Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel on 30 March 2016 remotely launched Asia's biggest telescope, the Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES) which is located at Devasthal near Nainital in Uttarakhand.
The telescope is the product of an Indo-Belgian collaborative effort and was assisted by the Russian Academy of Sciences.
It will replace Vainu Bappu Observatory in Kavalur, Tamil Nadu to be Asia’s largest ground-based optical telescope.
Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES) or Devasthal telescope
• It is the largest optical telescope of its kind in Asia.
• It will be used to study star structures and magnetic field structures of stars.
• India produced this telescope in collaboration with a Belgian company called AMOS (Advanced Mechanical and Optical Systems) to build and install the mirrors in 2007
• The telescope with a 3.6-metre-wide primary mirror will collect light from its field of view and focus it onto a 0.9-m secondary mirror from where it will be diverted to various detectors for analysis. This arrangement, called the Ritchey-Chrétien design.
• It is located in a relatively advantageous position at a peak 2.5 km high in the Western Himalaya and 50 kilometers west of Nainital.
• It will be able to log the physical and chemical properties of stars and star clusters; high-energy radiation emanating from sources like black holes; and the formation and properties of exo-planets.
The data will be analysed using three attendant detectors:
• High-resolution Spectrograph, developed by the Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bengaluru
• Near Infrared Imaging Camera, developed by the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai
• Low-resolution Spectroscopic Camera
• It will join a cluster of scopes at the Indian astronomical research community’s disposal to survey the skies at various wavelengths.
Some of these other scopes are:
• Giant Metre-wave Radio Telescope, Pune;
• Multi Application Solar Telescope, Udaipur;
• MACE gamma-ray telescope, Hanle;
• Indian Astronomical Observatory, Leh;
• Pachmarhi Array of Cherenkov Telescopes, Pachmarhi;
• Ooty Radio Telescope, Udhagamandalam.
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When: 30 March 2016