Star gazing is common for astronomers, but this time, their attention was caught by two ‘young stars’, at the 38th meeting of the Astronomical Society of India (ASI) that is currently under way at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) campus in Tirupati.
Vidyasagar Daud, a VIII standard student from Pune who shot to limelight for naming an Exoplanet as ‘Santamasa’ under a global competition ‘NameExoWorlds’, is the youngest delegate at the meet. The naming event was conducted last July to commemorate the centenary of International Astronomical Union (IAU), when young science aspirants were encouraged to suggest names for new celestial bodies.
Vidyasagar, a student of Sanskrit, named the exoplanet as ‘Santamasa’, which in Sanskrit roughly means ‘dark and cloudy’, which resembles the space. Similarly, Ananyo Bhattacharya, pursuing mechanical engineering in Surat, named a parent star as ‘Bibha’, which means a beam of light. ASI chose the two as official entries.
Beaming with pride on being felicitated, the duo called it an unforgettable moment.
“I thought of something close to darkness and then struck Santamasa,” Daud told The Hindu. Mr. Bhattacharya said Bibha is also an ode to the country’s first woman researcher Bibha Chowdhuri.
A sizeable chunk of the delegates are young. 53% of the 322 delegates are students and 23% are post-doctoral fellows and researchers.
According to ASI president G.C. Anupama, the country’s largest gathering would discuss the most happening areas of astronomy. Secretary Divya Oberai said the morning sessions are allotted for scientific deliberations and the afternoon for discussing the progress achieved by the participants in their respective areas.
A total of 113 of the 322 delegates are female participants, according to ASI’s Working Group on Gender Equity (WGGE) member Harvinder Kaur.
An extended four-day Teachers Training Camp from February 18 will provide exposure to teachers in astronomy, which is organised by ASI’s Public Outreach Education Committee (POEC), said its nominee Preeti Kharb.