IYA2009 Activities by Khalid Marwat

Following table gives summary of the humble efforts extending over the year. All the events are then briefly narrated in the text below. The last event (S.No. 8) Solar Eclipse of 15 Jan falls outside the year. But is included in the report because the impetus gained during the year helped in generating the effort for the event.
S.No. Place Date Description
1 SZABIST, Karachi 9 Feb 2009 Introduction to IYA and launching of Night Hawk
2 Karachi American School 12 Feb “introduction to Astronomy” for various grades of the School
3 Falcon Complex, Malir Cantt, Karachi 1st May Star Peace with Iran, India, etc. Presentation on “Phases of the Moon” by Mariam
4 Falcon Complex, Karachi 24 Oct Galilean Nights: Jupiter, Saturn, Phases of the Moon and the Sun
5 Gulistan Jauhar, Karachi 11 Nov Roof top astronomy in urban Karachi
6 Baghe Gul , Karachi 21 Nov Farm astronomy in suburbs of Karachi
7 Dallo Khel , Lakki Marwat 26 Dec 2009 Village Astronomy in an extremely remote area of Pakistan
8 Solar Eclipse in Karachi 15 Jan 2010 Annular eclipse, partial only in Karachi is beyond 2009, but comes under the ongoing enthusiasm of IYA 2009

Event No. 1; Night Hawk

Your browser may not support display of this image. SZABIST Astronomy Society, Night Hawk, was launched in the last month of 2008 for the upcoming International year of astronomy. Participants wereAbubaker Shekhani, Munira Sultan, Ammar Islam and Kayras Homi (BSC, Class of 2010) and Khalid Marwat. For more details see http://www.szabist.edu.pk/karachi/ePhoenix/Detail.asp?DID=317)

The picture shows the group after the observation on 9th Feb. 
As a follow up a star party was arranged in the second week of February. See

Your browser may not support display of this image. Event No. 2. Karachi American School

Various grades of KAS got together and a mix of observations and presentation on the subject of IYA was organized. The observations were done in the sports ground of the School. Equipments included 8 inch, Meade SCT and binoculars. Venus in Your browser may not support display of this image. Pisces and Saturn in Leo, close to the moon generated a lot of interest. The importance of International Year of Astronomy linking it historically to Galileo was the central theme. Leading organizing hand was Imran Rashid of KAS. Faculty and students both actively participated. Those who attended the session are as follows; students in normal font while faculty and others in italics

Rafay; Minahil
Iqbal; Anum Mumtaz; Huda
Rawji; Emaan
Asdar; Sinan Chawla; Adnan
Shehzad; Hamza Siddiqui; Myisha Soorty; Ali Tabba; Hasan Khan; Shahwaiz Saleem; Urooj
Lim; Ye Ran (Helen)
Bhura; Hasan Babar; Nadia Jahangir Khan; Mariam Von Atzigen; Joshua Avari; Perin
Ansari; Muhammad Shahmir Lobo; Danielle Marie Niazi; Muhammad Ali
Ansari; Mahnur
Hekal; Omnia
Amran; Alya
Khan; Ishaq Ali
Imran Rasheed Francois Taljaard Jerry Suarez Mumtaz Akbar Hanif Bela Mr. Adnan
Abubakr Shekhani Donovan Dorning Melanie Dorning Marike Taljaard Ahmed Abdullah

Event No. 3 Star Peace in Falcon Complex, Malir Cantonment, Karachi

Your browser may not support display of this image. Your browser may not support display of this image. On 1st May, Star Peace on international basis was arranged in Falcon Complex, Malir Cantt. There were three telescopes. Eight inch Meade SCT (blue color), 4 inch Japanese Bino Telescope by Vixen (white color) and 3" Adventurer and some binoculars. Observation was restricted to bright objects only. Sky was clear and seeing was good. Two presentations on power point; 'Lunar phases' by Mariam Gul (age 11 years). And 'Tonight's Sky' by Mohsin (age 28 years) were the academic activity. Some volunteers opted for any future programme. Most viewed items were Saturn, Moon, M13, and M57, the Ring Nebula. Multiple stars (Mizar and Alcor) were appreciated by many. Many liked the connection of astrology with astronomy. People came in groups, mostly as family units; children, ladies, and all ages. Telescopes were handled and managed by volunteers. Enthusiasm was excellent. The activity was linked with Hassaan Ghazali from Lahore and with Irene and Kazem from Iran. The core message of Starpeace was exchanged. The observation lasted till 0200 am (Saturday) local.

