Friday, June 22, 2012

AtroFest on ToV2012-Nepal, June 4-6, 2012

Nepal Astronomical Society (NASO) in association with Nepal Academy of Science & Technology (NAST), Russian Center of Science & Culture ( RCSC), Astrophysics and Cosmology Research Group Nepal ( ACRG-Nepal) -Tribhuvan University ( TU) and ESPRO Foundation, organized three days Astronomy Festival with different programs in Nepal during June 4-6 , 2012 to celebrate the last Transit of Venus of Twenty-first Century. The next Transit of Venus will occur after 105 years in December 2117. NASO extended its supports to Pokhara Astronomical Society (PAS) in Kaski, Damak Astronomy Club in Jhapa and Nepal Astronomy and Space Science Association (NASSA) in Chitwan creating more opportunity for the Nepalese to witness this rare celestial event from Nepal.

GTTP Session:
Galileo Teacher Training Program (GTTP) workshop on Transit of Venus was organized from 11:30 am to 2:00 pm. This special session of AstroFest on ToV2012-Nepal was organized in order to increase the opportunity for the public by giving hands-on activities/experience on safe solar viewing techniques to the students of 7 schools selected schools from Kathmandu Valley.

Mr. Prabodh Rijal, president- ESPRO Foundation welcomed all the participants school on behalf of organizers. Mr. Sudeep Neupane, Vice-president-NASO, (Global Hands on Universe) GHOU-Nepal Chapter chair and GTTP co-ordinator-Nepal introduced about the workshop and importance for implementing science in our daily life. After the introduction, the groups were provided the workshop materials and ask to build the Pinhole Cameras and estimate the diameter of the sun with the help of provided hands-out. They were also trained to build the Mirror Ball Projector by using simple mirror, plastic cricket ball, Plastic glass and super-glue. The result was excellent from the students which were tested on the spot by the volunteers and NASO executives on the fields with the supervision of school teachers who were accompanying their students for such projects. Associate professors Dr. Binil Aryal and Dr. Raju Khanal from Tribhuvan University observed the students engagements and were praising their works with them.

The workshop was concluded by the screening of Russian documentary on First woman in space: Valentina Tereskova. This approximately 30 minute long documentary remained a catalytic show to motivate participant students to study space science and astronomy.

Public Talk Sessions:
On Monday, June 4, public talk on ToV was organized as after the opening ceremony of AstroFest on ToV2012 Nepal, June 4-6, 2012 at Russian Center of Science and Culture, Kamaladi, Kamalpokhari, Kathmandu. Ms. Kamana Dixit welcomed the participants and speaker to the festival on behalf of RCSC and other organizers. She also highlighted on the Russian Contribution to the development of space science and astronomy in the world. She explained the center has been organizing various events on astronomy and space science in Nepal as a joint program with Nepal Astronomical Society since 2007. The program was addressed by Mr. Sudeep Neupane, vice president-NASO with an introduction to the AstroFest on ToV2012-Nepal. The sort opening ceremony was followed by the detailed talk on ToV by Associate Prof. Dr. Binil Aryal, Chair-ACRG-Nepal. The interactions after the public talk remained interesting as there were different questions ranging from whether the world will end in 2012 to who Transit is important. The event was at Theater of Russian Center between 2:30 pm to 4 pm. Mr. Prabodh Rijal, President-ESPRO Foundation expressed the vote of thanks to the invited speaker and the participants. The session was hosted by Mr. Suresh Bhattarai, secretary-NASO.

On Tueday, June 5, a public talk by Associate Prof. Dr. Raju Khanal, Department of Physics-Tribhuvan University (TU) at conference hall during 11:15 am to 1:00 pm. Dr. Rishi Shah gave special appearance and best wishes for the festival from Washington DC, USA through skype. Dr. Chiranjivi Regmi, Chief- Planning and Evaluation Division at NAST welcomed the participants and highlighted the importance of such talk programs for the greater awareness among the public. The impressive talk by Dr. Khanal helped to solve many questions of the participants and clear idea on ToV and observation next morning with all available resources around us. Mr. Prabodh Rijal, President-ESPRO Foundation expressed the vote of thanks to the invited speaker and the participants. The session was hosted by Mr. Suresh Bhattarai, secretary-NASO.

Special Screening of “Acquainted With the Night”:
A special screening of  79 minute length Gemini Award Winning documentary “Acquinted With the Nights” was scheduled on June 4 and 5 at RCSC from 4:30 pm for the first time in Nepal with the special permission to NASO from the Michael Macnamara, Director of the documentary.

“Acquainted With The Night” is a feature documentary that traces a journey through a night from sunset to sunrise.  The clock dictates the stories as they change, hour by hour, from 6pm to 6am.  Some stories are joined in progress; others begin in one hour, and resolve in another.

