Photo Report: TWAN Exhibition in Doha
The World at Night major educational exhibition during the first Doha International Astronomy Conference (2013 Feb. 10-13) in the Qatar National Convention Centre was TWAN’s first event in the southern shores of the Persian Gulf. Aimed to boost interest to astronomy in the general public, specially in the visiting groups of students and children. The exhibition was created based on 40 stands, each 2-meter long with an educational description and a regional map of the Earth at Night which marks the imaging location. This collection of nightscape images from all 7 continents were carefully selected to display every aspect of practical astronomy, from constellations to the motion and appearance of moon and planets in the sky, from meteors showers and bright comets to conjunctions and eclipses. Like most other TWAN exhibits this collection highlighted the importance of night sky as an essential part of our life and nature which is now affected by light pollution above 2/3 of the human population. Astronomy outreach activities in Qatar is recently started thanks to a research program known as the Qatar Exoplanet Survey funded by the Qatar Foundation.
The first Doha Astronomy Conference, organized by astronomers Khalid Alsubai (the founder of Qatar Exoplanet Survey) and Martin Dominik (University of St Andrews, Scotland) was focused on extra-solar planet research and brought scientists from across the world but the conference was also an opportunity to popularize astronomy in the country. A public talk by world-known astronomer Lord Martin Rees opened the event and along with TWAN exhibit, public observing program and astronomy for kids educational sessions were presented during the week by the Emirates Mobile Observatory and recently formed amateur astronomy group known as Qatar Astronomy Club. The mobile observatory by amateur astronomer and astronomy educator Nezar Sallam from Abu Dhabi was a highlight of the program. This self-built public observatory inside a van is an innovative program in the Middle East.
The TWAN educational exhibition in Doha remained with the Qatar Foundation for a traveling display in Qatar and would be available to astronomy outreach events in the country. All Photos by Babak Tafreshi, TWAN.