ocean. I want to share my interest in the subject with others and the club has provided the much-needed platform in the City,” said Akshay, a student of Jain College V V Puram.

Moreover, the club does not limit itself to holding events. It conducts outreach programmes in schools regularly and teaches astronomy for an hour for free, he said.

Another key component of the club is research in amateur astronomy. Members are also taken to Nikaya Observatory, near Hosur, to have hands-on experience. Now that the club has come this far, I want to popularise it on a large scale, added Akshay.

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