For many people who witnessed the Venus transit on Wednesday, the rarity of the event was sufficient to hold their interest and assure their participation. For 16-year-old Arun Karthikeyan, however, it held special significance as the phenomenon marked his debut in practical astronomy.
He arrived on Elliot's beach early in the morning, with his mother, and proceeded to set up and steady his new telescope. Assisted by a few other enthusiasts, he got busy jotting down observations despite the hubbub behind him.
A class XI student of DAV Matriculation in Mogappair, Arun has decided to pursue a career in astrophysics. “In class III, I was asked to spell out ‘astrophysics' by my class teacher. That's how my interest in the subject began,” he says.
Growing up, while he was satisfied with visits to the planetarium, his parents bought him an optical telescope after class X. His mother, Velnedunganni, said, “I don't know what the future is like in astrophysics, but because his interest has sustained itself for the past 8 years, I want to encourage it.”
After the Venus transit, he plans to continue tracking other astronomical phenomena and map the sky.