In a first, two astronomy labs were on Friday dedicated to students in Ladakh by the Lt. Governor RK Mathur and Prof. K Vijay Raghavan, principal scientific adviser to the government of India.

These labs have been established one each at Kendriya Vidyalaya, Leh and Kendriya Vidyalaya, Kargil. These have been sponsored by Shiv Nadar Foundation.

Addressing the gathering, the Lt. Governor said that environment protection was one of the aspirations of Ladakhi people in the newly formed UT of Ladakh. “I believe that knowing one’s environment is the best way to preserve and protect the environment and setting up of these astronomy labs is a culmination of this thought towards a practical understanding of the extra-ordinary clean environment of Ladakh,” said Mathur. He said these astronomy labs would benefit not only school children and youth at large but could be utilized as a stepping stone to promote Astro tourism in Ladakh.

The Lt. Governor shared the idea conceived to convert Hanley into a dark sky sanctuary and to explore possibilities to promote virtual tourism in Ladakh which he said would generate entrepreneurial opportunities for the local youth. He also pointed out the need to utilised the enriched environment of Hanley for continuous research programme by researchers and experts from India and abroad. He asked for continued support from the Principal Scientific Adviser and Indian Institute of Astro Physics to get these ideas conceptualized on ground.

Prof. Raghavan spoke of the rich legacy that India holds in the history of Astronomy citing Aryabatta and modern tradition using telescopes. He said that every child can aspire to be an astronomer and excel in the field of Astrophysics. This should not remain restricted to a particular section of the society. He said that these Astronomy labs will allow the Ladakhi children to unfold their ambition and inspire them to become world class scientists.