Nepal’s Contribution to Astronomy: Insights from Manisha Dwa

Difference of Astronomy and Astrology by Manisha Dwa

Manisha Dwa is an important individual who represents Nepal’s astronomical community. She is a project coordinator at the Nepal Astronomical Society (NASO), an IAU Co-National Outreach Coordinator, and a member of the National Astronomy Education Coordinator (NAEC) Team for Nepal.

Manisha Dwa did her Bachelor’s and Master’s in Science from Prithivi Narayan Campus and is currently an MPhil Scholar at Kathmandu University’s School of Education. She wants to create platforms for people who are interested in astronomy, astrophysics, and space sciences.

Along with being an astrophotographer, Dwa is also a member of National Astronomy Olympiad Organizing Committee-Nepal and the International Board of International Olympiad on Astronomy and Astrophysics (IOAA). She is a coordinator of Women in Astronomy Nepal (WIAN) and serves as the focal point for Nepal’s Universe Awareness (UNAWE) program.

Dwa’s interest lies in STEM education, art-craft, and space law. She started doing landscape photography because other people believed that she could do it and also to seek new opportunities. Landscape photography in astrophotography is about capturing the sky, including star trails, constellations, meteor showers, and so on.

According to Dwa, NASO has been celebrating World Space Week in Nepal since 2007 which promotes the activities of the World Space Week Association and Nepal Astronomical Society. Various activities such as public stargazing events, workshops, and are conducted as a part of the World Space Week celebration in Nepal from October 4 to October 10.

You may also like this: Asish Thakur’s Vision for Empowering Youths for Tomorrow

Nepal Astronomical Society (NASO)

NASO is a non-profit organization in Nepal that started in 2064 BS (2007AD). Its primary goal is to establish a strong scientific community within the country. it provides a common platform for all astronomy, astrophysics, and space science enthusiasts.

NASO promotes science and technology through outreach, education, and research efforts in astronomy and space sciences.

NASO began as a club with a group of interested students as an outreach and its journey started in 2064 BS (2007 AD) which is celebrated as NASO Day every year.

NASO don’t work for NASA but they work with NASA. International Astronomical Search Collaboration (ISAC) is a NASA-affiliated program. NASO works with them in helping to find asteroids near the orbit and name them.

Government’s Contribution to Astronomy in Nepal

Astronomy and space science education had been given the least importance by the Nepalese government in the past. Currently, Nepal has been recognized as the most eventful country of outreach and astronomy education among the amateur community.

According to Manisha Dwa, there are many new opportunities in Nepal for astronomy and space education. The Astronomy International Committee has recognized the contribution of NASO in promoting the advancement of astronomy, astrophysics, and other related branches of science through various outreach and educational activities.

Though the Government of Nepal has been providing financial support to NASO, it is not enough. So, the Government of Nepal should make effective plans and allocate a significant budget for the promotion of astronomy in Nepal.

Manisha Dwa’s Views on Astronomy Vs Astrology

Astronomy and astrology are two concepts that some people use interchangeably. Some people confuse astronomy with astrology. Astronomy is the observation and factual description of the universe beyond Earth’s atmosphere. Astrology is a belief that the orientation of celestial bodies affects the minds and bodies.

According to Dwa, astrology means people’s belief with some mathematics while astronomy is all about science, observation, and facts. She believes in astrology and is also a cultural activist. She thinks that nothing is greater than inner peace. Both god and demon are within us. So we must take care of our inner peace.

Future of Astronomy in Nepal

Astronomy has a growing scope and interest in Nepal. The country is home to various astronomical research and educational institutes including the Nepal Astronomical Society and the Nepal Academy of Science and Technology.

Furthermore, Nepal’s geographical location provides great opportunities for stargazing and astronomical observations, making it an attractive destination for astronomy enthusiasts and scholars.

Dwa believes that astrophysics tops all the other fields because one can become the best data scientist and analyst which has quite a scope. The world has shrunk due to Information, Communication, and Technology (ICT). So, anyone can contribute to the betterment of their country from any place in the world.

Collaborations with international organizations, technological innovations, and increasing educational initiatives are expected to boost the growth of astronomy research, education, and outreach in Nepal.

Advances in astronomy and science truly break societal norms. Since gender-related norms are prevalent in the world, pulling girls into the field of astrophysics is quite hard. But it is changing in the present context. Dwa says, “Even though we (girls) are less in number, the impact we are creating is quite big.”

NASO-Education

Educational programs provided by NASO are mostly informal. They have been taking informal classes in astronomy and space science at schools and colleges, as well as campaigning for the integration of Astronomy & Astrophysics at all levels of education from primary level to university level.

NASO has been conducting different educational programs like Human Orrey (Olympiad program), Universe Awareness (UNAWE) program, training and workshops for teachers, and so on. Though astronomy is included in the curriculum, it is not being implemented and taught to students.

NASO has also been assisting students/researchers during their projects and thesis related to astronomy/society/mass media, etc. They are working on a curriculum for the teaching module aimed at senior high school and university students interested in astronomy, astrophysics, and space science.

For more information, please visit this website: Nepal Astronomical Society

Manisha Dwa’s Suggestion

Manisha Dwa suggests, ” If there’s something that’s stopping you from doing what you want, then leave this sort of thing behind as each one of us has unique characteristics and potential to do something that no one has done.” She advises individuals to fight their own inside demons and listen to their own selves.

Conclusion

Manisha Dwa is an important figure in Nepal’s astronomy community, holding roles such as project coordinator at the Nepal Astronomical Society (NASO) and International Astronomical Union (IAU) Co-National Outreach Coordinator. With a background in science education, she aims to create a platform for those interested in astronomy, astrophysics, and space science. Despite challenges such as limited government support, Dwa remains positive about Nepal’s future in astronomy, emphasizing growing interest, international collaborations, and advancements in technology as catalysts for development. She is contributing to various educational outreach programs, aiming to integrate astronomy into the national curriculum and inspire the young generation. She inspires people to follow their passions and overcome challenges, emphasizing the transformational power of self-belief and perseverance.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *