Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES) is a facility specializing in
astronomy and astrophysical research. It is located in Devasthal in the district of Nainital, Uttarakhand,
in the Central Himalayan region at an altitude of 2,500 meters, ARIES is emerging as a prime optical
astronomical site for Indian telescopes.
After nearly a decade of continuous monitoring of the atmosphere, Devasthal was chosen as one
of the best sites in the country for the DFM Engineering 1.3 meter optical telescope.
This telescope has the largest usable field of view in the sky among telescopes of comparable
size. Therefore, the installation site is critical to optimal seeing.
The installation site is on a hilltop at Devasthal, 60km from Nainital in the Central Himalayas
and away from urban cities or any major pollution source.
The geographic location makes possible stellar observational facilities in a rarefied atmosphere.
ARIES is located in the middle of about a 180-degree wide longitude band having modern astronomical
facilities between the Canary Islands and Eastern Australia.
In other words, ARIES can obtain observations that are not possible in the Canary Islands or Australia
due to daylight.
the isolated site revealed unusual challenges for the DFM team as they installed the 1.3-meter
The crated telescope was driven by truck from New Delhi to the Devasthal hilltop.
The mountainous roads to the site were steep and narrow with some cliff-like drop offs and precarious,
winding turns. It made for a very exciting delivery!
at the top, with the help of the Indian staff, the DFM team began to unpack the telescope.
Minor adjustments were made to the pier then telescope assembly began.
crane lifted each component up and through the roof of the installation site.
Because of the large size and weight of each piece maneuvering by crane on even a mildly windy
day would have resulted in a difficult procedure.
the weather was friendly, mostly sunny and relatively calm which contributed to a smooth, deliberate
The Telescope Control System was set in place and the telescope and instrumentation were calibrated
and tested by the DFM team.
staff was very hospitable and excited to begin using the new telescope, knowing how valuable the
instrument will be to India and it's future astronomical discoveries.
Secretary Dr. T. Ramasami with the Department of Science and Technology (DTS) formally commissioned
the new technology DFM Engineering 1.3 meter optical telescope in December 2010. The ceremony was
widely attended by the scientist fraternity of ARIES, researchers, students and local dignitaries.
has become an observatory of international importance," said Dr. Ramasami. "Soon, a 3.6-meter
telescope will also be installed at Devasthal.
It will be the biggest in India and amongst the most powerful in the world."
He said India was aiming to join an international consortium and the government was willing to
make this investment in astronomy knowing future discoveries would justify it.
"With this facility, our practical knowledge will get a boost. (It) will generate interest
among young people", he noted. "We must not only get good research results, but also good
now, research activities at ARIES have covered topics related to sun, eclipsing binaries, star
clusters, and Gamma-Ray Bursts (GRBs).
With the pristine location of the new DFM Engineering 1.3 meter telescope, and it's contemporary
wide field of view, it provides ARIES the opportunity to study variable stars, supernova events
and star formation in the Milky Way and other galaxies in the universe.
Telescope Control System (TCS-Sky)
Observatory Design and Consulting