Tharparkar District, located in southeastern Sindh, Pakistan, spans across an arid desert landscape covering an area of 19,637 square kilometers and have sparse population around 17 million. The region boasts a significant historical background with ancient civilizations and a vibrant cultural heritage. Despite the challenging living conditions, the resilient population relies on innovative farming methods and traditional underground wells to combat water scarcity.
The mobile observatory will visit a maximum number of schools, conducting astronomy education sessions and stargazing. This initiative aims to harness quality of education and economic opportunities by leveraging the unique characteristics of desert environments, such as clear skies and minimal light pollution. Another aspect of the project is to elevate the potential of astrotourism and bolster the local economy. The desert boasts breathtaking landscapes, ancient rocky hills, and an air of mystique, attracting thousands of tourists annually (in winter and post-monsoon). Furthermore, idea is to setup one or two key heritage sites with telescopes and other related accessories allowing visitors to explore the wonders of the desert night sky. Moreover, training sessions related to operation and maintenance of the telescopes will be conducted for heritage site community.
Following the successful completion of this project in Tharparkar district, we are eager about further expanding our efforts in astronomy education and outreach, advocating for astrotourism, and raising awareness about light pollution through our mobile observatory in various remote areas of Pakistan in the future.