My Second Summer Project

With the end of my second-year at college, I spent the summer attending a  camp on Radio Astronomy, called CHERA 2016 (Camp for Hands-on Experience in Radio Astronomy). This has been one of the best experiences of my life, and I feel really grateful to have been a part of it.

CHERA 2016 was organized by a collaboration between the faculty of NCRA Pune and RRI
Bangalore, headed by Prof. Desh (Avinash Deshpande), which took place at RAC  (Radio Astronomy Center), Ooty, India. Participants were taught topics from a range of fields including  (radio) astronomy, cosmology, statistics, programming (with Python/Anaconda), instrumentation, signal processing etc. relevant/required for collecting and analyzing real astronomical data using the Ooty Radio Telescope (ORT), in numerous experiments and demonstrations which are listed below:

1) Slewing across the radio point-source ‘Virgo-A’ to estimate the beam width of ORT;
2) Using known astronomical calibrators to calibrate ORT and to estimate its G/T-Sys value and sensitivity;
3) Learning to operate the ORT and using it to track and gather data from the pulsar B1642-03 ;
4) Estimating the radiation pattern of a half-wave dipole antenna by changing the angle between the transmitter and receiver;
5) Generating a one-dimensional radio profile of the Sun using aperture synthesis;
6) Tracking the Vela pulsar and analyzing the data obtained to find its dynamic
spectrum, dispersion measure, dispersion delay, time period and distance from Earth;
7) Estimating the length of a co-axial cable using a signal generator, oscilloscope and a T-junction, in an open-circuit condition;
8) Observing the Lunar Occultation of a radio source by the moon;
9) Observing Inter Planetary Scintillations;
10) Measuring the correlation of two partially correlated signals.

With this, I will be ready to tackle project SWAN, an idea headed by Prof. Desh, wherein an array network of radio antenna tiles would be distributed to various institutes across India, to perform radio interferometry on a massive scale (in layman terms, that is the equivalent of having an India-sized radio telescope when it comes to resolving power.)

A draft report of the work I did at CHERA 2016 can be found here:

CHERA 2016 Draft Report





A dark poem inspired by the primal urge of thirst.  Enjoy …




Throat sore, tongue parched,

he sat under the blazing sun.

Dying for a drop of liquid life,

to soothe the awful, stifling burn.


With every breath, the fuming wind,

did scorch his flaccid, wheezing lungs.

With every passing moment, the scalding land,

did roast him like an earthen oven.

The rays of sunlight did feel,

like white hot needles piercing his flesh.

And through solar punctures and bodily orifices,

did leak his soul, vaporizing, set ablaze,

like a volatile, inflammable fluid substance.


Who needs mortal enemies?

when nature can get the job done with ease …

Into one’s life, the Dark Specter — harbinger of everything negative,

always finds a way …

Through death or simply through mere thirst,

she brings us into her sway ….


Head pounding, eyes flaring, blood boiling, skin smoldering, flesh melting,

Will breaking, consciousness evaporating, bathed in pain and despair,

Brain stewed in boiling cranial fluids,

Temperature heightened chemical reactions, neurons fired


In the sanctum of his final abode,

The primal instinct of thirst,

brought about heavenly hallucinations of hope:


A glass of cool, soft, sweet, sparkling water —

The trickling sound of the gentle liquid pouring;

Or a soothing, fruit juice cocktail —

The sound of crystal-clear, cold ice-cubes

splashing in the drink, clinking against the glass;

Or maybe some luscious, thick milkshake

topped with ice cream and a sweet sauce —

The sound of slurping shake through straw;

Or some refrigerated soft-drink,

In a sophisticated, compact, glass bottle,

Cool dew condensed on its surface —

The sound of a fizzy ‘pop’ and a glugging throat;

Swimming in a lake with a waterfall,

cool mist diffusing in a gentle breeze;

Thirst quenched,

emerging refreshed, rejuvenated, reborn …..


Fighting a war of immolation in this inferno,

desperately avoiding pyrolysis,

the simplest of urges – thirst,

brought about powerful emotions of hope and desire,

even in a state of total despair …

Conflicting emotions annihilated each other,

releasing all the feelings locked

in the confines of the mysterious mind –

a scream of insanity, and maddening laughter …


He had the tiniest trickle of the life giving elixir,

left in his almost-empty water bottle.

Inverting, he collected it in the bottle cap, and saw in it,

His reflection akin to man who’d been given a throttle.


Involuntary smacking of lips, but no saliva expelled,

by glands that were once full of a potent liquid,

which could dissolve food into life.

Now empty sacs, devoid of their substance,

like the state of his life, devoid

of love, friendship, happiness and

everything which the human condition deems good and desirable.


The pathetic husk of a creature brought his cracked lips

close to the tiny container and sucked the water …

One fleeting moment of hope and gratitude,

and tears of joy, but none came …


The final drink, it was insignificant,

He gulped fluid but could feel only air,

Liquid did not coat his tongue and throat,

No feeling of quenching thirst,

No feeling of cool water,


He choked on it and coughed

Cough! Cough! Cough!



His poor heart,

already weak from having to pump

dehydrated blood thick as paste,

could take no more …


It seemed that all the life-givers of the world,

Had turned against him (why? WHY!?)

The sun burned him, the earth scorched him

and the life-giving liquid sucked the life from him …


Dead he dropped, pathetic, wasted,

His bodily fluids sucked dry,

His flesh parched crisp, cracked, crumbled and dispersed,

His bare boned skeleton weathered, turned to sand,

Consumed by the land …


With his final drink, he died a pathetic loser,

full of regret …..