Event No. 4 Galilean Nights in Falcon Complex, Malir Cantonment, Karachi

Your browser may not support display of this image. Your browser may not support display of this image. The theme of Galilean nights was picked up from the IAU. Open air projections and presentations from volunteers gave a lot of color to the activity. Seeing the interest of the public the event was extended over second night. The star party was built upon the experiences of Star Peace of 1st May. There were many children who volunteered to talk on more serious topics. Four subjects “Jupiter”, “Phases of Moon”, “Saturn” and “Sun” were presented by children of various levels. The first night was so popular that people wanted it to continue for one more night. Groups and families came over from all localities of the Cantonment. The presentations were repeated on popular demand. Community centre provided all the logistic and administrative support. Total attendees were about 500 ranging from children to elders. On the second night amateur astronomers from Karachi city came to join in the more serious observations and discussions.  

Event No. 5 Roof Top, Gulistan e Jauhar

Your browser may not support display of this image. A small scale star party was held at a roof-top in Gulistan-e-Jauhar, Karachi, on Nov 11, 2009. A select group of serious astronomers of Karachi including Imran, Belal, Khalid, Mehdi, and Dr. Ashraf were present.  Zain Ahmed's absence was strongly felt. The main  instrument was Dr. Ashraf's Sky-watcher 100ED apochromatic refractor (seen here in the picture) on a Giro-3 Altazimuth mount. Other  instruments were Mr. Belal Tehseen's Sky-watcher 130mm Newtonian reflector, and Ayaz Hussain's Celestron 127EQ Newtonian reflector. Despite light pollution the surroundings sky was amazingly clear showing bright objects. Views of Jupiter were stunning with the 100mm Apochromat coupled with the Explorer scientific 100 degrees 14mm eye-piece. Other objects viewed were Orion M42 Nebula, Epsilon Lyrae quadruple system, Pleiades, and more. 

Your browser may not support display of this image. Event No. 6 Bagh e Gul farm Karachi

For the sheer beauty of the location, in a farm near Karachi, we got together on this lovely evening of 21st November in Bagh e Gul. The telescope was 8 inch Meade SCT and many families from Karachi drove down to experience the pleasures of watching Galilean Moons of Jupiter. The scientific logic behind their dance around the King of the Planets was the central academic theme. Environment of the farm is the best compromise that one can dream in Karachi; convenience of a short drive with the adequate required darkness for astronomy.

Event No. 7 Dallo Khel, Lakki Marwat

Your browser may not support display of this image. By far the most rewarding experience of the year was in the remote location of Dallo Khel, Lakki Marwat on 26th December. The only instrument was a set of Binoculars but the value of the evening cannot be matched by any other for the following four reasons. Firstly, the remoteness of the location, secondly the potentials of talking to budding astronomers of the future, thirdly the cultural impact of IYA, and fourthly and finally the amount of reach the activity had made. This was, therefore, an apt grand finale to the efforts for IYA. Many children and ladies of the village experienced and realized the value of astronomy. Due to cultural reasons, pictures could not be taken except for this one in which (from left to right) Hasnain, Aqib, and  Gul Sher are observing Pleiades. The cluster is well known in the village by a very imaginative name of Peroonay, in Pashto. The name literally means ‘precious beads strung together’. 

Event No. 8 Solar Eclipse of 15 Jan 2010, Karachi

Your browser may not support display of this image. Your browser may not support display of this image. Although the event falls outside the year, the impetus gained in IYA 2009 made it easy to generate effort and gather public interest. Karachi American School arranged the activity. Once again Imran Rashid was the contact person. A preliminary meeting to arrange the event was held a day in advance. Mrs Droege was the focal point of the event and she arranged the academis effort of the school.Volunteer students gave three presentaions; “Why we have eclipses”, “difference between total, annular, and partial clipses”, and “how to observe eclipses”. Pinhole box, the simple tool to observe, was made by the students. Meade 2080 with an appropriate filter and projection of the sun through Vixen ASBIT refracting telescope were the main observation set ups. A section of students queued up to observe under the supervision of Mrs Droege can be seen in the first picture. In the second picture the partial eclipse additionally shows an interesting chain of sun spots. This generated an additional set of questions. For a better glimpse of the event please see the video (http://www.flickr.com/photos/north-star/4275901155/) on flickr.