Astronomer, Astrophotographer & Astropreneur - Nilesh Vayada

Once a student of Chartered accountancy, with an unbridled passion for the wonders of universe – Nilesh morphed his inner calling into a prolific career. And there has been no looking back for the Astro czar! Nilesh's career trajectory attests to the fact that amateur astronomers can easily transcend pre-conceived barriers of Mathematics and Physics and embark on a successful sojourn into galaxy. It all started when the astronomer and astrophotographer started crafting low-cost telescopes for fellow astronomers and friends. Armed with knowledge assimilated over the years, and a practical understanding of the subject, Nilesh created Galileo Telescope, the tallest figure in India's astronomy scene - comprising offline presence and the only online store - As a child, Nilesh was always fascinated with the sky. He spent most of his nights on his terrace, watching and wondering.

Those were the days when Halley’s Comet made its dramatic appearance. That event formalized his interest in astronomy, after which he built his first telescope. His desire to explore the skies drew him away from his work as a finance person in the family business. He began his new innings by building low-cost telescopes for fellow astronomers and friends. From those modest beginnings, Nilesh rose to create GTM, one of the country’s largest astronomy company. Nilesh is now dedicated to the service of Indian astronomy. Despite his very busy schedule, he finds the time to guide other amateur astronomers and astronomy groups. To him, a customer is not just a buyer of a telescope, but a fellow astronomer with a passion to learn about the night sky. He strives to share his success with every enthusiast he meets.

Litany of accomplishments

National and International Positions:

Founder - Director of Galileo Telescope Makers, Nilesh has grown from strength to strength and has entrenched his position in astronomy firmaments in myriad capacities:

  • Vice President, Confederation of Indian Amateur Astronomers
  • Secretary - Amateur Astronomers' Association (Bombay)
  • Founder, Messier 110 Group
  • Host and Lead Organiser, Milky Way Voyage, India's first-star party (March 2008)
  • International Coordinator - International Sidewalk Astronomy Night (ISAN)
  • National Coordinator – India – Astronomers Without Borders
  • Consultant with a panoply of astronomy organisations within and outside India

Eclipsing the astronomy scene

An avid eclipse chaser, over the 15 years, the luminary has covered almost every total solar eclipse in the world. He has captured some of the most iconic celestial sights on film or screen.

  • 1995 – Bihar, India
  • 1999 – Germany
  • 2006 – Turkey
  • 2009 – China
  • 2010 – Tamil Nadu, India (annular eclipse)

Other Astronomy Projects:

Venus Transit 2004 & 2012

Venus Transit 2004 – National level project of Observation and Recording of the event from Three stations in India.

Venus Transit 2012 – Leading India Station from Hanle Observatory Ladakh, one of the Seven Stations across the world

He was recognized by the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, for his photographs of the total solar eclipse of 1995. He was National Coordinator for Sidewalk Astronomy during the International Year of Astronomy (IYA) 2009, in association with TWAN-ISAN. He has received extensive media coverage for his contribution to Indian amateur astronomy, and has been featured in a number of articles, TV and radio programs.

Astronomy, photography, spirituality and social work add meaning, depth and excitement to Nilesh’s life. His recreational interests include adventure sports, long travel and reading.

National Awards

He was recognised by the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, for his photograph of the total solar eclipse in 1995.

International Recognition by NASA

Nilesh Vayada's Astrophotography has been reconised by NASA and due credit to his project done at Hanle Observatory – THE WORLD’S HIGHEST OBSERVATORY AT 15,000 ft. above MSL, in cold desert of Ladakh (India)

A tit-bit on Achievements:

a) Nilesh’s passion has led him to path-breaking success in some endeavors not often seen amongst amateur astronomers. He has built a “16” & 20” telescope, India’s largest amateur telescope.

b) He also created an eclipse calendar for the 2006 Turkey eclipse.