University Students Organize Astro-themed Events to Establish Scientific Culture

AstraX Astro-themed Events for Scientific Culture

Space Technology and Astronomy Cell (STAC) at IIT Mandi, India organized a number of astro-themed events to establish a scientific culture in the nearby schools, universities, and communities.

They conducted a number of online competitions, talks, workshops and more, from a workshop on RGB image analysis of Galaxies, a computational astrophysics hackathon, to a blog writing contest and astrophotography contest. STAC also issued a call for student groups to conduct a study on light pollution in the Himalayas. The presentations were judged by IAU members, Djana Bjelajac, Rayan Khan and Hannah Dalgleish.

In May 2021, the team organized their flagship event, AstraX with the participation of 737 students of India (7x times the number from the previous year). Keynote talks were given by Dr Bala Iyer, principal lead in LIGO-India and visiting professor at TIFR, Dr Laura Hayes, a researcher at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) and NASA Frontier Development Lab, Dr Somak Raychaudhary, Director of the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics, and Dorje Angchuk, an engineer at Hanle Observatory and a popular astrophotographer.

Once the COVID travel restrictions are eased, the team hopes to visit some of the nearby villages and schools as well as complete a balloon satellite project.