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DFM Engineering installs a 1.3 Meter Telescope
for ARIES of India

Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences
aries himalayas

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, India.

aries devasthalSituated 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 devasthalAdditionally, 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.

aries devasthalHowever, the isolated site revealed unusual challenges for the DFM team as they installed the 1.3-meter telescope.

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!

aries devasthalOnce 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.

aries devasthalA 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.

aries devasthalFortunately, the weather was friendly, mostly sunny and relatively calm which contributed to a smooth, deliberate assembly.

The Telescope Control System was set in place and the telescope and instrumentation were calibrated and tested by the DFM team.

aries devasthalThe 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.

aries devasthal"ARIES 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 astronomers."

aries devasthalUntil 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.



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