IIT Kanpur students build a real life Planetarium!The powers of ideas and the strength of visions is so great that it can push a man achieve unimaginable things! The very same thing happened in Kanpur when a bunch if IIT students developed and in house observatory! So what motivated them? Here is what Akshat Singhal from the team had to say- “In an industrial city like Kanpur, it is very difficult to get a clear sky for star gazing. Bad weather like fog, haze clouds, monsoon, etc makes it more difficult to study the night sky. Thus, after many frustrating nights of observing, we decided to build our own sky! The initial idea was to make a virtual sky in a dark room using pinhole projection method, but soon we realized that it won’t be good enough. Hence, we refined our idea and slowly it took the shape of a planetarium.”

Thus the students of Indian Institute of Technology-Kanpur, assembled an observatory for astronomical research (OAAR). This is the first such facility in an educational institute in the country. This observatory will be inaugurated by IIT-K director Indranil Manna on Sunday. Different parts like telescope and other parts have been imported from US.

The observatory is in the form of a dome. It had been established close to the airstrip of the institute. This fully automated 10 feet state- of- the- art computerized telescope, would help the students and the space enthusiasts to see the stars, galaxies, and other celestial bodies.

Akshat Singhal also furnished further details like the observatory consists of equipment, which includes a Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope with a 14-inch primary mirror and motorized tracking, also a CCD (charged couple camera) camera for imaging, has been housed in a fully automated remotely controlled dome.

It will be useful for observing, imaging, and analyzing stars and other celestial bodies, for studying astronomical events such as occultations and supernovae, for tracking solar system objects, for monitoring variable stars  and for extracting information related to their position, spectrum, brightness, composition and speed and much more, said Akshat.

They received the dome and the telescope in parts on June 1, and in 10 days they managed to assemble them. Now the equipment is ready for use. The students of the astronomy club themselves assembled the dome and the telescope.

This dome can rotate on a 360 degree angle. Even the telescope can also be pointed out in any direction.

The observatory is fully computerized and those provided with a username and a password will be able to have access to the telescope from anywhere in the world and use the data collected by it. By using the Local Area Network (LAN) if the telescope and the dome will be connected, then the telescope can be used by the person while sitting at any place in the world.

The students pointed out that Pankaj Jain of physics department, and dean of student affair AK Ghosh guided them in the project.

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