Illuminating Minds: Open Space Foundation's Telescope Construction Workshop at Indra Gandhi Government Higher Secondary School, Pondicherry

Namma Telescope Sep 7, 2023

31 August 2023

In its relentless commitment to fostering scientific curiosity and exploration, Open Space Foundation organized an enriching telescope construction workshop at Indra Gandhi Government Higher Secondary School in Pondicherry. This transformative event witnessed the enthusiastic participation of over 50 students, who not only benefited from the experience but also embarked on a journey to discover the wonders of the universe. As we recount this event, we take great pride in sharing the impactful moments that unfolded during this workshop.

Astronomical Beginnings: Introduction to Telescopes and Astronomy

The workshop commenced with an engaging introduction to the world of telescopes and the captivating realm of astronomy. Students were transported into the vast cosmos as they learned about the powerful tool that is the telescope. This initial session set the stage for a day filled with exploration and hands-on learning.

A Divide for Discovery: Building and Exploring

To ensure a comprehensive understanding, the students were divided into two groups at the start of the workshop. The first group embarked on constructing their own telescopes, delving into the mechanics of this fascinating instrument, while the second group immersed themselves in learning how to operate and handle telescopes.

After the afternoon break, the groups swapped activities, ensuring that each student had the opportunity to experience both sides of this enriching workshop. This approach allowed us to engage with every student, promoting an inclusive and interactive learning environment.

Telescope Construction: A Journey of Discovery

In the telescope construction segment, students and our team had a delightful time using hardware tools and experimenting with lenses to determine the focal length of the objective lens and eyepiece. They explored the properties of light by reflecting sunlight with the diagonal and observing the angles of reflection. This hands-on experience not only imparted technical knowledge but also ignited their curiosity and creativity.

Exploring the Universe Virtually: The Stellarium Experience

Meanwhile, the second group of students eagerly immersed themselves in the Stellarium web app introduced to them earlier in the day. Using a smart board, we transformed their classroom into a virtual planetarium by dimming the lights. Here, they learned how to navigate star gazing apps and grasped the basics of observational astronomy. With a world of celestial wonders at their fingertips, the students eagerly explored the night sky, their faces adorned with expressions of wonder and awe.

Afternoon Adventures: Observing and Competing

As the afternoon sun bathed the surroundings of the school in warm light, the construction team playfully experimented with the tripod and telescope, observing objects in the school's vicinity. Simultaneously, the second group engaged in Open Space Foundation's space quiz, engaging in spirited competition with their fellow classmates.

Culmination and Reflection: Gazing into the Universe

In the valedictory function, all the students had the opportunity to look through the telescopes they had collectively constructed. The breathtaking views left them in sheer amazement and wonder. Their feedback during this session deeply touched our hearts. They eloquently described how the telescope construction workshop had expanded their understanding of our place in the universe and how to unravel its mysteries.

It was with a tinge of sadness that we learned that this was the first time many of them had ever laid eyes on a telescope. Yet, this revelation further fueled our determination. We are committed to ensuring that this won't be their last encounter with the cosmos. The Open Space Foundation will soon extend its reach to schools across our nation, enabling every student to access the boundless realms of knowledge, create, explore, and innovate.

In closing, this workshop was a testament to the power of education and the boundless curiosity of young minds. We look forward to continuing our mission of fostering scientific curiosity and opening up new horizons for the students of our nation. Together, we shall create a brighter future and inspire generations to reach for the stars, knowing that the universe is theirs to explore.