Himalayan Chandra Telescope

#GS3 #Science&technology


In the cold, dry desert of Ladakh, 4500 meters above the mean sea level, for two decades, the 2-m diameter optical-infrared Himalayan Chandra Telescope (HCT) at the Indian Astronomical Observatory (IAO) has been scanning the night sky in search of stellar explosions, comets, asteroids, and exo-planets.


About Himalayan-Chandra Telescope 

  • The Himalayan Chandra Telescope is a 2.01-meter (6.5 feet) diameter optical-infrared telescope named after India-born Nobel laureate Subrahmanyam Chandrasekhar.
  • It was installed at the Indian Astronomical Observatory (IAO), Mt. Saraswati, Digpa-ratsa Ri, Hanle, Ladakh at an altitude of 4500 m (15000 ft) above mean sea level (msl) by the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA), Bangalore, in August 2000.
  • Its primary goal is to study electromagnetic counterparts to gravitational wave sources, young supernovae and near-earth asteroids.
  • It contains a modified Ritchey-Chretien system with a primary mirror made of ULE ceramic which is designed to withstand low temperatures it experiences.
  • The telescope is mounted with 3 science instruments called – Himalaya Faint Object Spectrograph (HFOSC), Near-IR imager and Optical CCD imager.
  • The telescope is remotely operated via an INSAT-3B satellite link which allows operation even in sub-zero temperatures in winter.
  • This dedicated link is provided by the Centre for Research & Education in Science & Technology (CREST), Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore.
  • It is the country’s first robotic telescope and the first one designed to observe dynamic or transient events in the universe.
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