Spark Astronomy on a mission to set up astronomy labs in schools
The Sainik School in Thiruvananthapuram now sports a brand new astronomy lab.
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Sainik School in Thiruvananthapuram now sports a brand new astronomy lab. Students from Classes 1 to 12 can now experience space, learn about the many mysteries of the cosmos and also watch celestial bodies, all thanks to Aryan Mishra, 21, and his initiative Spark Astronomy that focuses on building low-cost astronomy labs in schools.
The lab was set up in the school in a matter of three days. It sports telescopes and plenty of experimentations the students can indulge in and thereby learn beyond the book. “The vision is to provide basic knowledge to help the children who want to pursue the dream of astronomy. They can observe, learn more about astronomy and experiment. Astronomy is a science that is part of every subject. We have made it so simple that whatever chapters are being taught in school from Classes 1 to 12 can be taught in the lab,” says Aryan, an astronomy enthusiast currently pursuing BSc in Physics from the Ashoka University.
Through Spark Astronomy, Aryan has set up astronomy clubs in over 20 schools in eight states. His startup has reached an agreement with the central government to start low-cost astronomy labs in government schools. “If there was no pandemic, we could have done that in over 80 schools,” he says.
Aryan was always captivated by the sky and its secrets. Born in a middle-class family to parents not that educated, Aryan lacked all the resources that other children would have had to further his interest in astronomy. But nothing deterred Aryan. He loved staring into the sky and watching it in all its glory. When he was 11, he had his first tryst with a celestial body, when he peered into Saturn through a telescope in his school. And watching the planet had a remarkable effect on him.
That’s when astronomy beckoned and he knew that he belonged there. Being a part of the astronomy club in his school ensured that he learnt more about the universe. When he was 14, he discovered an asteroid as part of a nationwide campaign ‘All India Asteroid Search Campaign’.
Aryan grew up to become more inquisitive about the cosmos and began researching. And right after school, he launched his own startup titled Spark Astronomy. “The idea was to fund my own studies. My friends Naveen and Shakeel funded the initiative. The startup envisions setting up low-cost astronomy labs in schools,” he recalls.