TARA- Fergusson College Node

Fergusson College has been actively engaged in science popularization in Astronomy and Astrophysics for the past 18 years with simple and limited facilities. Recently, the Inter University Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics IUCAA, Pune has officially acknowledged us with a IUCAA Node for Astronomy and Astrophysics Development i.e. INAAD center for further popularization of the subject among undergraduates. The Physics Department also has Astronomy and Astrophysics as an elective subject at Undergraduate and Post graduate level. Presently we are involved in setting up an observatory as we already have a 9.25 inch Celestron with go to facility. We have procured grants for purchase of Photometer, CCD and a Solar Telescope. The Cork Institute of Technology, Ireland, recently visited the college for possibilities of a collaborative project in setting up a Robotic Telescope using the existing facility. They have a robotic telescope operating at Cork and California, US which are linked. The TARA Fergusson College node will thus allow students to carry out projects and research in various disciplines using the setup for remote observations. The node would also let students and teachers use this telescope for live observing sessions as well as scheduled observations. Further, the difference in time zones between USA, Ireland, India is also ideal for day time astronomy ““ Solar studies. An integral part of the project will also be the implementation of a public outreach scheme to allow schools and other colleges to utilize the robotic telescope system as a learning and inspirational tool. Students will learn remote observation techniques and carry out remote observations. The TARA node will provide a unique opportunity for college students, in India, Ireland and USA to perform observations, manually as well as remotely and to stimulate interest in Physics, Electronics&Astronomy/Astrophysics.http://www.bco.ie/tara/the-story-of-tara/