Astronomy Tourist Region of Seh Qaleh (Three-Castle) (Observation of Stars in Desert)
Seh Qaleh County, dependent to Sarayan city in north-west of Southern Khorasan is located in the margin of Central Desert of Iran. According to surveys of Astronomical Society of Iran, amateur branch manager, Mr. Moti’ee, this region is capable to be a typical astronomical tourist area due to following reasons:
1- Having starry and dark sky: According to data compiled by the experts of Astronomical Society of Iran during consecutive years, stars with limiting magnitude of 7.2 can be observed in Seh Qaleh, hence when compared with limiting magnitude of the darkest part of the Earth (about 7.5) there is one of the darkest and starriest skies of our planet. As well, according to investigations, Seh Qaleh observation station has an acceptable condition for establishment of telescopes with at least one meter objective diameter (much larger than telescopes used by amateur astronomers), in terms of indicators affecting the selection of a site for performing specific observations of the sky, including seeing, wind speed, height, etc.
2- Seh Qaleh region is very low and cloudy, so the number of nights with clear sky is so far from the normal needs of amateur astronomers. Experiences of night observations there, for instance ninth Messier Observatory competition of Iran, showed that when the dust storm spoiled the possibility of stars observation near the observation station, amateur astronomers had experienced a starry night and a memorable observation in this region.
3- Despite being located in an untapped area, the predicted region has the highest level of security and cooperation of local communities and authorities, especially in Seh Qaleh County and city and Sarayan city.
4- The Seh Qaleh region can be the most accessible point having dark and starry sky in Iran via air or ground.
5- Complementary tourism attractions of the region like beautiful desert landscapes and desert architecture, ancient traditions, hospitable people and so on, turn the predicted region in Seh Qaleh to a paradise for astronomy tourists.
6- The presence of a large number of active amateur astronomers particularly in areas such as Mashhad metropolice and Khorasan Razavi, Sistan and Baluchestan and Southern Khorasan and vicinity of this astronomical site to a number of target tourism markets in local stable scale, have resulted in relatively constant presence of significant groups of astronomy tourists in the region.
It should be noted that, in addition to mentioned deserts, Boshrooyeh Desert (sand plains, Petergan playa, Mohammdabad playa, Mareh Zangi (rattlesnake) playa for desert trekking tourism), Sahlabad Nehbandan and Nehbandan Kaji salt lagoon (regarding the rich vegetation including zygophyllum, tamarix, saxaul, atriplex and wildlife of Golden Eagle, Persian Ground Jay and so on which are susceptible for holding photography tourists to Nehbandan Kaji salt lagoon) are other desert areas of the province that could have an important role in the development of the potential deserts.