Soheil Salimi


Global Astronomy Month 2013

Sa’adat Shahr is the capital of Pasargad County, located close to Pasargad World Heritage, Fars Province, Iran. Many wedding ceremonies end with star party and telescopic observation in Sa’adat Shahr. Some taxis, doctors, and bakeries are free during the astronomy week [the final week of each Global Astronomy Month]; we have weekly sky report after the Friday's prayers in the main mosque. (1)
Sa’adat Shahr is also known as Astronomy Town, as the inhabitants have demonstrated a remarkable passion for sky gazing. (2)

I’m proud to say I met Mr. Mike Simmons “Founder-President of Astronomers Without Borders” at Qeshm StarFestival on Dec, 2012.His great lecture on light pollution – the problems and possible solutions –encouraged me to focus on Dark Sky Awareness in GAM2013. I was honored to be Executive Director of GAM in “Astronomical Society of Pasargad Sky” (ASPS) for the second time in Sa’adat Shahr.

Global Astronomy Month (GAM) is a great opportunity to involve other people with sky by combining astronomy in variety cultural events such as Nowruz and Sizdah-bedar in Iran.
Nowruz and Astronomy were celebrated near the tomb of Cyrus the Great (Pasargad) in GAM2012. You can read the report of our activities in the last year

Sizdah-bedar is a day to celebrate people’s friendship with nature and it shows that the Iranians have attached to and have been fond of the natural beauties of the environment all throughout their history.
In Sizdah-bedar many Friends of the Environment try to inform people how they can protect the Environment. So I talked about the Dark Sky, Light Pollution and its negative impacts on the environment, wildlife, human health, energy, and safety.

Environmental impacts resulting from transportation infrastructures have been the subject of research for many years. One environmental aspect of transportation facilities largely ignored is that of light pollution. In many areas light pollution has become an important aspect of both planning and design. Neighborhoods are becoming more sensitive to the stray light that is being directed towards their property and windows. Astronomers and observatories are becoming more concerned with the increase in the sky glow around urban areas. (5)

DSC09776 DSC09755

Most of the times Sizdah-bedar coincides with the first day of April (GAM), we put a telescope in popular places in outdoors around Sa’adat Shahr.


Mr. Asghar Kabiri the Manager of “Astronomical Society of Pasargad Sky” who accomplished 2006 Amateur Outreach Award (3) introduced
Solar system, Sun and its position in the universe in comparison to other stars. “He is more than an interested teacher and amateur astronomer in Sa’adat-Shahr. Quiet and unassuming, he is one of the most active amateurs and popularizers of astronomy in Iran and the driving force behind his hometown’s astronomical activities”.(4)

Children who had the first experience to see the Sun by Eclipse Glasses shouted “Wow”!

DSC09706 DSC09803

Finally I could take an amazing photo when the Sun was saying Good Bye and hid behind mountains.
Sizdeh-bedar Sizdeh-bedar

           Turn The Lights Off Please, We Have Star Party!

Since many years ago people of Sa'adat Shahr are very familiar with Astronomy and it's the result of Mr. Kabiri's efforts in my city. It's very usual to turn off the lights of city to observe the sky in Public Star Parties.
“Still, the astronomers will sometimes request the help of the town in dimming lights when a public star party is scheduled. The local government gave its assistance for one particularly important event -- they simply cut the electricity to the entire town. This was an exception but it shows the unprecedented commitment to astronomy that this town has made.” Mike Simmons said in his website. (4)

           UP AWB14       
I never forget the story that Mr. Simmons said in his wonderful lecture in Qeshm StarFestival about an earthquake and Milky Way in the Los Angeles. “We experienced a very large earthquake in the Los Angeles many years ago. And it happened in the night, very early in the morning and still dark. And the police and the local observatories had lots of calls from people who was saying there was some sort of light in the sky and they was wondering what was wrong, It was the Milky Way” Mike said.

At the end of the lecture he actually surprised me. After introducing Mr. Kabiri and I to audiences Mr. Simmons said the memory of his first visit to Sa'adat-shar. “I asked Mr. Kabiri what do you do in your Star Parties?” He said. “So, we turn off the electricity to the whole town to keep the sky dark” Mr. Kabiri replied normally!

Turning off the lights of a city in Public Star Parties is a dream for many astronomers around the world. Even it seems impossible in big cities such as Tehran in Iran or Los Angeles in the United States but fortunately it have happened here since some many years ago!

And this lovely event repeated once again in the "International Dark Sky Week"-April 5-11- during GAM2013! Maybe the idea of turning off the lights (at least in main streets) in each IDSWeek can remind other citizens the treasure of Dark Sky in modern life-style.
  Sa’adat Shahr before and after the Star Party-The lights of main streets turned off

We started our Outreach Activities even earlier than GAM2013 because Nowruz Holidays are started in March. We had a program in Pasargad to spread the motto of AWB with tourists around the world and Iranian passengers, One People * One Sky.

           According to GAM2013 Programs we shared the beauties of heavens with other citizens in Sa’adat Shahr. Some videos about the Space, Astronomy and ways that we can control the effects of light pollutions were presented by laptop.


Light pollution is becoming an increasing problem in our modern urbanized society and must be dealt with. For many years it has been generally overlooked by engineers, possibly because items such as air and water pollution have attracted much more attention from the public. As 35% to 50% of all light pollution is caused by roadway lighting it now becomes the responsibility of the traffic engineer to face the problem and find solutions. (5)

I also talked about the citizen-scientist project of “Globe at Night” to audiences.

Mr. Kabiri introduced the constellations to families and citizens. Many children extremely focused to the information of constellations because the Green Laser was a lovely attraction instrument for them. Mr. Kabiri gifted all of them some pictures of planets, solar system and astronomical events.
GAM2013 GAM2013

No matter where we live, no matter we are men or women, old or young, everyone enjoy the sky and have one motto:

One People, One Sky
GAM2013 GAM2013


                                                                             Clear skies
                                                           Astronomical Society of Pasargad Sky






(5) Environmental Effects of Roadway Lighting-by Carl Shaflik, BASc, PEng- Technical Paper prepared at University of British Columbia, Department of Civil Engineering


    You need to be logged in to leave a comment

    About Me

    Soheil Salimi was born on July 5, 1992 in Shiraz . From an early age, he has loved the environment and civil engineering. This great passion for engineering has led to an ambition to choose civil engineering as his major in academic studies. He entered Fasa University and achieved many awards during his undergraduate program such as Top Student of the Year Award in Civil Engineering and also ranked himself as the Excellent Student of Civil Engineering, Class of 2014. Soheil started his MSc. in Environmental Engineering at Shiraz University, Iran; and after awarding "Université Paris-Saclay International...


    Location:Shiraz, Fars
    Iran (Islamic Republic of)