Powerless KU misses solar eclipse
Karachi, Jan 05: The Institute of Space and Planetary Astrophysics (ISPA) at the University of Karachi on Tuesday missed out on the opportunity to observe a partial solar eclipse due to a power failure and the fact that there was no alternate source to generate electricity. Recently, the generator which provided alternate power to the ISPA was stolen from campus.
The University of Karachi's astronomy enthusiasts, researchers and faculty-members concerned with the field of Astrophysics, were all deprived of observing the event.
The partial solar eclipse was visible from Europe, North Africa, Middle East and Central Asia, including the whole of Pakistan, with a maximum 13 per cent obscuration of the solar disk.
Dr Jamil Kazmi, the ISPA Director said that unfortunately, the generator at the institute necessary for movement of the telescope had been stolen, depriving them of the opportunity to observe and take pictures of the partial solar eclipse.
He said that during the partial eclipse phenomenon on Tuesday, there was no electricity at the institute due to a local electricity fault. Dr Kazmi said that electric supply is essential to move the 13-inch diameter telescope that is otherwise fully functional and is ready to use for important astronomical observations like solar and lunar eclipses.
He said that owing to size of the telescope, it could not be moved manually.
A few days ago, the University of Karachi has been exempted from power load shedding as a goodwill gesture by Karachi Electric Supply Company. But the ISPA suffered an electricity failure during the eclipse phenomenon due to a fault in the electric supply system on campus.
The ISPA director said that it was there regular practice to observe and take pictures of similar solar and lunar eclipses and provide them to the media. "Unfortunately, we failed to do the same this time", said Dr Kazmi.
The theft of the generator from the KU institute once again highlighted lack of
security on campus which often affects the smooth running of academic and teaching activities.
The Pakistan Space & Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) had earlier announced that in Karachi on January 04, 2010, the partial solar eclipse would start at 2:02 pm, with greatest eclipse at 2:46 pm, while the partial eclipse would end at 3:25 pm. In Karachi, 3.3 percent of solar disk would be covered.
According to SUPARCO, the maximum solar disk coverage in Pakistan would be in Peshawar where the eclipse would cover 12.2 percent solar disk.
FAST University clarifies news item
Islamabad: This is with reference to a news story published, headlined 'HEC asks Sindh governor to suspend charter of FAST Varsity.'
A press release issued by FAST National University of Computer & Emerging Sciences Registrar Dr. Mohammad Latif Virk says: "The title of the story is incorrect and gives misleading information regarding FAST National University. FAST University, we would like to clarify, is the brand name of the National University of Computer and Emerging Sciences chartered by the federal government and sponsored by the Foundation for Advancement of Science and Technology (FAST). As such, it is commonly known as FAST National University all over Pakistan and abroad."
He said that the title of the story bears absolutely no relevance to its contents, which actually pertain to the University of Engineering, Arts, Science and Technology (EAST). The story was perhaps unintentionally attributed to FAST instead of the University of EAST.
The misleading heradline has caused serious damage to the name of the FAST University, which is rated as top class university by the Higher Education Commission. "It has brought disrepute to our name and created doubts in the minds of thousands of students who are studying in the university and their parents," he added. The news