Historic observatory comes in handy again

Staff Reporter

A lecture tour has been organised to show young enthusiasts the Spring Equinox

NEW DELHI: Jantar Mantar, the pale pink ancient observatory in the heart of the Capital, will become "useful" again. Introducing amateur astronomers to its finer points this Tuesday, the Nehru Planetarium has organised a lecture tour at the monument to show young enthusiasts the Spring Equinox.

A chance to understand the Spring Equinox in not just textbook term, the lecture will give them an idea about the mathematics behind this phenomenon. Giving students the idea of the "zero" angle, the lecture tour has been organised in collaboration with the Archaeological Survey of India, the Amateur Astronomers Association and Apeejay Park Group of Hotels.

Not the first time that the Nehru Planetarium has decided to use Jantar Mantar to explain the mystic working of the sun, this is an attempt to bring alive the historic observatory where each "yantra" is built to measure the movement of the sun.

Apart from introducing young children to science, such lectures also give students an opportunity to learn more about historical monuments. Making them realise the genius of observatories like Jantar Mantar that were built before the advent of modern technology, the idea is to get them to understand how these huge strangely shaped buildings work.

These lecture tours have got students familiar with instruments like "Misra Yantra'' -- that can be used to calculate the angle of the sun from the equator, also known as the declination.

Measured through the marble circles carefully engraved with angular divisions, known as the Niyat Chakra, this instrument is used to measure the declination of the sun. And the lecture tour on Tuesday will give students and enthusiasts a chance to "see" the movement in all its glory.