Oct 17, 2022
Mission Platinum, a member of LCO’s Global Sky Partners program, set itself high aims: to host the world’s largest astronomy lesson. It was timed to coincide with HM Queen Elizabeth II's Platinum Jubilee celebrations in 2022. The program had two key components: using robotic telescopes in classrooms in India and an astronomy talk for the students.
Initially 25 schools were selected to use the LCO network from their classrooms and over 1,000 students participated in making astronomical observations. The students and their teachers took more than 4,000 images using the LCO 0.4-meter telescopes over a period of 3 days. The students generated images of the most impressive astronomical objects.
In August 2022, these original schools and 100 more from the Bulandshahr district of India took part in an astronomy talk presented by Prof Carole Mundell (University of Bath, UK). Prof Mundell showcased some of the best examples of the images taken by the schools earlier in the year.
Mission Platinum was a great success in achieving its goal by hosting over 7,000 students (including virtual participation by Zoom) in the astronomy lesson. Each student was awarded with a certificate of achievement for being involved in this citizen science project.
In the village of Mukundgarh, an extra-special presentation was made by the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath. Student Bhoomika (aged 10) and her grandfather Hansroop (75) both were awarded for their involvement in Mission Platinum. Bhoomika for her contributions to citizen science and Hansroop for his contributions to amateur astronomy.
All the images taken by the students can be viewed on the Mission Platinum gallery.
Mission Platinum was supported through the Global Sky Partners program, by the UK High Commission in India and by the Bulandshahr District Education Authority.