IYA2009-Sri Lanka-StarParty2009

2009 September
Sri Lanka Astronomical Association

Report 08-B IYA2009-Sri Lanka

Star Party 2009

Commenced in 2004, “Star Party” is an observational astronomy competition where students groups from different parts of Sri Lanka compete together. It’s organized by the astronomical societies of Ananda College, Colombo and Mahamaya Girls’ College, Kandy. Since then it has been held annually and has gain reputation as an Observation Competition and Astronomy Workshop over the years.

For the 6th consecutive time “Star Party 2009 - Rendezvous of Celestial Surveillance" concluded successfully 26th of September, giving an unforgettable celestial experience to students, teachers, amateur observers and organizers as well.

Star Party 2009 project was named as the main IYA2009-Sri Lanka event and had a massive participation with more than 50 groups competing with each other. One of the key highlighted facts was the first time ever, a live web streaming continued through out the program via the StarParty and SkyLK websites.

The program kicked off with delivering a message across the importance & significance of International Year of Astronomy 2009 and how proud the students are to continue the event for the 6th time.

Along with the competition, a workshop was held as well. The workshop focused on the beginner level students. It covered basics of observational astronomy and mainly ran as training for the beginners to be able to compete next year. About 100 students participated in the workshop along with teachers. The students were divided into 5 groups and was introduced the basics of all aspects of astronomy- observational, cosmology, stars, black holes and extraterrestrial to new technology. The participants were also given a chance to experience the beauty of Jupiter – the mighty object observed by Galileo 400 years ago. At the observing site, they were taken a rid across the night sky introducing many celestial objects and constellations. It was an unforgettable moment for most students as it was the first time they are experiencing the beauty of the Universe they have been living for so long.

While workshop was running, other side of the event site, many students groups was busy catching the glimpse of Jupiter, Moon, Constellations and other celestial objects.
The observation site – Kandy- is one of the nicest places to observe in Sri Lanka, it’s less polluted and with fresh air-to-breath in, treats you with countless stars.

The competition also included two paper based exams as well which covered topics – Solar Observation, general Astronomy, Astrophysics, Cosmology, and Rocketry. Everything concluded next day 26th morning with the distribution of the awards.

De Mazenod College, Kandana won the competition as Champions.
Sangamitta College, Galle became the runners-up.

Other awards.
Theoretical Round & Spot Test : Dharmaraja College, Kandy
Solar & Observational Astronomy : Royal College, Colombo
Constellation & Deep Sky Observation: Sangamitta College, Galle
Moon Mapping : De Mazenod College, Kandana
Planetary Observation : De Mazenod College, Kandana

This year event gathered an international attention thanks to support and dedication of few people. It was featured in Cosmic Diary, IYA2009, Cloudy Nights Telescopic Review, Portal to the Universe, Sidewalk Astronomers, and in many other web sites, forums and email listing.

Clearly Star Party has become the foremost biggest annual event among astronomy community in Sri Lanka. It is has influenced many student groups to go far as to study and sharpen there observation skills months before the competition. For many this is a competition, an event to experience the celestial beauty, but personally I find it as an event that gathers all the keen future possible astronomers and a place to meet old friends.

Thilina Heenatigala
National Node Secretary
IYA2009 – Sri Lanka

Contact Details

Mr. Thilina Heenatigala.
National Node Secretary
IYA2009-Sri Lanka

e. thilina.heenatigala@yahoo.com
m. (+94)–71-624-5545
w. http://thilinaheenatigala.blogspot.com
a. 27, Stalmaj H. S., Athurugiriya 10150, Sri Lanka.


Some unforgettable moments

Teachers at the opening ceremony.

Students at the opening ceremony.

Students at the paper based round.

Students at the spot test.

Students observing.

Students writing observation reports.

Students at the workshop.

At the closing ceremony, everyone awaits with anticipation.

The Champions of Star Party 2009 – De Mazenod College, Kandana.