Sunday, March 04, 2012

Stars over Baluchistan

by Salman Hameed

Baluchistan is the largest province in Pakistan by area - and its least populated one. It is in the news lately because of a separatist insurgency fueled by political blunders and a history of neglect by the federal government. The province also shares border with Afghanistan and Iran and US has a permanent presence there and is known to be aiding anti-Iranian groups from there. China has also been interested in extending its presence there and Mullah Omar's Quetta Shura takes its name from the capital of the province. An unenvious motley of convergence of geopolitical interests.

But then as if to mock human affairs, Baluchistan also has some of the most spectacular skies for star gazing. Back in the late 1980s, we used to go to Hub Chawki - a couple of hour drive from Karachi - for stargazing. A couple of days ago, photographer Nadir Siddiqui wrote a photographic essay about his stargazing experience with Karachi Astronomers Society (I have written about them here and here).

The photographs are spectacular! Many of the pictures reminded me of the US Southwest. And some, like this one, also reminded me of Mars:

And then this is my favorite picture from the essay:

But of course, it is the stars that count. So here is a spectacular panorama of the Milky Way over Baluchistan:

Check out other pictures here. Also, see other photographs by Nadir Siddiqui here.

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


Anonymous said...

Thanks for uploading. Nadir's article in Dawn was certainly a stir in the current negative image of the region, and a very timely one. Balochistan is a hot cake in world news related to Pakistan, and piggybacking it, is our astronomy in Pakistan to keep reminding us all that no matter how many desputes we may have on earth, we still and always will share one sky. Thanks again.

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