About 60 kilometres from Bangalore, in the town of Denkanikottai, Anish Kumar conducts 20-hour astronomy workshops with the aim of getting people to be interested in the night skies.
A self-taught astronomist, Kumar, 38, founded his company—Risa Astronomy—only three years ago, but has been conducting outreach programs, astronomy tours, and introductory astronomy courses for schools, private groups and corporate groups, for ten years now.
Four years ago, he came up the idea to conduct a 20-hour workshop.
“We tell you about the planets and the stars, and bring you high-quality telescopes to identify those. These telescopes are not easily accessible; the experience of viewing the night sky and observing different constellations is truly unique,” he says. Kumar adds that these workshops mostly start after lunch on Saturdays, and end after breakfast on Sundays.
“We don’t just focus on astronomy. The program is punctuated with other interesting activities such as trekking, nature walks and camping,” says Kumar.
When we asked him about how these short workshops help, Kumar was quick to state that they educate the attendees plenty and more about the subject, giving them both theoretical and practical knowledge that they can use in their daily lives. Click here to sign up for the workshop.
“People are usually very intimidated by the subject. This is where we come in. We simplify it for them. And help them develop an interest in it.”
For example, although the constellations we see during summer-time and winter-time are different, Kumar will teach how to identify them regardless of seasons. Once he teaches you to study the night sky, you can use that knowledge irrespective of where you are and what time of the year it is.
One of the highlights of the workshop is a segment called solar astronomy where they show the sun in a whole new dimension using a specialized solar telescope.
Apart from reaching Denkanikottai on your own, everything else will be covered under the fees of the workshop. “You only have to reach the venue, and from thereon, you won’t have to pay anything extra. From all your meals, accommodation to essentials for the workshop and other activities—everything will be provided,” he adds.
If this workshop piques your interest further in the subject, Kumar says there’s an in-depth classroom workshop that he conducts every monsoon. He recommends it to people who want to take their knowledge to an advanced level. Also, he promises it’s a fun activity for everyone. “We’ve had young children from the age of 5 to people the age of 80 come in for it. We encourage one and all to sign up for a crash course in astronomy.” Click here to sign up for the workshop.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)