Director of the Priyadarshini Planetarium in Thiruvananthapuram, Arul Gerald Prakash gave a few lessons to the audience on the basics of telescope and the different types used for space observation

It might just be “two pieces of glass” but it shows a different world that could arouse one’s curiosity. No wonder, the speaker wished to speak on Telescopes to the young and the old who had gathered to know all about astronomy.

And giving them expert advice at a seminar organised by the Systems Society of India, Thiruvananthapuram Chapter at the Priyadarshini Planetarium on Saturday was none other than Director of the Planetarium Arul Gerald Prakash.

Given a few lessons on the basics of telescope, Mr.Gerald explained to the audience about the science behind its working and the different types of telescopes that are used for space observation.

The audience were also curious to watch the demonstration session on the working of the different telescopes available at the Planetarium.They also had a chance to handle a telescope, which was made at the Planetarium during one of the Telescope making workshops.

But how does one spot a planet among the innumerable stars?

“That’s where technology has played its role. The Global Positioning System (GPS) with auto-tracking facilities will help you to track and all you have to do is to feed in some known names of stars. After that it is only a child’s play”, says Mr.Prakash

Priyadarshini Planetarium is the only place where a 14 inch CG Pro telescope, considered one among the largest telescopes in the State, is used for public viewing, he added. The CG Pro 1,400 mode telescope with German Equatorial Mount (a ‘T'-shaped mount on which the telescope is placed) is incorporated with Global Positioning System (GPS) with auto-tracking facilities. Thus unlike the older versions, the telescope is capable of auto-tracking the stars. Moon craters, rings of Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto can be tracked with greater clarity and efficiency with the telescope.

He also spoke on the basics of astrophotography (photographing astronomical objects and night sky) and the elements needed to take photographs of celestial bodies. According to him, the space world was now anxiously waiting for the launch of James Webb Space Telescope which will incorporate multi-mirror technology for astrophotography.

A presentation of various photographs of celestial bodies taken at the Planetarium during various celestial events was also shown as part of the seminar.