India’s largest ground-based optical telescope, in Devasthal in Uttarakhand, launched on March 30 by the Prime Minister of India and Belgium from Brussels, during Narendra Modi’s day-long visit to the country.
ARIES, the largest optical telescope of its kind in Asia. It will be used to study star structures and magnetic field structures of stars.
“Prime Minister Michel and I have just activated, remotely, India’s largest optical telescope,” Modi said after launching the telescope with a 3.6-metre-wide primary mirror located at Devasthal near Nainital in Uttarakhand.
Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES) or Devasthal ARIES 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.
Prime Minister Modi said Belgium has contributed 7 per cent finances to the AIRES Telescope. He asserted that there is tremendous potential for India-Belgian Cooperation. The mirror of the 150 tonnes telescope has been entirely coated in by the scientists and technicians of ARIES in the coating facility, which became operational in January last year. India has collaborated with a Belgian company called AMOS to produce this infra-red steerable optical telescope which is the first of its kind in the whole of Asia.