A Stellar Show at Nitrutsav
Sayed Munib Ahamad | Feb 04, 2019
Nitrutsav attendees were in for a delight as Astro-NITR, the designated astronomy club of NIT Rourkela hosted 'Stellar Night', as part of Nitrutsav 2019, at the rooftop of the department of Chemical Engineering and Food Processing. Initially scheduled to start at 10 pm, the club members had reached the chemical department's rooftop by 9 pm to prepare everything for the night-long event. Celestron XLT— an automated telescope for viewing different celestial objects present in the night sky was made available by the Astro-NITR team. In addition to the above, a manual telescope had also been set up and was regularly demonstrated to the people so that even they can try their hand at trying to focus and view all by themselves.
There was also a Virtual Reality [VR] zone where people were shown videos related to the field of astronomy using two VR boxes. At commencement, none of the planets or moon was above the horizon. But eventually, they became observable through the setups and more than three hundred and sixty-three  people showed for the event. However, during the late midnight hours-around 1:30-3:30, the number of people on the roof decreased, which wasn’t unexpected considering the scope and context of the event.
The oncoming participants were able to see Orion Nebula, Sirius, Betelgeuse, Christmas tree nebulae, Ghost of Jupiter, Sacs, Leo54, Caster, Arcturus. Late into the night, in the midst of darkness, at about 3 AM, Jupiter came above the horizon followed by Venus— the brightest object in the morning sky— a sight to behold. Although they couldn't stay long enough to watch the moon rise due to cold weather, the event had an overwhelmingly positive response and the whole affair was wrapped up by five in the morning.