Friday, October 14, 2011

Astronomy takes over World Space Week in Pakistan

by Salman Hameed

This year's World Space Week was from Oct 4-10th. Since amateur astronomy in Pakistan has been getting stronger and stronger, it is no surprise that it dominated the proceedings of International Space Week also. The celebrations also coincided with the 50th anniversary of the formation of Pakistan's space agency Suparco (Space and Upper Atmospheric Commission). In the mid-80s, we had a had a chance to use some of the 8 and 14-inch telescopes owned by the space agency. Today, there a number of amateur astronomers in Pakistan that have larger telescopes than owned by Suparco, and I think that says a lot about both the rise of amateur astronomy, and the agency being more or less stuck in a rut.

Nevertheless, here are couple of pictures of public viewing organized by Karachi Astronomers Society (KaAS), followed by some pictures of the 10th Falakyati Mela (astrofest) organized jointly by Khwarizmi Science Society (KSS) and Lahore Astronomical Society (LAST). They have pretty much perfected the art of this now!

Okay - so yes there are lot of lights here. But then, this is Karachi after all. Oh wait. Wouldn't this have been a good time for some load-shedding?? Also, read this coverage in Pakistan Express Tribune and interviews with some astronomers from Karachi. And as usual, crowd shows up, if you want to do something.

And here are couple of pictures from the 10th Falakyati mela at a school in Kot Radha Kishan, located about 60km south of Lahore. They have been able to attract fantastic crowds of all ages and have been doing a great of job bringing astronomy to places away from the urban centers.

Wait a minute: Is Umair Asim singing here? that would be interesting :).

Fantastic! Keep up the good work.

Also see related posts:
Here is a young telescope builder from Pakistan...
Telescopes versus Terrorism in Pakistan

1 comment:

Akbar said...

It was a very busy two days activity at NED University Karachi. The attendance and keenness to view through the telescopes was much much more than we had expected. Despite extravagant lighting, we still caught good views of moon and Jupiter at low and high magnifications. I had to explain about the belts of Jupiter and moons around it to nearly every viewer. The first picture is from the second day of the activity. We even had a wider range of equipment on day one. And thanks for posting my picture with our scopes on Giro-III Alt-Az mount :-)