By: Chetna Krishna
Picture of the night sky by Sarthak Chadha
“Oh, that’s sad,” Penny replied.
“It is. But once a year, on the seventh day of the seventh month, Vega cries so hard that all the magpies in the world fly up and create a bridge with their wings so the two lovers can be together for a single night of passion,” told an astrophysicist to his love.
It was the popular American sitcom The Big Bang Theory that showed us that astronomy can be romantic, indeed. It’s now time for Hochschule Rhein Waal (HSRW) Astronomy Club to recreate the same magic.
HSRW Astronomy Club hopes to bring students from different faculties together every Friday night to learn and contribute to the vast field of astronomy.
At club meetings, students understand how to identify stellar objects in space like Venus and Jupiter, which can be seen by the naked eye using coordinate systems and geometry.
“Astronomy forces me to think not only outside the box, but also outside the Earth,” said Ahmed Taha, a Science Communication and Bionics student. “It helps me to meet my curiosity about this mysterious universe.”
It all started as an initiative by Professor Alexander Struck and a few students who love outer space. With the Astronomy club, students learn how scientists study celestial phenomena and interpret findings through fields such as astrostatistics, astrophysics, astrochemistry or even astrobiology. Student talks and presentations are an integral part of the club.
The club has started constructing a radio telescope and conducting small events like evening walks in the forest to learn more about stars and other celestial bodies in the sky.
Joining the Friday night meetings is a golden opportunity for students who are interested in astrophotography to learn with other trained students. It also provides a safe place for students from all over the world to learn about space.
“I love stargazing,” said Asma Mekhnache, a Bioengineering student. “Sadly, in my home country I was not allowed to keep a telescope at home because the government would consider it as a potential dangerous weapons. I am so glad I can pursue my passion for astronomy again.”
This May, the club started to host weekly meetups. Students can find the updates in the Moodle course called Astronomy. Also, students are free to join its Facebook group, HSRW Astronomy Group.
If you have ever looked at the sky and wondered what holds beyond it, the Astronomy Club finally has something for you every Friday, 6–8 pm in Building 06 01 08.