National Stargazing Programme sees thousands of participants

As the country advances in space, science, and technology, the National Stargazing Programme engaged over 10,000 participants nationwide. The Bhutan Astronomical Society, under the GovTech Agency, organised the two-month event, bringing star-gazing experiences to schools and colleges.

It is around 8 PM, and students from Jakar Higher Secondary School in Bumthang are eagerly lining up to gaze at the moon and stars through a telescope. For many of them, it is their first experience.

“It has been a dream come true and we are happy to be part of this programme. It will benefit us because this topic related to space is also included in our curriculum. So, we are really excited and happy to get this opportunity,” said Kunzang Dechen, a student.

“Before we did not really know and were not aware about space. Now, with the help of government and GovTech, we can experience it in our reality,” said Sonam Wangmo, another student.

“It was a huge honour to be among one of the first Bhutanese people to have been able to gaze at the stars using a telescope. For us students with so much interest, it was a hope and an eye opener that we can have something to do with our future with the stars one day,” said Jigme Rigsel Dorji who is also a student at  Jakar Higher Secondary School.

The Bhutan Astronomical Society reported an average of 250 participants per night, mostly school and college students. They spent two to three nights in each district. 

“Our main objective is to motivate students, inspire and help them pursue their dreams in careers like astronomy and also take an interest in STEM fields,” said Kinley Dorji from the Bhutan Astronomical Society.

“Before I joined this programme, I was really excited to learn about stars and the universe. And I am very thankful to everyone involved for letting me experience this,” said Rig Yang Selsum, a student at Dewathang Primary School.

“When I saw stars through the telescope, I felt the stars were close to me. The stars were so beautiful and clear. I felt thankful for being able to attend the activity and I hope that such activities will come again,” said Rigden Ringsel Selden, another student at Dewathang Primary School.

The National Programme, facilitated by six Bhutan Astronomical Society members, welcomed all space enthusiasts to join the society. It concluded on Thursday.

Devika Pradhan

Edited by Tshering Zam 

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