The largest astronomical observatory set up at the St. MM Xavier's College in Kolkata, has been given a face-lift for re-establishment. This astronomical observatory, the largest in any educational institutions in India, is also one of the oldest observatories in Asia. The observatory is all set to launch again and in a while may open to the public as well, at weekends, as informed an official statement issued by the college principal.
There are 2 two observatories under the same establishment - the astronomy observatory for nighttime observations and a young and new solar observatory meant for experiments in daytime.
The one that has been revamped with 'Advanced Technology Hemispherical Rotating Motorised Dome' for studying celestial observations at nighttime was inaugurated lately.
The Principal, Father Felix Raj, said that the older structure have been dismantled and conserved for its heritage value. The new observatory with newest features will be made to use shortly, he said.
The recently revamped observatory was established in 1865 by Father Eugene Lafont and it has remained out of action for around 120 years. This observatory had also predicted the cyclone in 1867.
Besides, Observatory, the Astronomy Observatory Dome as well is the largest in India, having a diameter of 24 feet and height of 15 feet.
‘Astro Creations’ and ‘Impex Pvt. Ltd’, the Bangalore-based engineering companies, restored the observatories, incurring expenses of around Rs. 1 crore.
The observatory aims to study observational sciences and computational astrophysics research, outreach programs for school students, exchange programs and workshops and astronomy projects for B. Sc students.