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An Academic Astronomical Observatory in Djebel Orbata, Gafsa (Tunisia): A proposal toward dark sky exploration

Author(s): M.El Yazidi(1,2,3), W.Jomni(4), I.Titouhi(5,6), A.El Fadhel(6), S.Ayari(2,3), A. Zribi(4), R.Hamdeni(4), M.Hassiki(4), F.Hani(2), Y.Tahri(2), A.Bhief(2), L.Akrout(7), O.Mannai(2), J.El Jeri(8), A.Loudhaief(9), S.Elouati(7), T.Ennafti(2,3), R.Ben Nessib(5), Z.Jouini(2), M.Zied(10), S.Ben Hadj Slimene(2), A.Bachtobji(12), L.Jardak(4), K.Segni(11), T.Basly(4), M.Wael. Sghayer(13) & F.Roger(14)

Affiliations:(1)Center for Studies and Activities for Space "G. Colombo"- CISAS (2)Tunisian Association of Young Astronomers-TAYA (3)Faculty of Sciences, University Tunis El Manar (4)Youth and Science Association of Tunisia-AJST-Tunis branch (5)Tunis Science City-TSC (6)Tunisian Space Association-TUNSA (7)Youth and Science Association of Tunisia-AJST- Djerba branch (8)The Tataouine branch of Tunis Sciences City in Tunisia (9)Astronomy Club of Enfidha (10)AstroMed Astronomy Club of Medjez el Bab (11)Youth and Sciences Association of Kairouan-AJSKair (12)Youth and Science Association of Tunisia, Kelibib branch (13)Tunisian Propulsion Laboratory (14)Paris Institute of Astrophysics

Contact: mayssa.elyazidi@unipd.it

Abstract: The project of an astronomical observatory in Djebel Orbata, is an academic proposal that we aim to realize in partnership with national and international Universities, Institutes and research centers, to give the opportunity for students and researchers to continue their studies in the field of astronomy, as well help to implement astronomy and astrophysics courses inside Tunisian universities, remote future collaborative research projects and enjoy the low light pollution environment for science and exploration. The southern regions of Tunisia present very favorable conditions for astronomical observations because of an abundance of clear dark skies, which presents an ideal case for developing astronomical observatories, particularly in a desert environment. Presently, astronomy is still absent inside universities in Tunisia. Thus, this project is a starting point to move the first generation of astronomers in Tunisia forward, share the culture of space sciences and astrophysics, and sensitize people regarding the importance of this field for the development of quality of education and the society. For many years, there was little initiative to create an astronomical observatory or to purchase quality equipment for research, and part of it was due to the inability for the media to simplify this kind of science and connect it to the public and society. Since approximately 1981, the Youth and Science Association of Tunisia-AJST (Nabeul Club) in collaboration with some students from the Higher National Engineering School of Tunis-ENSIT, succeeded to build the first astronomical observatory in Tunisia (Fig.1). The selection of the observatory site was not very adequate, which ended up damaging the building because of high humidity. The observatory is currently not functioning, and it has been preserved as a historical monument for many years. The second tentative was by the Youth and Science Association of Tunisia-AJST (Djerba Club) in August 2018, where they succeeded to construct an observatory in Houmt El Souk, Djerba (Fig.2), under a very dark stunning sky and an easily accessible location. The astronomical observatory of Djerba is dedicated to outreach activities and public events.

References:

  • [1] M.El Yazidi., I.Titouhi., R.Ben Nessib., W.Jomni., R.Hamdeni., K.Segni., L.Jardak., Y.Tahri., A.Bhief., L.Akrout., S.Elouati., A.El Fadhel., A. Zribi., T.Basly., A.Bachtobji., M.Hassiki., M.Zied., S.Ben Hadj Slimene., O.Mannai. IAU CAP Conference. (2021)
  • [2] M.El Yazidi., N. Slim Shimi., N. Laridhi Ouazaa., S.Debei. 30th General Assembly of the IAU.FM15.140.(2018)
  • [3] The report of the International Year of Astronomy (IYA 2009).3
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