From Delhi slum to Astronomy lecturer: Aryan Mishra co-founder of Spark Astronomy

Meet this 21-year-old space enthusiast and an extra ordinary stargazer who discovered asteroid 6 years ago.

Apr 13, 2021 - 17:03
From Delhi slum to Astronomy lecturer: Aryan Mishra co-founder of Spark Astronomy
Aryan Mishra who discovered an Asteroid at the age of 14

Aryan was born in Delhi slum and belongs to a humble background. His father sold newspapers and his mother is a homemaker but he was a no-ordinary child. He was a student of Chinmaya Vidyalaya, Delhi who looked up at Kalpana Chawla as his inspiration. He was a curious kid who wanted to know what lies behind the stars and it was the curiosity of the unknown that led Aryan to the mystical cosmos. At the age of 11, as a hobby to explore the universe, he joined the astronomy club in his school but soon his hobby turned into a passion when he saw Saturn’s ring with a telescope, when his school organized an evening sky observation. Aryan decided then that he wanted to go for Astronomy.

                                Aryan bought his first telescope of ₹5000 by saving his pocket money. Though his parents were not happy as they thought it’s just a hobby and a waste of money. But Aryan proved its worth by discovering a near-Earth asteroid with his friend Keerti Vardhan. At the age of 14, he discovered an asteroid that was moving between Jupiter and Mars while scanning data at a cybercafe, as he took part in a nationwide asteroid search programme conducted by the Astronomical Society of India. His discovery has been designated the number 2014 00372 and is soon to become a part of the world’s minor body catalogue maintained by the International Astronomical Union in Paris. The discovery not only made him famous but his parents proud who bought him his second telescope.

                               Soon, he started getting invitations from Universities as a lecturer and even got invited for Ted Talk. But he realised that these lectures will not be enough to spread knowledge about outer space or inspire the young generation to follow their passion for the cosmos. This led to the birth of Spark Astronomy in 2018. A star-up to build affordable astronomy laboratories in schools, which provide four basic telescopes for sky watching. The labs also have working models that Mishra himself builds using recycled materials. He takes great inspiration from the likes of Sunita Williams and Rakesh Sharma.

                            Mishra’s efforts caught the attention of Principal Scientific Advisor to the government, K. VijayRaghavan, who is now bringing these low-cost labs to schools under the Ministry of Human Resource Development. Today, Aryan is working as a government advisor and is planning to build astronomy laboratories in various schools across India as he believes it will allow students to see Astronomy as a career. The start-up charges about Rs 3 lakh for each lab. As of now, it has worked with five private schools — two in New Delhi, and one each in Punjab, Haryana and Gujarat.

                           At present, Aryan is pursuing a B.Sc. in Physics from Ashoka University and also mentor’s various astronomy clubs, attends events and seminars to share his knowledge with other students as he believes that, the sky has no limit. From saving pocket money for a telescope to building laboratories for students, Aryan proved hard work always pays off.

What's Your Reaction?