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Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences

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Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences

Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences
Established 20 April 1954
Type Research Institution
Director Dr. Wahab Uddin (acting)
Location Nainital, India
Campus Manora Peak, Nainital
Website http://www.aries.res.in/

Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES) is one of the leading research Institutes which specializes in Astronomy, Astrophysics and Atmospheric Sciences. An autonomous body under the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, the institute is situated at Manora Peak (1,951 m (6,401 ft)), about 9 km from Nainital, a popular hill station in Uttarakhand, India.[1]

The astronomical observatory is open to public during working days at afternoons, for night viewing however, three four days on moonlight nights are fixed and prior permission is needed.[2]

History

The institute was started on 20 April 1954 under the supervision of Dr.A.N.Singh as Uttar Pradesh State Observatory (UPSO) in the premises of the Govt. Sanskrit College, presently known as Sampurnanand Sanskrit University, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. With the creation of the State of Uttarakhand on 9 Nov 2000, and because of its geographical location within the boundaries of Uttarakhand, UPSO came under the administrative controls of the new government and was re-christened as the State Observatory (SO). Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES) was the new name when it came under the Department of Science & Technology (DST), Govt. of India as an autonomous body on 22 March 2004.

The acronym ARIES also signifies the sun sign of the two important epochs separated by almost 50 years in the history of the Institute. First it corresponds to its creation on 20 April 1954 and secondly it marks the beginning of a new phase on 22 March 2004.

Research facilities

Astronomy and Astrophysics

Research activities at ARIES cover topics related to sun, stars and galaxies. ARIES has significant contributions particularly to the field of star clusters and Gamma-Ray Bursts (GRBs). The longitude of ARIES (79° East) locates it in the middle of about 180-degree wide longitude band having modern astronomical facilities between Canary Islands (20° West) and Eastern Australia (157° East). The observations, which are not possible in Canary Islands or Australia due to daylight, can be obtained by ARIES. Because of its geographical location and existence of good astronomical sites, ARIES has made unique contributions to many areas of astronomical research, particularly those involving time critical phenomena (e.g., the first successful attempt in the country to observe optical afterglow of GRBs was carried out from ARIES). A large number of eclipsing binaries, variable stars, star clusters, nearby galaxies, GRBs, and supernova have been observed from ARIES. The other research fields of the institute include solar astronomy, stellar astronomy, star clusters, stellar variability and pulsation, photometric studies of nearby galaxies, Quasars, and transient events like supernovae and highly energetic Gamma-Ray Bursts (GRBs). A total solar eclipse lasting about 4 minutes was successfully observed from Manavgat, Antalya in Turkey on 29 March 2006 by a team of scientists from the Institute.

In past, new ring systems around Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune were discovered from the observatory. Recently, for the first time a direct correlation between the intra-night optical variability and the degree of polarization of the radio jets in Quasars was established based on the observations from ARIES. For the first time periodic oscillations are detected in optical intra day variability data of blazers which is extremely useful to get the blackhole mass of blazers and also strong support to accretion disk based models of AGN.

Atmospheric Sciences

Nainital (29.40N; 79.50E, 1958 m amsl) is located at higher altitude in the Central Himalayas and away from urban cities or any major pollution source. This factor makes it best suited for carrying out observations in background condition and to study the regional environment, particularly interactions between natural and anthropogenic trace species and climate change. Additionally, the ARIES site can also provide information on long range transport of pollutants. Studies on lower atmospheric dynamics are also very important in this region, which is severely lacking over northern India.

Infrastructure

The Institute has in-house workshops to meet the requirements of electronic, mechanical, and optical maintenance of the instruments. ARIES has a modern computer center with internet facility and a well maintained library with more than 10,000 volumes of research journals and an excellent collection of books on Astronomy & Astrophysics and Atmospheric Sciences.

Upcoming projects

  • 3.6m Devasthal Optical Telescope
  • 1.3 m Robotic Telescope at Devasthal
  • Stratosphere Troposphere Radar
  • Lidar

References

  • National Centre for Radio Astrophysics (NCRA)

External links

  • ARIES, Official website
  • Department of Science and Technology website

Coordinates: 29°01′19″N 79°01′37″E / 29.022°N 79.027°E / 29.022; 79.027

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