Radha Gobinda Chandra lived a humble life with his grandparents in Jessore district’s Bagchar village (future East Pakistan).
His favourite escape was the books piled high up to the ceiling in his uncle’s home library.
The rest of the time he would spend learning astronomy from his grandmother Sarada Sundari Dhar, who was an expert in identifying constellations.
So in 1910, when the news spread that Halley’s comet was to make its appearance, no one was as excited as the 32-year-old Chandra.
Chandra was working as a coin tester in the Government Treasury of Jessore at the time, where he was paid a salary of Rs 15 a month.
Intent on knowing the exact time and location of the sought-after comet, Chandra contacted Jagadananda Roy, a science teacher at the Santiniketan school.
With this new information on the comet, Chandra made his way to the designated spot at the designated time.
He was one of the first in Bengal to spot the comet on 24 April 1910, and what’s more, all he had to aid him were his trusted binoculars.
In April 1912, Chandra made an advanced payment to the Bernard & Co. of England for a 3-inch refracting telescope, which cost him Rs 160, and an additional Rs 100 to replace the cardboard tube of the telescope with brass.
Chandra spent years with this newfound prized possession of his. The skies were the limit!
He was also credited for the finding of the Nova Aquila-3, a bright star that hadn’t found its way to the Star Map yet.
The American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO) were so taken up with his work that they gave him a 6.25-inch reflector telescope.
Chandra decided to donate the previous purchase to a school in Calcutta to fuel the zeal for astronomy in young minds, just as had been in his case.
In the course of his lifetime, Chandra made a total of 49,700 stellar observations up to 1954, when he finally retired.