New Event: The Earth and the Sky International Workshop in India

An International workshop on “The Earth and the Sky, Astrophotography and Image Processing” will be hold during 2008 Ocotber 3 – 6 in Delhi, by Nehru Planetarium, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi. TWAN and Astronomers Without Borders are the main international organizing partners of this event. The workshop is the first major TWAN event in connection with International Year of Astronomy 2009, an initiative by UNESCO and International Astronomical Union (IAU).

Astrophotography and image processing have become much more accessible to a non professional than they had been, a decade ago. Many amateur astronomers in India have developed skills through self learning – for either imaging celestial objects through their own telescopes and imaging equipment – or for developing software for astronomical observing or processing of images. The workshop plans to give a direction to these skills both to create better images and to produce science-value data. Another potential of the educational program is possibility of collaboration between participants and guests (amateur and professional astronomers, university students, and educators) who will attend from all over the sub-continent India. A lot of useful work could be expected from such partnerships.

As a TWAN-involved event the workshop also attempts to look at a celebration of the science of the skies, with the Heritage of the land. TWAN-India activities would be a wonderful way of showcasing India’s monumental heritage, giving it a unique backdrop of the starry skies. It is not just the monumental heritage, that would be of interest to TWAN India – geographical and natural heritage as well as the multilayered cross cultural heritage of India would be a unique backdrop for the TWAN India photographs. On the other hand India has plenty of astronomical heritage – medieval as well as modern – and many observatories and institutions working at the front ends of astronomical research. These locations would make some uniquely interesting backdrops for the TWAN photographs. The workshop marks the beginning of TWAN India imaging missions. While few photographers from TWAN team will travel to India for the workshop and the first TWAN-India imaging mission, during the workshop, it is envisaged that some of the Indian astrophotographers would be identified who could contribute as guest contributors to the TWAN India project.

There will be several world-known Indian astronomers in the workshop as guests of honor. The invited speakers will be a combination of Indian astronomers and astrophotographers with TWAN and AWB representatives: Mike Simmons (USA), Stefan Seip (Germany), Gernot Meiser (Germany), Anthony Ayiomamitis (Greece), and Babak Tafreshi (Iran). A complete list of invited speakers is available at the workshop webpage.

Supported by Nehru planetarium in New Delhi an exhibition of The World at Night photos will accompany the Earth and the Sky astrophotography workshop. The exhibition will continue for several weeks after the workshop for public viewing.

Funding for the workshop has been applied from the National Council of Science, Technology and Communication. Partial funding, science and technical support is also envisaged to be obtained through collaborations. A lot of background support has been already provided for the framing of the workshop, through interaction with astronomers of the Indian Institute of Astrophysics. Other potential collaboration would come from Inter University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCCA), Delhi University, Arya Bhata Institute for Observational Sciences and Pt. Ravi Shankar Shukla University. The workshop will be also enriched through collaboration with three voluntary organizations involved in amateur astronomy and astronomy education: Science Popularization Association of Communicators and Educators (SPACE), Amateur Astronomers Association of Delhi, Confederation of Indian Amateur Astronomers (CIAA).

For more information please visit the workshop webpage.


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