Will the real Pakistan please stand up?
Yesterday I had a depressing post about madrasas in Punjab. But today I got an e-mail about another astronomy event - organized by the Khwarizmi Science Society (KSS) - also in Punjab (see an earlier post about International Year of Astronomy in Pakistan). The picture above shows an audience of about 1500 listening to an astronomy lecture - not in any elite school in Lahore, rather this is a gathering in Okara, one of the poorest districts in Punjab. I should mention that it is almost impossible to get even a 100 people for lectures - let alone 1500! Very impressive. This is also Pakistan. (also see this NYT article about this bipolar nature of the country: Pakistan - Struggling to see a country of shards)
The lecture was followed by an observing session. See more pictures and details of the event at this blog by Umair Asim. By the way, I have a question (and a minor quibble): The night-time session looks great as a picture - but why are all the lights on?? I guess, images from the telescope were projected on the screen - and perhaps that did not require complete darkness. Hmm...but still too many lights (See couple of more pictures below. But you will get a better feel for the event from Umair's report).
Here is Umair and his computer and telescope:
While we are on the topic, amateur astronomers from Pakistan, Oman, Iran, and India held simultaneous Starpeace parties on May 1st - the eve of Unsesco's Astronomy Day (May 2nd). Here is the coverage from a local Pakistani channel: