Measuring Earth with Simple Maths under Project Paridhi


Under Project Paridhi, a flagship programme of SPACE, more than 2000 participants participated in the year 2016 from pan India and measured the circumference of the Earth with 90% accuracy.

‘Project Paridhi’ is a science experimentation project by SPACE to popularize hands on science. This project was initiated by SPACE 5 years ago with the intention to increase awareness amongst Indians that science can be done without any complicated equipment. Under this project the students find out the circumference of the Earth by taking measurements of the shadows made by the sun in a day, as done 3000 years back by astronomer Eratosthenes, who was able to measure it within 2% of the present accepted value. This project has also been accredited in a report on ‘Astronomy in Public Places and Highways’ by French Professors, Mr. Prof. Denis Savoie and Prof. Bonnet Bidaud.

On the occasion of Vernal Equinox, Summer Solstice, Autumnal Equinox and Winter Solstice on the expected dates are March 20, June 21, September 23 and December 22 in the year 2017. Project Paridhi will be conducted on various locations in India. Every year the programme is conducted by SPACE through its regional offices in Chennai, Delhi-NCR, Dehradun, Ludhiana, Meerut and Surat to reach out to maximum number of audiences and also conducted this Project in parks as Community Engagement program.

The experiment known as Eratosthenes Experiment is to measure shadow casted by Gnomon (a Greek word for an object whose shadow serves as an indicator of time, especially of the hour of the day) and find the shortest shadow at local noon (the time of the day when the Sun is highest in the sky). A right angled triangle is then constructed using length of Gnomon as base and length of the shortest shadow as height to find the Sun angle. Using simple geometry and trigonometry, the earth’s circumference is measured.

Project Paridhi can be done on any day of the year, but on days of equinox and solstices the sun is directly overhead on the equator or Tropics of Cancer/Capricorn hence making the calculation easier. This project also celebrates the days of solstice and equinox and helps participants understand seasons and motion of the Earth. Gnomons of all sizes and shapes have been used in the past – including soft drink bottles and cricket wickets to huge Gnomons such as, Qutub Minar, Samrat Yantra at Jantar Mantar and sundial at Barapullah, Delhi. SPACE has been accredited for the calibration of Sundial at Barapullah.

This year in 2017, we are open with the registrations for the upcoming Vernal Equinox on March 20, 2017.

Lets measure Earth together!

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