Wednesday, April 10, 2013

1304.2474 (Ram Sagar et al.)

New optical telescope projects at Devasthal Observatory    [PDF]

Ram Sagar, Brijesh Kumar, Amitesh Omar, A. K. Pandey
Devasthal, located in the Kumaun region of Himalayas is emerging as one of the best optical astronomy site in the continent. The minimum recorded ground level atmospheric seeing at the site is 0.6 arcsec with median value at 1.1 arcsec. Currently, a 1.3-m fast (f/4) wide field-of-view (66 arcmin) optical telescope is operating at the site. In near future, a 4-m liquid mirror telescope in collaboration with Belgium and Canada, and a 3.6-m optical telescope in collaboration with Belgium are expected to be installed in 2013. The telescopes will be operated by Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences. The first instruments on the 3.6-m telescope will be in-house designed and assembled faint object spectrograph and camera. The second generation instruments will be including a large field-of-view optical imager, high resolution optical spectrograph, integral field unit and an optical near-infrared spectrograph. The 1.3-m telescope is primarily used for wide field photometry imaging while the liquid mirror telescope will see a time bound operation to image half a degree wide strip in the galactic plane. There will be an aluminizing plant at the site to coat mirrors of sizes up to 3.7 m. The Devasthal Observatory and its geographical importance in between major astronomical observatories makes it important for time critical observations requiring continuous monitoring of variable and transient objects from ground based observatories. The site characteristics, its expansions plans and first results from the existing telescope are presented.
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