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Devasthal Nainital to have Asia's Largest Optical Telescope Observatory - ARIES
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Devasthal is a place in the district of Nainital in Uttarakhand state of India. The literal meaning of Devasthal is "abode of god".

Devasthal is situated in the Western Himalayan region at an altitude of 2450 meters. Devasthal peak is an emerging optical astronomical site for Indian telescopes. Currently, a 130-cm optical telescope is working at the site. The sites are managed by the Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES), Nainital. The site has already received a 360-cm telescope and a 400-cm liquid mirror telescope. A survey for installing solar telescope is also being carried out near the peak. The place is well equipped with guest house, canteen, internet connection, water and electric supply since 2008. The best atmospheric seeing at the peak is measured as 0.6". Devasthal is located 9 km from Dhanachuli and 60 km from Nainital.

OBSERVATORY - Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES)
- Devasthal

Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES) has completed the 'engineering verification' of Asia's largest 'general purpose' optical telescope in Devsthal, 60 km from Nainital. Scientists told TOI that image quality, tracking performance and pointing accuracy was tested under this verification. Soon, 'scientific verification' of the equipment will start paving the way towards being fully operational. "We expect to go fully operational within next 3-4 months. This is a great achievement for astronomical community of India. For further research and study of astronomical events, the equipment will give an edge," said Wahab Uddin, acting director of ARIES.

The 'general purpose' optical telescope of diameter 3.6 meter and with 150 tonnes will help in the study and exploration of starts, planets, magnetic field and astronomical debris. The mirror of the 3.6 diameter optical telescope has been entirely 'coated' in by the scientists and technicians of ARIES in the coating facility which became operational in January 2015. "The aluminum coating of the mirror is the most vital aspect as the accuracy should be flawless up to nanometers. The clarity and area of observation increases in the proportion of diameter hence more accuracy."


 
Devasthal  OBSERVATORY - Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES)Devasthal  OBSERVATORY - Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES)
 

Earlier, in April this year mechanical, electrical and optical procedures for setting up the telescope had been completed. Any telescope undergoes three phases to become fully operational-Assembly, Integration and Verification. The ARIES has completed the first two phases and the progress of the third and last phase is in full swing. A team of technicians and engineers from Belgium is also assisting scientists and technicians of the institute.

The 10 storey building which houses the telescope is specifically designed and equipped with air and temperature control for smooth function of the telescopes. ARIES had already installed a telescope of 1.3 meter diameter in the building in 2010. The facility also has four special cranes to help in the movement of the telescope which can moves as slow as 'few millimeter' per second.

The second largest 'general purpose' optical telescope is also installed in India in Kavalur by Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bengaluru. In 'general purpose' telescopes, observations of astronomical events can be made by moving them while in 'specific purpose' telescopes observations depend on the planetary movement of earth. The largest specific purpose telescope in Asia is in China with 4 meter diameter.

Many other Indian firms like Tata Institute of Fundamental Research from Mumbai, Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics from Pune and Indian Institute of Astrophysics from Bengaluru also contributed in Rs 150 crore project. Coating plant, enclosure and structure of the telescope were designed and manufactured in the country whereas lens was made in Belgium.

The unique location of ARIES having modern astronomical facilities lying between the Canary Islands and Eastern Australia makes its role crucial in observations, which are impossible from elsewhere.


Telephone Number Of Observatory ARIES Nainital :- 05942-35136 - 05942-35883 - 05942-33734-35

Timings : 7 pm to 9 pm

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