What is AstraX?

AstraX

AstraX is the annual Astro-Meet of Indian Institute of Technology Mandi. This astro-meet is organised by the Space Technology and Astronomy Cell (STAC), IIT Mandi. The first edition of AstraX took place from 29th to 31st March, 2019 and witnessed participation from different colleges of India including IIT Roorkee, IISER Mohali, PEC Chandigarh and many more.

About the founder

Akshita Jain

Akshita is an undergraduate pursuing a degree in electrical engineering from IIT Mandi. She has been an active member of the college community and contributed significantly to the different fests organised by the college. Some of the positions of responsibility that she has taken include Sponsorship Head, Exodia 2018, Marketing Head, Exodia 2019, Sponsorship Head, Rann-neeti 2018, Finance Head, AstraX 2019 and many others. One of the major highlights of her college life is laying the foundation stones of AstraX and leading the first edition of the fest to a successful completion.

How did the fest start?

AstraX

The idea of conducting an inter-college astro-meet was the brain-child of Akshita. When she applied for the position of coordinator of STAC, IIT Mandi, one of the major plans in her propaganda was conducting an inter-college astro-meet here in IIT Mandi, something that was never thought of or discussed earlier. It remained dormant for a long time until one day, Shreyas, the former coordinator discussed with Akshita to work on her vision. This time, they decided to realise this dream and presented the idea before the core team and Akash Dakoor and Ananya Shukla, the then coordinators of the club. It was met with much excitement and enthusiasm from the members and that was how the process of conducting the ever Astro-Meet of the North India began. The term 'AstraX' was coined by Shreyas.

The preparations of the fest involved approaching people who have made a mark in the field of theoretical and computational astronomy, astrophysics and space technology and inviting them to deliver keynote lectures that would further arouse the interest of students in this field and organising a variety of competitive events ranging from hackathon to Messier Hunt that would further add to the enthusiasm of the participants. This was followed by extensive publicity among different colleges of the country in order to bring people from different streams to one platform, uniting them by their interest in astronomy. The AstraX team comprised students from different years who worked together to make this dream come true.

Motivation behind AstraX

AstraX

Before AstraX happened, no one had heard of an inter-college fest in North India that was solely dedicated to astronomy. This field has seen huge developments in recent years and will continue to amaze us with new discoveries. If no one else had given it a thought, why not IIT Mandi? And this was the question that motivated us to conduct AstraX, the first inter-college Astro-Meet of the North India. The aim of the fest was to bring some of the most brilliant minds of the country under one umbrella to explore the different realms of astrophysics, astronomy and cosmology.

The idea was to organise a fest which would have competitive events ranging from messier hunts to coding hackathons, talks by proficient people from the technical and scientific worlds, a practical and interesting workshop and participation from the most reputed colleges of the country including many other IITs.