Monday, May 4, 2009

StarPeace event between 4 countries: We Want Peace!

“From Pasabandar, a border village in southeast of Iran, when we called our friends in Pakistan many voices from the other side of the line made the conversation difficult to hear. Hassaan Ghazali told us about exited people in Pakistan who observed the sky for the first time. They looked at the stars like us and they yelled repeatedly: "We want peace!"” told StarPeace Iran team.

To bring peace and science among people, StarPeace cooperators held a public stargazing party from four countries on May 1, 2009: Oman-Iran-Pakistan-India

Pasabandar, Iran

In Iran, StarPeace core team in cooperation with Astronomers of Southeast of Iran Society and Astronomy Society of Mehbaang mounted their telescopes among local inhabitants in Pasabandar, a coastal village in the most southeast part of Iran. StarPeace team mounted their telescopes in three locations in the village. Two telescopes were mounted near harbor. A lot of men and boys came there and among them were a lot of seamen; they knew most of constellations and stars in the sky the same way that we know but with different names.

Another telescope with a portable photo exhibition of 20 photos of "From Earth to the Universe" cornerstone project was located in the yard of village mosque; worshippers after saying their prayers came and enjoy the Moon and Saturn through the eyepiece and then went on a trip to the Universe, from Earth to the most distant galaxies through FETTU exhibition while one of the members of StarPeace explain them the photos.

Women and girls in Pasabandar village did not come out of their homes frequently, so StarPeace group brought two telescopes to their homes. In two houses, StarPeace team brought two telescopes and invited women and girls in neighboring houses to came and saw the sky, Moon and Saturn through eyepiece. The reactions were so interesting, some of them scared at first and did not come to see through the eyepiece, but when they saw the Moon finally they were surprised and laughed. There were also some girls who knew a little about astronomy and space and they were so eager to know more. StarPeace team gave the children some postcards and photos of astronauts and space stations which brought them joy and happiness.

Meanwhile, StarPeace cooperators from Pakistan, Lahore called Iran. They were organized a stargazing party in Lahore SOS children village. Children were so excited and happy and they yelled “We want peace!” Hassan Ghazali and Umair Asim organized the program in Lahore. In south of Pakistan, Khalid Marwat held another program in Karachi harbor. StarPeace in Iran called him and read the StarPeace message for them. StarPeace Iran contacted Manoj Pai in Ahmedabad, India too and shared greetings and peace message with him.

Karachi, Pakistan

Khalid Marwat held stargazing party for inhabitants of Karachi harbor. Around 250 visitors came from near locations to the observing venue on 1st May, Friday. Security situation in Karachi made the number much lesser.

Three telescopes and some binaculars were mounted. The most viewed item was Saturn, followed by the Moon. M13, the globular and M57, the Ring Nebula were liked by the late observers. Multiple star (Mizar and Alcor) were appreciated by many. It indeed opened their understanding of additional concepts about stars.

"Many liked the connection of astrology with astronomy. People with Leo as their astrology star liked to see Leo and appreciated the presence of Saturn in their constellation. " Khalid said.

Also there was a telescope working session in which Telescopes were handled and managed by volunteers who learnt to handle them the very night.

In the middle of the observation two lectures have been held: "Lunar Phases" by Mrim Gul, a 11 years old girl, that appreciated a lot by audience, and "Tonight's Sky" presentation in which Mohsin talked about the objects which was visible on that night and their astronomical details. The lectures proceeded by Q&A session which was excellent and very participative.

During the program Khalid Marwat talked with Hassaan Ghazali from Lahore and Kazem Kookaram from Iran and received StarPeace message, " which was very imaginative, thought provoking and overwhelmingly wonderful", Khalid told.

The observation lasted till 0200 am (Saturday) in local time.

The observation on first night of Friday was liked so much by the public that it was continued for the next Saturday evening too. It was the same show but the visitors this time were from farther localities that came to know about the star party. 350 visitors came this time.

Lahore, Pakistan

Banners were set up in Lahore: “One Sun, One Earth, No Borders!” Hassaan Ghazali and Umair Asim in cooperation with two other astronomers mounted three telescopes in the Lahore Planetarium. Planetarium visitors and the public were treated to fantastic views of the planet Saturn and the Moon. People were also mesmerized by views of craters on the Earth's Moon and the seas of solidified lava which are not discernible to the unaided eye. Also with a green laser pointer StarPeace Lahore pointed at the constellations in the sky and explained them to the public. Umair said: “People were very interested to see ‘their’ stars.”

Also children from Lahore SOS village joined them at the program. They were thrilled to see planets and various craters of the moon. Around 300 people participated in the program that night.

During the event, Hassaan Ghazali from the Society of the Sun led the exchange of greetings with counterpart astronomers over the phone. “A message of peace from a group of enthusiastic children from SOS children's villages was relayed to them. The message was three simple words uttered by every Pakistani, every day--"We Want Peace!"” Hassaan told.

Ahmedabad, India

In India Manoj Pai and two other astronomers in Ahmedabad put up one telescope with a pair of binoculars for a group of 30 interested visitors.

Manoj Pai told: “Not all of the visitors were actually aware that groups in other countries were also observing the same object. They got excited when we told them about it. The interesting thing that some of them had asked was whether the moon looked the same way as it did to all of you. To others it was like people from different countries playing the same game in an international competition like Olympics.”

StarPeace team from Iran called Manoj Pai too; but it was a little late and the program was over. Even though, they shared the peace message: “The moon was looking down at us over here. It was looking down the same way at you too.”

Bhuj, India

Narendra Sagar Gor in Bhuj, a city near Pakistan and India border held a star party for their group members; they observed the Moon and Saturn and discussed about peace promotion and astronomy.

Muscat, Oman

With Oman, StarPeace covered north and south of the Oman Sea with four countries. Dr. Saleh Said Al-Shidhani held a star party in Muscat for the public. Around 80 visitors enjoyed observing the Moon and Saturn by two telescope which was mounted in a garden. Also lectures about astronomy were held for the public.

StarPeace wishes for a borderless world, what is the real face of our Earth; just like the Sky above us.

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