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News Updates » 21 October 2009


Galilean Nights in Iran

One of the main interests of Iranian amateur astronomy groups is holding the popular observing and star parties. On Astronomy day and during space week many great observing events were held all across the country in public places such as parks, science centres, cultural houses and everywhere that was possible!

During the 100 Hours of Astronomy (100HA) more than 70 events were held in Iran. Many people used this opportunity to take their first look into the sky. The first day of 100 HA was matched with a Persian national holiday – The Nature Day). Traditionally on this day all family members leave their houses and go out into nature. This was a very good opportunity for astronomy groups  to hold their events in public natural places and because of this many people took part and 100 HA became one of the most interesting popular astronomy events in Iran.

So, when the Galilean Nights project was announced, an organising group started to work.

This group is learning from the experiences of 100 HA and other social events and made much information available to all groups, invited groups to for hold activities, wrote some guide lines and shared the materials that may be needed for this event. They also advertised Galilean Nights through the mass media.

Many events in Iran must get permission from some authorities so Galilean Nights task group in Iran along with support from Astronomical Society of Iran (ASI) wrote recommendations for them to get their permissions easily.

We launched a Persian weblog at to share the information and data with people. The translation of some materials such as Power Point presentations, Posters and guides are published there and also with the support of Night Sky (Aseman-e-Shab) weekly astronomical TV Show and also some newspaper such as Jam-e-Jam daily newspaper and NOJUM magazine (the astronomy magazine of Iran) we introduced this event to the public. 

It is a very good opportunity for us to remember the people and also astronomical groups about the history of astronomy and because of this we wrote some articles on the background of Galileo’s life and the importance of his discoveries, these were published the on weblog.

Many groups have joined us in celebrating Galilean Nights. By now about 60 events have been announced all around the country. These events are run independently by different groups, with the ASI and GN task group to help them if needed.

Events are taking place in public ares such as parks, science centres, and even historical places. In Tehran a group is hosting the party in the yard of historical Golestan Palace. It was the Royal palace of the Ghajar Dynasty in the heart of Tehran. This palace also has  a very interesting astronomical background: the first Iranian to study modern astronomy at the Paris observatory about 150 years ago – Moshaver al molk, held star parties in the grounds of the palace for the King and his family. Pejman Nouruzi, who is organising this event, told us that the museum of Golestan expect to hold an exhibition of historical astronomical tools.

Most events will contain of telescopic observations, photo exhibitions, speeches and slideshows.

In the background of this event, Iranian astronomers will try to show the beauty of the sky and the glory of the starry night to people and show them that our world is much bigger than we think. The glory of the sky can lead us to better understanding of our place in the world and make our world a better place for all who share this living blue globe.

Pouria Nazemi
Galilean Nights Local Contact in Iran