Yesterday I had the opportunity to interact with students of Chandrakanthi Public School on Astronomy and Indian Sciences. The workshop was a journey through our awesome galaxy and beyond. The sky has always fascinated me with the thousands of stars sprinkled all around. On one level the stellar arrangement looks completely random but on another level one can notice clear cut patterns as one moves from one constellation to another. With modern software tools like Stellarium and Google Sky Map, star watching becomes all the more intriguing. In the workshop, we travelled through the various constellations of stars, the path of the moon, the path of the sun, the mysteries of eclipses.
In many of my sessions, students ask me about astrology and astronomy. To make it more relevant to youth of today, I help them chart the horoscope of a person born at that moment, using Google sky map. It creates a certain “wow” because they understand that a horoscope is not an archaic irrelevant document but something realtime. A horoscope is a precise recording of time and place of birth. If we have to narrate an incident to someone and give the exact details, how would we do that? We would say that the incident happened in a specific place, at a specific time of the day and we would also probably describe the objects and people in the environment. The limitation with such a reference is that we are referring to transient things which are not valid after a certain point in time. Suppose you said “I met my friend on Sunday at 4.00pm near the red maruti car on 1st street”. If we were to record this statement in history, we may have to give details which make this valid even after many number of years. Hence horoscope depict celestial phenomena that repeat periodically and hold true for many number of years. It is a fantastic map that is recorded to a great level of precision based on repeating patterns of stellar arrangement. Broadly speaking, a horoscope details the position of the moon, sun and various planets with respect to the various constellations (many more minute details are also available. We shall skip those for brevity).
Through these workshops, we not only look at the charting of the horoscope but also discuss how the various celestial bodies impact us. The program is an opportunity to understand the great work of our Rishis who have mapped the sky thousands of years ago (I woudn’t say “without sophisticated technology”..as they had much more sophisticated technology than we probably know) how the microcosm and macrocosm are closely intertwined.
A Video of my online talk on Indian Astronomy is below