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Trivandrum Observatory set for revival

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Trivandrum Observatory set for revival
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Thiruvananthapuram: The Trivandrum Observatory, one of the oldest in the country and a sought-after destination of astro buffs in the past, is all set to regain its glory with the induction of two advanced telescopes.

The Observatory, now under the Physics Department of Kerala University, will get two advanced reflecting telescopes soon as part of the revival project.

University sources said the Kerala State Science and Technology Museum (KSSTM), under the state government, had already been asked to procure and install new telescopes at the 176-year-old observatory.

A top KSSTM official said they were planning to install a 14-inch and 11-inch telescopes and a proposal in this regard had been submitted to the University.

"The Observatory here has a great legacy and tradition. But, many people do not know even about its existence today. The renovation project, especially the installation of the new telescope, is expected to make a change in this," KSSTM Director Jerald Prakash told PTI.

At present, the observatory has two telescopes of 3.5 inch and 5 inch and both of them are not fit for use, he said.

With sanction obtained from the university, the KSSTM would import the components of the telescopes and their mounts and assemble here, he said.

"After getting confirmation from the University, we will float a global tender for components for the telescopes. Since Indian companies are not providing sophisticated telescopic components, we will have to depend on their foreign counterparts most probably," he said.

However, the dome of the telescopes would be developed indigenously here by KSSTM, he said.

About six to ten months time is expected to be taken for the whole process and the total expense would be about Rs 25 lakh, he said.

"We will also provide facilities for astrophotography at the observatory. These will be very helpful for researchers specialising in the area," the official added.

Commencing its operations in 1837 under the aegis of erstwhile Travancore King Swathi Thirunal, the Trivandrum Observatory had John Caldecott, a British national, as its first director.

PTI

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