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Vainu Bappu Observatory

23rd December, 2022 Science and Technology

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  • The several stellar discoveries of the 40-inch telescopeat the Vainu Bappu Observatory were highlighted at the celebration of its 50 years of operation.

Vainu Bappu Observatory 

  • The Vainu Bappu Observatoryis an astronomical observatory owned and operated by the Indian Institute of Astrophysics.
  • It is located at Kavalurin the Javadi Hills, near Vaniyambadi in Tirupathur district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu.
  • Starting from the Cassegrain photometer and Echelle spectrograph in 1976, the new grating spectrograph in 1978, the fast-chopping polarimeter in 1988 with its replacement in 2016, and the latest NIR photometer in 2021, the observatory has constantly been upgrading its facilities.
  • The telescope, whose mirror has a diameter of 40 inches (or 102 cm), was installed in 1972 and started producing important astronomical discoveries soon after. 
  • The expertise gained by the engineers also enabled IIA to build the fully indigenous 90-inch (2.34 metre) telescope in the 1980s.
  • The ongoing programmes include observations of starsstar clustersnovaesupernovaeblazarsgalaxies, optical imaging of gamma-rayburst fields, stellar populations, solar system objects and many others.

Role in Astronomy

  • The telescope set up by Professor Vainu Bappu has played a significant role in astronomy with major discoveries like the presence of rings around the planet Uranus, a new satellite of Uranus, the presence of an atmosphere around Ganymede which is a satellite of Jupiter.
  • Other important research conducted with this telescope includes the discovery and study of many 'Be stars',  Lithium depletion in giant stars, optical variability in Blazars, the dynamics of the famous supernova SN 1987A and so on.