A 16-inch Telescope installed at ISPA

The Institute of Space and Planetary Astrophysics (ISPA), University of Karachi, on Monday installed a new 16-inch telescope at ISPA Observatory. The Chairman, Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (Suparco), Major General Amer Nadeem and the KU Vice-Chancellor Professor Dr. Khalid Mahmood Iraqi jointly inaugurate the project.

Inaugural Ceremony

An inaugural ceremony was also attended by the members SUPARCO and ISPA, Dean Faculty Sciences Professor Dr. Tabassum Mehboob, Dean Faculty Pharmacy Professor Dr. Raheela Ikram, faculty members of various departments, the Founding Director ISPA Professor Dr. Javed Qamar, students and field experts.

The up-gradation work, automation of dome and fixation of 16-inch diameter computerized Meade telescope, and renovation of the observatory building have been completed by SUPARCO. The project was completed with Rs6 million and it has the ability to keep records of 65, 000 astronomical objects while with the help of its ‘go-to technology’ certain astronomic object could be focus immediately.

The Chairman, Suparco, Maj General Amer Nadeem, said that once he took over the charge last year, this was one of the projects, which he thought needed to be done on priority.  “We took up several steps and eventually we completed the task and now jointly inaugurated the project.”

An inaugural ceremony was also attended by the members SUPARCO and ISPA, Dean Faculty Sciences Professor Dr. Tabassum Mehboob, Dean Faculty Pharmacy Professor Dr. Raheela Ikram, faculty members of various departments, and the Founding Director ISPA Professor Dr. Javed Qamar

Maj General Amer Nadeem shared that in his opinion, the research work would be as good as the equipment which is available for students and faculty and therefore with the installation and commissioning of this telescope quality of research at ISPA would further increase.

“Suparco will continue to assist ISPA and other departments of the University of Karachi. We can further support research work in the domain in space sciences and other fields which then eventually contributes to the space program.”

Meanwhile, the KU VC Professor Dr Khalid Iraqi, while expressing his gratitude to the Chairman of Suparco, Major General Amer Nadeem, member of Suparco Amir Iqbal for participating in the inauguration ceremony of the installation of this new telescope at ISPA observatory, said that he was grateful to Suparco for their financial support to upgrade the existing ISPA Observatory.

“I am pleased to know that ISPA and SUPARCO are collaborating for promoting space science education. We would like to see ISPA reaching new heights in the upcoming future.”

Chairman SUPARCO Maj Gen Amir Nadeem presenting a shield to Pro Dr. Khalid Mehmood in inaugural ceremony

He expressed that development in space research during the past decades has been responsible to bring about revolutionary concepts and advances in long-distance reliable communications, remote sensing of earth’s resources and environment, planetary science, astronomy, and cosmology.

He shared that ISPA is providing education of space science to undergraduate students and conducting research programs for the graduates.

The KU VC Professor Dr. Khalid Iraqi mentioned that up-gradation of the Observatory is a notable achievement of ISPA. This new telescope having 16-inch diameter will provide an excellent opportunity for our students and faculty members for observing astronomical events and carrying out research in the field of Observational Astronomy.

Earlier, the Director ISPA Professor Dr. Muhammad Jawed Iqbal informed the audience that SUPARCO and ISPA signed the MOU for upgrading the existing astronomical observatory with a larger modern telescope in comparison with the existing one.

“We can observe planets of our solar system including Mars, Saturn, moons of Jupiter and astronomical events like the transit of Venus, eclipse Nebula like ring nebula, Orion nebula nearby Galaxies Andromeda Large Magellanic Cloud and Small Magellanic Cloud.”

He said that the main objective of this project is to undertake collaborative research studies and students projects between Suparco and ISPA. The upgraded astronomical observatory would also support space awareness and education programs for students, the general public and media. 

He expressed that the automation of dome, fixation of 16 inch Meade telescope and renovation of the observatory building has been completed successfully while all costs associated with this project was provided by SUPARCO.

Professor Dr. Muhammad Jawed Iqbal mentioned that the former Chairman Suparco Maj Gen Bilal Ahmed had played a significant role in this project. We have signed MoU during his tenure and it was Maj General Bilal who had initiated collaboration of Suparco with ISPA.

The Director ISPA Dr. Jawed said that Maj General Bilal had appreciated the efforts of ISPA for promoting education and research in the fields of space science. He termed that the installation of this 16-inch telescope is a milestone for the University of Karachi.

He told the participants that it is an optical telescope which is used to observe light wave portion of the spectrum coming from the astronomical objects, while a radio telescope studies portion of the electromagnetic spectrum emitted by astronomical objects.

He added that ISPA is also planning to install a small radio telescope as Higher Education Commission release the grant of our approved project. He informed that one of his Ph.D. students is doing research on dark matter and ISPA has recently published an article on accelerated expansion of the universe in European journal of physics.

Later, the chief guest, Chairman Suparco Maj General Amer Nadeem and KU VC Professor Dr. Khalid Iraqi unveil the plaque and planted a sapling at the ISPA Observatory.

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