‘PROJECT PARIDHI’ – Velammal Vidyalaya students measured the circumference of earth
on Winter Solstice Day – Dec 21,2016
It’s a celebration day for Velammal – Nexus group of school students from Velammal Vidyalaya Mel Ayanambakkam & Annex, Paruthipattu and Alapakkam to assemble in the open ground at Mel Ayanambakkam school to participate and replicate a 2300 years old experiment of measuring the circumference of the earth done by Greek Astronomer Eratosthenes. About 105 Students of class 7th and 8th std. were part of Project Paridhi celebration to mark the international astronomical occurrence Winter Solstice, the beginning of winter. SPACE the organization which has been working towards popularization of science and astronomy in the country and had hosted this flagship project among students since 2010.
The program started with a prayer song followed by the welcome address by Mrs. Shyamala Subbu Principal, Velammal Vidyalaya – Mel Ayanambakkam. In her welcome address she motivated the students of the rare opportunity to participate in such field science projects which will be helpful in learning science in an experimental way. she also appreciated the SPACE organization for providing such a wonderful opportunity for all of us. The program was then presided by Mr. S. Venkata Narayanan, South Zonal Manager, SPACE he spoke on the achievements of Space students by discovering asteroids and hunting comets as on date we have 46 provisional asteroid discoveries made by our students in the last 7 years and also explained how thrilling it is to watch eclipse by land, sky and water!
‘The Solstice is an astronomical event that happens twice, once in December and June, each year when the Sun shines directly on the Tropic of cancer during June and on the Tropic of capricorn during December. The december solstice happens between 20 -23 every year. Winter solstice is the day of the year with the longest period of night or when the length of time between sunrise and sunset is the shortest of the year. The December Solstice occurred on 21st December, 2016 at 16:14 IST. For us in the Northern Hemisphere, where it is the shortest day of the year, in the Southern Hemisphere it will be the longest day of the year.
Prabhakaran SPACE educator explaining the process, he said, ‘The circumference of Earth can be calculated by a simple calculation. The angle subtended by a pillar’s shadow with a known height is enough to compute the circumference of the Earth.’
‘The shortest shadow was successfully measured, sun angle of 36 degrees was determined which led to a result of 40,076 KM for Earth’s circumference, which is 99.9% accurate and an impressive result,’ he added. The winning team from Velammal, Mel Ayanambakkam class 8 students are Pakhi Prathik, Sanjay Aniketh, Varun Krishna, Vishwa Teja and Lakshaya.
Medhavi Agarwal participating student said ‘Science means knowledge & same happened today, I applied my knowledge to find the circumference of the earth. It was interesting and enjoyed a lot!”. Ms. Gunavathi teacher from Velammal-Annex quoted ‘Science is always exciting & same happened today by finding out the circumference of the earth through shadow by practical method, though it was hot!!!. Children learnt by doing this activity. Scientific attitude was enriched’.