Acquainted With The Night presents inside stories of nighttime phenomena, customs and rituals from the perspective of scientists, biologists, laborers, truck-drivers, artists, cops and criminals - all whose work and lives are related to the night. The underlying themes explored are environmental, biological and sociological -- what really happens to a “city that never sleeps”?  What are the effects of light pollution, on the natural world, on human behavior and health, and on the future of the planet?  What thrills us and what frightens us about the world after dark?  As the answers unfold with stories in Greece, France, Morocco, Nepal, USA, Canada and Mexico, we become intimately "Acquainted With the Night." “Acquainted With The Night” is inspired by the award-winning book of the same title by Christopher Dewdney.  The film was written and directed by Michael McNamara and produced by Judy Holm.

Observation Programs in Kathmandu Valley:
An observation program was scheduled at NAST premises and co-ordinated at different places of Kathmandu Valley as well as outside at Damak, Chitwan and Pokhara to have better opportunities for the public to observe his rare celestial event from their nearest places.

The observation program scheduled at NAST was shifted to Eureka High School on the evening of Tuesday, June 5 due to some unavoidable circumstances. With this last minute shift of the venue, NASO could not do the live streaming of ToV on its USTREAM Channel. The Observation program was held at 5:30 am to 11:00 am where more than 1,000 people including school students and public. NASO set its two telescopes with the proper filtering at the observation site. Besides, around 100 solar Eclipse glasses were used by the organizers to show the Transit among the public. Nearby schools joined with their students for the observation where NASO executive and volunteers explained them about the Sun, Venus, transit and importance of Venus Transit.  The seven participant schools of the workshop conducted observation programs at their schools inside Kathmandu Valley providing this unique opportunity to more than 1,500 people. Besides these schools, NASO also helped to organize small observation programs in Kathmandu Valley providing Eclipse Glasses to some schools and Youth Clubs.

Observations outside Kathmandu Valley

Damak Multiple Campus, Damak, Jhapa:
Damak Astronomy Club in association with Department of Physics, Damak Multiple Campus and with support of NASO organized an observation program at Campus ground.  More than 50 participants enjoyed the Venus Transit from Solar Eclipse Glasses. The participants were very happy to have this rare opportunity and thanked the organizers.

Prithivi Narayan Multiple campus, Pokhara, Kaski:
Pokhara Astronomical Soceity (PAS) in association with Creative Science Association and technical support from NASO organized an observation program at Prithivi Narayan Multiple Campus, Pokhara. The program was accompanying with the presentations on ToV in the Campus Hall in order to explain the importance of ToV, safe observation and importance of astronomy for the development of our society. More than 500 people observed this rare celestial drama from Pokhara for the first time in Nepal with such a grand celebration. This program motivated students from Pokhara for their career in astronomy.

Amora College, Bharatpur, Chitwan:
Aroma College of Applied Science and Management in association with Nepal Astronomy and Space Science Association in support of NASO organized an observation program at the Campus ground. Prior to the observation day, on June 5, they organized a half day workshop on ToV where 58 participants attended including students and teachers from 13 different institutions around the region.  More than 400 observers at Aroma College enjoyed Venus transiting the Sun on June 6, 2012.  As per the NASSA, more than 1,300 people had an opportunity to watch this rare event through the observation programs organized at 13 different schools who took part in the workshop earlier day.

Organizers are very happy to reach more than 5, 000 people with this unique and rare opportunity to observe Venus Transit in Nepal.

NASO coordinated this astronomy festival for the first in the history in Nepal.

Photo 1: Mr. Prabodh Rijal, President-ESPRO Foundation delivering welcome speech at GTTP session on Monday, June 4, 2012 at Conference Hall of RCSC.

Photo 2: Mr. Sudeep Neupane, Vice-president-NASO, (Global Hands on Universe) GHOU-Nepal Chapter chair and GTTP co-ordinator-Nepal explaining the team of the GTTP workshop on Monday, June 4, 2012 at RCSC.
Photo 3: Teachers and students working on their project to built Mirror ball projector and Pin Hole Camera to Observe the Transit of Venus by projection method and calculate the diameter of the sun on during GTTP workshop.

Photo 4: Students of Eureka High School posing for the photo after successful completion their projects.

Photo 5: Students watching the documentary on “First Woman in Space: Valentina Tereshkova during GTTP Session

Photo 6: Inauguration of AstroFest on ToV2012-Nepal on Monday, June 4, 2012 at RCSC, Kathmandu.

Photo 7: Ms. Kamana Dixit delivering welcome speech on behalf of organizers at the AstroFest on ToV2012-Nepal on Monday, June 4, 2012 at RCSC, Nepal.

Photo 8: Mr. Sudeep Neupane, vice president-NASO introducing AstroFest on ToV2012-Nepal, June 4-6, 2012 to the participants on Monday, June 4, 2012 at RCSC, Kathmandu, Nepal

Photo 9: Mr. Suresh Bhattarai, secretary-NASO inviting the speaker associate prof. Dr. Binil Aryal, chair-ACRG-Nepal for his public talk on “Venus Transit and Few Unsolved Issues” on Monday, June 4, 2012 at RCSC, Kathmandu, Nepal

Photo 10: Associate prof. Dr. Binil Aryal, chair-ACRG-Nepal delivering his public talk on “Venus Transit and Few Unsolved Issues” on Monday, June 4, 2012 at RCSC, Kathmandu, Nepal

Photo 11: Associate Prof. Dr. Raju Khanal, explaining the participants of the public talk about the geomerty of our solar system and Venus Transit at NAST on Tuesday, June 5, 2012.

