Tuesday, May 05, 2009

More astronomy news from Pakistan

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:

4 comments:

Atif Khan said...

Glad to read that. Hope more people come out and attend such events. Umair's relentless efforts are highly appreciable. Thanks for bringing up positive side of Pakistan.

Awais said...

I attended an earlier KSS astronomy event in Lahore. Very enjoyable and informative.

Umair said...

Yes a lot of bright lights there..and Salman is right, the projected images (Moon and Saturn) were very bright indeed and there was no problem in figuring out the details. The bands on the planet were clearly visible.

It does feels like a wedding ceremony in Pakistan than a stargazing session :)

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