Sky Watchers of the Astronomy Town
In a late autumn night of Saadat Shahr, a small farming town in Fars province of Iran, two young amateur astronomers enjoy the beauty of night sky. Behind them stars of constellation orion rise from the east. Taurus and the Pleiades star cluster stand above Orion. Capella is the bright star on the left with constellation Perseus above it. 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 historic astronomers. © Babak Tafreshi