Khwarizmi Science Society Invites to Developing Pakistan's First Public Observatory
By Dr Saadat Anwar Siddiqi
President, Khwarizmi Science Society,
Khwarizmi Science Society (KSS) is one of Pakistan's most active societies working towards creating a culture of science, especially at the grass roots level. Keeping in view the diversity of science, the Society has organized more than two hundred programs in different branches of science and technology since its establishment in 1996. The KSS joined hands with the international community when UNESCO-declared 2009 as an International Year of Astronomy organizing various public awareness programmes such as Astro Festivals, which were called ‘Falakyati Melas’ serving more than ten thousand students, teachers and local communities all across Pakistan. It is realized that astronomy is a largely neglected science in the country, though it is a potent vehicle in mass popularization of science.
Recently, the Khwarizmi Science Society has bought the Schmidt-Cassegrain Optical Tube Assembly (Celestron C-14) which is Pakistan's largest of its own kind. This telescope is the mainstay of a public observatory the society wishes to establish at some suitable school that fulfills the following conditions:
- The observatory will be the ownership of the KSS.
- The observatory will be open to all students, teachers of the school according to prescribed schedules, tallying with important astronomical events.
- The KSS will hold public gatherings on school premises with the collaboration of the school administration.
- Students from other schools will be allowed to visit the observatory.
- The school will have an Astronomy Society who will work closely with the KSS and organize all the above events.
- The school's students and teachers will have immediate access to the observatory. They will be involved in astronomical experiments, star shows and will be able to run long experiments with the KSS's astronomers.
- The school administration will provide electricity and access to school's auditoriums and grounds.
- KSS's resident astronomer will have 24 hour access to the observatory. The school will have the full opportunity to advertise the hosting of the observatory, as a joint venture between the school and the KSS.
The society has the complete infrastructure available with them. This includes several telescopes, astronomical camera, filters, tripod stands, computerized mounts, and a fiber=glass housing with a slideable rooftop. The President of the society, Dr. Saadat Anwar Siddiqi has told that letters of interest have been invited from the administrators and principals of the potential schools and institutions. KSS's team has already started visiting the premises of the selected schools in order to make the final decision for the best choice as a public observatory. The KSS is also looking for any philanthropist or organization that can provide the maintenance and running cost of this venture.
The president of the society, Dr. Siddiqi, has expressed that among all the activities that KSS has so far organized, the best reward in terms of raising the enthusiasm and curiosity of the young minds have been achieved through the Falakyati Melas. This led us to think about establishing the ‘Public Observatory’ at a school that welcomes public participation and access to the common folk outside but near some urban centre of Pakistan.
Some Pictures from the Falkiati Melas
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