Friday, January 27, 2023

Islamabad to get an observatory, space museum

CDA’s board has approved the project which should soon get the nod from the federal government as well

An observatory and a space museum will be built in Islamabad at Shakarparian to resolve the moon sighting issue and allow astronomers the opportunity to study the cosmos and celestial bodies. Capital Development Authority’s (CDA) Board has approved the site as well on the request of the Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST).

The idea is to build the observatory on modern lines. Dr. Fazeel Mahmood Khan, an associate professor of space science at the Institute of Space Technology, said the observatory will follow western views of moon sighting. “This will be the first observatory focusing western views of moonsighting,” Khan said. He added that the facility will help in moon sighting and also help scientists in their research. It will also be useful for young students interested in space.

Support from the Federal Government

The federal government is fully supporting the project, which should accelerate the process. There has been a tiff between the current government and the Ruet-e-Hilal committee, a committee of clerics with the duty to sight moon on a monthly basis. The former convener of the committee Mufti Muneeb ur Rehman and the minister for science and technology Fawad Chaudhary often looked the proverbial horns and gave statements against each other about the moon’s sighting issues. Hopefully, this will now be a matter of the past.

CDA expects the project to be approved by the government without an issues after its own board gave the nod. “The federal government has already been supporting the project so its approval will be a formality. The main issue was the approval from the CDA Board which has been accorded,” an official said.

According to a Ministry of Science and Technology’s official, the provincial governments are also interested in similar projects and will likely be seeking guidance from the federal ministry.  

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