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Site: Press Release for the Indo Italian Astronomy Fortnight

To celebrate the International Year of Astronomy and the Italian "Year of Galileo", an Indo Italian Astronomy Fortnight titled "From Galileo to Modern Frontiers" is being organised at Delhi from the 16th of November to the 1st of December 2009. The fortnight is being organised through the collaboration between the Italian Embassy, the Italian Cultural Center, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, Nehru Planetarium, University of Delhi, Vigyan Prasar (Department of Science and Technology), Fondazione Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia-Cineteca Nazionale, La Fenice Theatre (Venice), The Anad Foundation, the Science Popularisation Association of Communicators and Educators (S.P.A.C.E., an NGO), the Amateur Astronomers Association, Delhi, and Prof. Toni Hildebrandt.

Worldwide there are the synergies from astronomers, educators, amateur astronomers and planetarians, to help as many people rediscover the Universe for themselves, as possible. There are programs with varieties of creative energies, being organised all over the World, during this International Year of Astronomy. The year that is being celebrated to commemorate 400 years since Galileo first turned a telescope towards celestial objects, made startling discoveries, and compelled the world to accept the Heliocentric view of our Solar System neighbourhood.

A number of exhilirating and creative activities are a part of the Indo Italian Astronomy Fortnight. The fortnight will be inaugurated with an interdisciplinary celebration of Astronomy : An evening with Music, Art and Astronomy, to be inaugurated by the Honorable Italian Ambassador, H.E. Mr. Roberto Toscano, in the presence of Prof. Mridula Mukherjee, Director, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, on the 16th of November at 6 PM at the sky theatre of the Nehru Planetarium.

This program under the stars of the planetarum sky theatre, has many interesting creative elements : listening to sounds from celestial objects like pulsars, Jupiter and the Sun, and viewing of celestial images reminiscent of nature imitating van Gogh's art.

There will be the inauguration of a photo exhibition showing many examples from classical and modern Italian art which have influences from Astronomy.

And finally, the inaugural session will have the very interesting musical evening under the planetarium stars, presenting a Concert titled "The Time of a Star" by Sara Michieletto and Bhai Baldeep Singh, with an interesting jugalbandi of celestial sounds with Italian and Indian music.

This multidisciplinary celebration of Astronomy will be followed by a scientific Indo Italian workshop at the Delhi University on the Physics and Astrophysics in the vicinity of compact objects, organised by Prof. Patrick Das Gupta, Department of Physics and Astrophysics. Prof. Tomaso Belloni from the National Institute of Astrophysics, Astronomical Observatory of Brera, Italy, will speak about the Galactic Compact Objects as Laboratories for the Physics of the Extreme, during this workshop. The workshop will be held on the 18th of November from 2 PM to 5:30 PM at the department of Physics and Astrophysics.

The fortnight also has a very interesting country wide video conferencing workshop on assembling and using Galileoscopes. Utilising the Vigyan Prasar Edusat network, the fortnight includes sessions dealing with assembling simple telescopes and discussions on their usage to enable children to view the inspiring views that had been seen for the first time by Galileo - the craters on the Moon, moons of Jupiter, the phases of Venus and the rings of Saturn.

From the International Galileoscope project, through the Tech Museum of Innovation, San Jose, USA, 20 international quality Galileoscopes have been received by the planetarium, 10 of which have been distributed to groups affiliated to the edusat centres around the country. The video conference is an exhilirating opportunity of sharing the nitty gritties involved in assembing and using these telescopes.

An exciting event to look forward to, is the screening of Bertold Brecht's play on Galileo, at the Akshara Theatre, on the 27th of November, at 7 PM. The play will be performed by the artistic ensemble of the Akshara Theare comprising of celebreties like Jalabala Vaidya, Gopal Sharman, Sunit Tandon, Rajiv Chandran and Geeta Chandran.

There will be screening of films Subrahmanyam Chandrasekhar, a film directed by Gopal Sharman, and an Italina film in English, directed by Enrico Agapito, and discussions for students on the works of Chandrasekhar at the Nehru Planetarium, at 11:30 AM on the 29th November. The discussions will be co-ordinated by Prof. Patrick DasGupta? and Prof. Amitabh Mukherjee, of Delhi University.

The conclusion of the fortnight will be a screening of an Italian film (with ENglish? subtitles) on Galileo, made by Liliana Cavani, at the auditorium of Nehru Memorial Museum and LIbrary?, at 6 PM on the 1st of December.

All in all, the fortnight will be an exhilirating multidisciplinary celebration of Astronomy!

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