An introduction to Astronomy, Enviro Trips, Field training, IB Students field projects

Astronomy: Our solar system & beyond – an inspiring study module.

Exploring the universe through Radio Astronomy
An inspiring & challenging  
Field Study module in Nilgiris

Our students outside the Radio Telescope at Ooty

One Earth Foundation organized an astronomy focused study module for an enthusiastic group of students from Bangalore.  Our group of 25 high school students were excited and eager to learn the basics of observational astronomy and to the field trip to The Radio Astronomy Centre that was to follow.     The study module started off with an exciting quiz where the group was divided into 2 teams which competed with each other.  The objective was to gauge the level of knowledge in the group and we were pleased to learn that many students had an exceptionally good understanding of basic principles of astronomy.  This was followed by a presentation made by Raminder Chowdhary covering the following interesting topics: 

Electron Study are

  1. Our Solar System and beyond
  2. The Milky Way and the Universe
  3. Units for measuring distances  in space
  4. Parallax method of measuring distances to stars
  5. The constellations and our Zodiac
  6. The electromagnetic spectrum and observational astronomy
  7. Radio Astronomy

The introductory module prepared the students well for the field trip to the Radio Astronomy Centre outside Ooty.  Special permission was obtained by One Earth Foundation to visit this facility that was set up in 1970 and is under the administration of The Tata Institute of Fundamental Research.

Upon entering the gate, our vehicle passed through a field of funnel like structures which was an electron study site. (see image on right).  We were greeted by Mr Sudhakar who was a research fellow at the TIFR.  We spent over an hour with him at the site of the radio telescope and questions from our students were never ending.  Yes, we did ask about extra-terrestrial life!!

Some interesting facts about The RAC:

  • The telescope is about 535 Mtrs long
  • It is motorized and can be swiveled around 140 degrees
  • This capability to move the entire telescope means that it has the ability to study any particular area of the universe for over 9 hours
  • The entire length of the telescope is on a hillside with 11 degrees gradient – the same as the latitude of the area
  • The RAC has been instrumental in studying many deep sky objects like Quasars and Pulsars.

Mr. Sudhakar (Research Fellow) from TIFR explains the functioning of the Radio Telescope

The imposing structure of RAC (Ooty)

Another view of the RAC


The Electron Study area at RAC

One Earth Foundation works towards the conservation and preservation of the immense natural and cultural wealth of the Nilgiris region in South India.  For additional information about our inspiring and challenging field trips for students, please contact

Raminder Chowdhary

Leave a Reply