Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti, today witnessed a rare celestial event – ‘Transit of Mercury’ – at the University of Kashmir (KU).
Minister for Education, Naeem Akhter and Vice Chancellor, KU, Prof. Khursheed Iqbal Andrabi, were also present on the occasion.
President, Astronomical Society of India, Prof. Ajit Kembhari, explained to the Chief Minister the spectacle, which is something rare because it requires the Sun, Mercury and Earth to be in almost perfect alignment. It happens just a dozen or so times per century and the next time when the event will occur is in 2032, he added.
The Chief Minister was also briefed about the need to set up a centre of astrophysics in Kashmir University for popularising the culture of exploration and inculcating scientific thinking among aspiring students.
The Education Minister floated the idea of introducing astrophysics as a subject at undergraduate level.
The VC underlined the need for setting up an observatory in Kashmir to help promote astronomy as a subject.
Because of cloudy weather, the Chief Minister watched the event through live transmission. She also presented a telescope to a group of young girl students on the occasion.
Also present were Director, Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Prof. Sree Kumaar, Secretary, ASI, Prof. D. Banerjee, Deputy Commissioner, Farooq Ahmed Lone and Director, School Education, Shah Faisel.