Sherab Lhamo

On March 7, Bhutan revealed its first telescope, called Celestron CPC 800.

The Bhutan Astronomical Society (BAS) was formed on February 21. Its goal is to encourage the learning and exploration of astronomy and space sciences in Bhutan. It also aims to motivate young Bhutanese students to consider careers in astronomy and related areas.

The celestron 800 is an 8-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope with Celestron’s StarBright XLT coating, a multi-layer mirror coatings. It has a 9×50 finderscope to help locate objects.

The team captured an image using a 40mm lens from Scouts Centre in Paro

The team consists of 144 members, which includes students, teachers, government workers, people from private and corporate sectors, as well as individuals who are currently not employed.

On March 12, the Bhutan Astronomical Society held its inaugural training session in Paro. Three officials from the Department of Telecom and Space, along with four other society members, attended the session. The training was led by Joseph Wise, an astronomer from the Santa Monica Astronomy Club.

The Society welcomes anyone who is passionate about space and interested in astronomy.

A team member said that in the first year, the Society plans to organise astronomy workshops, stargazing sessions, and public lectures. It will also participate in science fairs, conduct outreach programmes, collaborate with educational institutions, maintain an online presence, organise member meetings, and seek international partnerships.

The Society also aims to start a dark sky awareness campaign to preserve clear night skies from light pollution. Their aim is to establish dark sky map of the country by scientifically measuring light intensity across the country and sharing that information to take action.

This campaign will be launched later this year, as they are currently developing the necessary tools and mechanisms for measurement.

On February 29, the team hosted their first event, a virtual talk on NASA’s Dawn mission by Marc Rayman, a lifelong space enthusiast. The talk covered topics such as Vesta, Ceres, and insights into the inner solar system.

“To ensure the society’s future, we will seek funding from the GovTech Agency, collaborate with private companies, and encourage active participation and volunteering among our members,” said the team member.

Yeshey Choden, one of the founders of the society said using this telescope is both technically efficient and economically feasible for amateur astronomers. They successfully captured an image using a 40mm lens from Scouts Centre in Paro.