In a summer early morning under starry sky of Iran’s Fars province, near the town of Saadat Shahr, winter constellations rise above Wild Pistachio trees. Move the slider on the image to see the sky guidelines and labels. To the left of the observer the prominent stars of Orion (the Hunter) rise from the east. Taurus (the Bull) and the Pleiades star cluster are higher above. The bright “star” near the left edge is planet Mars. To the right of the observer the long celestial river, constellation Eridanus, dominates the south eastern sky.
Saadat Shahr, located close to Pasargadae World Heritage, is known as Astronomy Town in Iran because of a great passion to astronomy and skygazing among locals. Astronomy is involved with everyday life and culture here, after years of broad activity by the town’s astronomy association which also resulted in Astronomical Society of Pacific 2006 Amateur Outreach Award for the main popularizer. Many wedding ceremonies end with star party and telescopic observation in Saadat Shahr; they occasionally switch off the whole town for their public observations; some taxis, doctors, and bakeries are free during the astronomy week; they have weekly sky report after the Friday’s prayers in the main mosque; and they have named some of their streets after astronomers of the history. © Babak Tafreshi