The Capital Development Authority (CDA) has approved land for the development of an observatory and a space museum in Shakarparian at the behest of the Ministry of Science and Technology.
The construction of the observatory is aimed at resolving the issue of moon sighting during Eid and Ramadan and will also enable astronomers to study the cosmos and celestial bodies.
Dr. Fazeel Mahmood Khan, an Associate Professor of Space Science at the Institute of Space Technology, has termed this move “a significant step towards creating interest among students for science and space technology”.
He added that this will be the first observatory that will be focused on the western approach to moonsighting.
Dawn.com quoted its sources saying that the CDA had recently approved an area of 261.11 square yards for the construction of the observatory where the fountain near the Pakistan Monument is located, with the approval summary stating that:
The Ministry of Science and Technology has started a pioneering initiative to establish an observatory in Shakarparian Hill Park which will enable students, researchers, and the general public to observe the moon and other celestial bodies. This observatory will also settle the long-standing issue of moon sighting in Ramazan.
As per the summary, the first floor of the building will be reserved for the museum that will include a display screen connected to a telescope installed for public viewing.
The Ministry of Science and Technology and the Institute of Space Technology will be responsible for the execution of the project and the running of the observatory.
Islamabad already has a telescope installed on the rooftop of the Institute of Space Technology near Zero Point on Islamabad Expressway. It is capable of observing the Solar System, the Milky Way, and the neighboring galaxies.