Stargazing enthusiasts gather for festival
Amateurs and professional astronomers gathered on Aug. 1 in Turkey's Mediterranean resort city of Antalya where an annual festival kicked off.
The National Sky Observation Festival hosted at the Saklıkent Ski Resort at an altitude of 2,000 meters (6,560 feet) will run through Aug. 4.
Turkey's Industry and Technology Minister Mustafa Varank said at the inauguration ceremony that this was not an ordinary summer camp but "a future simulator that will broaden horizons".
“When you look through telescopes, you will not only see planets, but also your future,” Varank said.
Turkey's Sports and Youth Minister Mehmet Kasapoğlu said the festival is an opportunity to draw attention to scientific research and raise awareness for youth.
“We are proud of our scientists who carry out astronomical research and our young people who are productive in technology, science and commerce,” Kasapoğlu said.
“We need to promote such organizations to let our youth become powerful in every aspect of life,” he added.
Hasan Mandal, the head of the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK), said at least 1,000 people are attending the festival, the youngest being a 6-month baby and the oldest 71 years old.
“We work hard to create awareness about science and technology,” Mandal said.
Münir Karaloğlu, the governor of Antalya, said the aim of the festival is to introduce Turkish youth to scientific research and make them curious about space science.
Amateurs as well as professional astronomers attended the festival.
Among the attendees were Mesut Yilmaz, an astrophysicist at Ankara University, and Umut Yıldız, an astrophysicist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab.
Apart from seminars, the festival will host observatories equipped with telescopes where visitors can look at the planets and other celestial bodies.
The festival is organized by TÜBİTAK and sponsored by the Sports and Youth Ministry, the Eastern Mediterranean Development Agency (DOĞAKA), mobile network giant Turkcell and satellite operator Turksat.