Astroparty & Lyrid Meteor Shower at Temghar Dam Campsite – An enriching evening

Author: Gauri Kshirsagar

Astronomy has long been a fascinating subject for both children and adults alike. With its vast and infinite nature, astronomy has always been a source of wonder and inspiration. It is also a subject that can be taught to children at a young age, sparking their curiosity and creativity. One way to do this is through children’s astronomy camps.

We had a fascinating night attending one such camp organised by the AXSX-Astronomy club called the ‘Astroparty & Lyrid Meteor Shower’ on 22nd April 2023. This camp was a great way for the kids to learn about the wonders of the universe in a fun and interactive way. The camp provided hands-on activities, group projects, and guided lessons that allowed the twins to explore the stars and planets with a sense of wonder and excitement.

As we live in the city the kids rarely see a clear dark sky with millions of stars. One of the interesting comments made by my daughter was ‘why is it so dark here?’ which made me realise the darkness of the night which was a norm few decades back is a rarity now-a-days.

We reached the camp at around 6pm. The organisers had duly shared the location with detailed notes on how to find the camp site. The campsite was nestled between the enormous Temghar Dam on one side and the beautiful flowing Mutha river on the other. We had ample time in the evening and the morning to soak in the beauty of the place. On a side note Temghar Dam is a large earthfill dam located in the Mulshi taluka of Pune district in Maharashtra, India. It is built across the Mutha River and serves as a major source of water for irrigation, hydropower generation, and drinking purposes.

We were greeted with hot tea and biscuits in the evening. The evening session started with the observation of the crescent moon, Venus, Mars and the Orion Constellation and details about the various types of telescopes. We were provided with interesting facts about the night sky and the session ended with an interesting power point presentation. The dinner included simple yet locally made vegetarian food which we relished. The night session started with a session on understanding Polar star concepts, more constellations and ended with observation of the Lyrid Meteorshower. The tents which were provided were comfortable and cosy. There was a campfire to keep us warm at night.

We started the morning with observing the beautiful Saturn with its rings and the sun with its solar spots. We had a nice breakfast and hot tea and headed back home.

One of the main benefits of this camp was that it was an opportunity for kids to learn in a fun and engaging environment. Rather than sitting in a classroom and listening to lectures, children were able to participate in activities that encouraged them to think creatively and learn through exploration. It also provided a sense of community for the kids, as it was their first outdoor camp. They were able to connect with others who shared their interest in astronomy.

Overall, children’s astronomy camps provide a unique opportunity for kids to explore the wonders of the universe in a fun and engaging way. By promoting creativity, community, and a love of science, these camps can help children develop a deeper understanding of the world around them. With the right guidance and support, who knows what amazing discoveries these young minds will make in the future!

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