Astronomy and related fields today are at the forefront of science and technology, answering fundamental question, driving innovation and contributing to technology, by constantly pushing for instruments, processes and software beyond our current capabilities. The fruits of scientific and technological development in astronomy, especially in areas such as optics and electronics, have become essential for day-to-day life, with applications such as personal computers, communication satellites, mobile phones, Global Positioning Systems, solar panels and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanners. Astronomy today is also being transformed by vast quantities of observational data, models, and simulations at an ever accelerating rate, and astronomy has been an international pioneer of data enabled science. Overall Astronomy has become one of the few scientific fields that interacts directly with society, not only transcending borders, but actively promoting collaborations around the world.
As such, it is a given that stimulating astronomy education amongst a country’s youth will be of great value. In an innovative move to make this happen, Horizon Campus recently launched an Astronomy Society (HCAS) with the aim of establishing and maintaining an infrastructure that encourages learning and participation, both academically and professionally and provides an environment for their students to learn about the sun, moon, stars, planets, comets, galaxies, and other celestial bodies and develop an enthusiasm about astronomy.
The inaugural meeting of HCAS was held in early August. The ceremony was attended by the Higher Management of Horizon Campus, where office bearers were appointed followed by a guest lecture regarding cosmology.
Outlining the future plans of the society Dr. Mihira Wanninayake, Senior Lecturer and Course Director who will head the Horizon Campus Astronomy Society stated that it includes advocating and uplifting the skills of its members by offering opportunities backing up research’ work correlated with astronomy. We plan to host a wide range of astronomical events, such as Astro Night Camps, and Water Rocket Competitions. We intend to offer instruction in a wide variety of fields in Astronomy and conduct training programs for students to carry out astronomy related activities. We also aim to conduct research in the fields of Astronomy, Astrophysics and Space Science and produce publications with special attention to indexed journal publications as well as organizing workshops and seminars in the field(s) of Astronomy, Astrophysics and Space Science. Our ultimate aim is to produce youth who will drive innovation and research that facilitates the use of astronomy in addressing the challenges faced by our society in the future”.