Photo 12: Mr. Sudeep Neupane, Vice president of NASO, during the television interview on Transit of Venus at NAST premises in the evening of  Tuesday , June 5, 2012

Photo 13: Mr. Suresh Bhattarai, secretary of NASO, guiding the students on Safe Observation of Venus Transit through PST ( Personal Solar Telescope) at Eureka High School on June 6, 2012.

Photo 14: Nirmal Nischal and Roshani Silwal, volunteers of the festival, guiding the students to look through the telescope on Transit day, June 6, 2012.
Photo 15: Members of Damak Astronomy Club and College officials posing for group photo during the observation program on June 6, 2012 at Damak Multiple Campus, Damak, Jhapa.

Photo 16: Observer reading the instruction on Solar Eclipse Glasses before looking at the Sun at Damak Campus on June 6, 2012.

Photo 17: Organizers posing for a group photo during the program on June 6, 2012 at Pokhara Multiple Campus, Pokhara for the observation of Venus Transit.

Photo 18: Mr. Jeevan Lamsal from PAS presenting a talk on ToV2012 on June 6, 2012 at Campus Building.

Photo 19: Mr. Sujan Regmi from PAS explaining the safe viewing of the Transit of Venus to one of the participant at the observation program on June 6, 2012 in Pokhara.

Photo 20: participants of the Workshop posing for the group photo at Aroma College, Chitwan, Nepal on June 5, 2012.

Media Coverage

Kalika FM 95.2 MHz, Chitwan, Nepal
The FM did live interview of Mr. Suresh Bhattarai, secretary-NASO at 7:00 am on Wednesday, June 6, 2012 from Eureka High School, Nepaltar, Balaju, Nepal. This 5 minute telephone interview contained information on what is Transit of Venus, Why it is important and about the safety precautions while observing such events.

Radio Sagarmatha, Lalitpur, Nepal:
The FM had live telephone interview of Mr. Sudeep Neupane on the Transit day from Eureka High School, Nepaltar, Balaju, Nepal. The FM which has coverage in around 17 districts around Kathmandu valley is listened more among intellectuals. The archived will be maintained as much as possible.

Ujyalo 90 FM , Kathmandu, Nepal (Ujyalo Ninety Network-UNN)
The FM official took telephone interview of Mr. Suresh Bhattarai, secretary-NASO to prepare a report which was broadcasted as prime news on Wednesday, June 6, 2012 during Nepalkhabar at 9:00 am. ( also 12:00 pm and 3:00 pm on the same day). The network has many partners FM which broadcast Nepalkhabar at the same time as in Kathmandu through satellite uplink. The network is the widest Network of FM in Nepal covering east to far west with such arrangements. This can be downloaded from

Avenues TV, Kathmandu, Nepal:
The TV reporters had the interviews of Prof. Dr. Prakash Chandra Adhikari, secretary-NAST and Mr. Sudeep Neupane, Vice-president-NASO in the evening on Tuesday June 5, 2012 at NAST while preparing for the Observation program next morning.  The news had been broadcasted from News@7 pm and continued till Wednesday, June 6, 2012 evening.  We will get the copy of the interview.

News24 Nepal, Kathmandu, Nepal:
On Transit day, June 6, 2012, Mr. Suresh Bhattarai had a live interview at Studio of News24 at 11:00 am-11:30 am to discuss about Transit of Venus. During the discussion, Mr. Bhattarai primarily focused on importance of Venus Transit and Safety precautions that should be taken during the observation of such events. We will get the copy of interview.

Kathmandu Post National English Daily:
This paper published the news on June 7, 2012 and clearly mentioned about the AstroFest on ToV2012 as per our press release issued on June 3, 2012. The news was published on second page under metro section. There was a Transit Photo taken from Swayambhu in the cover page taken by Sanjog Manandhar.

Nagarik National Nepali Daily:
This paper interviewed Suresh Bhattarai, secretary-NASO for the information. They were provided press releases and information on ToV on June 6, 2012. The news was published on page 4 under metro section in detail. The cover page included transit photo taken from Swayambhu by Nibesh Chitrakar of Reuters.

OnlineMedia Nepal, Kathmandu,Nepal:
The officials of Online Media Nepal had an interview of Mr. Suresh Bhatarai, secretary-NASO. The page could not be found at the moment due to maintenance.

Facebook & Twitter:
NASO has created its official Facebook and twitter & Mr. Gaurav Kandel, creator of View Your Choice (VYC), an International Project, volunteered for Live Tweet and FB updates during the festival. V

This document is released by Nepal Astronomical Society (NASO) on Friday, June 22, 2012 at Kathmandu, Nepal.