Hyderabad to get the country’s finest amateur observatory

  • G  P Birla Observatory and Astronomical Research Centre to be launched on 17th November 2011 to the public
  • Observatory telescope is comparable to  some of the professional observatories in the country today; making research grade telescope for amateurs and general public for the first time

Hyderabad, Tuesday, 15th November, 2011: Continuing its endeavor to promote awareness and education in astronomy and science and make it available to the common man, Mrs. Nirmala Birla and family, is all set to open to the public the G P Birla Observatory and Astronomical Research Centre, which is slated to be the best amateur Observatory in India, at the B M Birla Science Centre on November 17th, 2011.

The G P Birla Observatory and Astronomical Centre, built at a cost of more than 20 crore, is an iconic building of five floors with a total built up area of 65, 000 sq.ft. It is situated within the sprawling B M Birla Science Centre, with its terraced gardens at Naubat Pahad and is a tribute to one of the greatest visionaries and philanthropists of India, Padma Bhushan Late Mr. Ganga Prasad Birla.

Commenting on the launch of the project, Mrs. Nirmala Birla wife of late Mr. G P Birla said, “Over the years, we have served millions of people by bringing the mysteries of science, astronomy and archeology, within everyone’s reach at the B M Birla Science Centre. The G P Birla Observatory and Astronomical Centre which is a part of the centre now, enables all enthusiasts to further their interests in research, studying the wonders of the sky and witness the astronomical world from close quarters. The B M Birla Science Centre and the G P Birla Observatory are initiatives that are built on the foundation of late Mr. G P Birla’s passion for science, archeology and astronomy in particular and the vision to serve the humanity.”

Mrs. Nirmala Birla, wife of Late Mr. Ganga Prasad Birla belongs to the illustrious house of leading industrialists and visionary philanthropists of the country. The family is known for its country wide socio-religious, cultural organizations, hospitals, temple complexes, educational institutions, science centers and museums which they have extended to the public.

World Class Infrastructure  

The G P Birla centre supports infrastructure that allows multi-dimensional activities like research and education. A world class library is located in the two lower floors where research on high energy astrophysics is envisaged. Majority of the programs running here will have international collaborations. In addition to astronomy, it is envisioned that there would be courses in Science Teaching for School Teachers, as well as more advanced courses in Computer Science, Information Technology, Management and Finance.

Dr. B G Sidharth, noted physicist and Director General of the B M Birla Science Centre said, “Astronomy is one of the most followed subjects in the world and people have very high curiosity to unravel the mysteries of the unkown. The B M Birla Science Centre has played a very important part in keeping these interests alive and growing. With the addition of the world class G P Birla Observatory and Astronomical Research Centre a powerful new dimension to meet the needs of the enthusiasts will be made available.”

The Astronomical Observatory

The state-of-art-the G P Birla Centre with its elegant and aesthetic architecture offers unparalleled panoramic view of the city. Situated on the roof of the building the Astronomical Observatory houses the powerful C-11 Telescope which is an ultra modern compact telescope instrument capable of even detecting Exoplanets. This has been set-up in collaboration with Uranoscope De France. The Observatory is an Indo-French collaborative effort and is one of the few public observatories in India.

Amateur astronomers and interested public can use the observatory and see for themselves the marvels of the Universe. Lectures, Seminars and other such events around the Observatory will be part of the planned activities.

The sophisticated C-11 telescope uses German technology, has automation and high range electronic devices enabling viewers to see stars, galaxies and other cosmic objects far beyond the solar system that cannot be viewed with ordinary telescopes.

B M Birla Science Centre

The Birla Science Campus is spread across situated on a hillock in the heart of the city, is one of the most prestigious institute that has world class infrastructure for the dissemination of science. The Campus has several innovative concepts like Birla Planetarium, Science Museum, Dinosaurium, Art Gallery, Archeological galleries, a science project division and the International institute of applicable mathematics and information sciences

In existence since 1985, the campus has been serving the needs of amateurs, professionals, students and general public – extending the infrastructure, educating, creating awareness on science, archeology, astronomy and mathematics. The centre has so far seen 15 million visitors including 26 Nobel Laureates and huge number of world’s leading scientists.

Telescope – Technical Facts

  • Name  :  Celestron CPC 1100 Schmidt – Cassegrain Catadiotropic Telescope
  • Primary Mirror Aperture :   11 inch with focal length 2800 mm
  • Focal Ratio : 10 which will be further reduced by employing a focal reducer for imaging deep sky objects
  • Highest Achievable Magnification is 660 times the object size
  • The telescope amplifies the actual brightness of celestial objects by 1593 times whereby far away galaxies as close as 0.5 arc seconds will be clearly resolved during Astrophotography
  • Equipped with motors and controlled by a computer, the telescope can slew to any object in its more than 40000 Object data base and can track the object in the sky and capture its image and project the same on to a screen for public viewing with the help of a CCD projection system
  • Also, the telescope can be programmed to store locations of 99 user defined celestial bodies for quick slewing eliminating the need of specifying the coordinates of the object manually every time
  • The telescope can track celestial objects from major astronomical catalos like NGC, Messier , IC , Caldwell , SAO stars, Solar System objects
  • During Solar eclipses the Sun’s images can be continuously beamed on to a screen for safe public viewing

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