Theme : Indigenization of Technology
Paper : GS - 3
TABLE OF CONTENT
- About Indian Astronomical Observatory
- What is a Dark Sky Reserve?
- Ideal criteria for astronomical observatory
- Hanle and Dark Sky Reserve
- GROWTH-India telescope
- Final Word
Context : India’s first dark sky reserve is set to come up in Hanle, Ladakh, by the end of the year.
About Indian Astronomical Observatory :
- Indian Astronomical Observatory (IAO) is one of the world’s highest observatories.
- It is located at a height of 14.8k feet in Hanle, Ladakh.
- It will come up within the Changthang Wildlife Sanctuary.
- Ladakh is also ideal for long-term observatories and dark-sky sites because of its large arid area, high elevation, and sparse population.
- The Department of Science and Technology and Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) in Bengaluru is providing support for the facility.
What is a Dark Sky Reserve?
- The International Dark Sky Association (IDSA) defines an international dark sky reserve (IDSR) as a public or private land of substantial size (at least 700 km², or about 173,000 acres) possessing an exceptional or distinguished quality of starry nights and nocturnal environment, and that is specifically protected for its scientific, natural, educational, cultural heritage, and/or public enjoyment.
- A dark sky reserve requires a “core” area that has a clear sky without any light pollution, which can enable telescopes to see the sky in its natural darkness.
- To support the core, it should be surrounded by a “peripheral” or “buffer” area that supports dark sky values in the core while receiving the same benefits.
Ideal criteria for astronomical observatory :
- Rain Clouds absorb starlight and radiation from cosmic objects, preventing them from being caught on the telescopes of cameras. So such a place should be least affected by the monsoon.
- To be able to detect stars or traces of cosmic phenomena, such as supernovae or nebulae from light years away, astronomers must be able to catch the faintest slivers of their radiation that often lie outside the range of visible light.
- Such radiation is, however, easily absorbed by water vapor and so it helps to have a telescope high above ground where the atmosphere is drier. Hanle, Ladakh is one such place.
Hanle and Dark Sky Reserve :
- In a first-of-its-kind initiative, the Department of Science & Technology (DST) has announced the setting up of India’s first Dark Sky Reserve in Hanle.
- It opens out into the Changthang Wildlife Sanctuary, sheltering Changthangi sheep, the source of pashmina wool. Situated at 14,000 ft above sea level Hanle village is now a spot for astro-tourism.
- Hanle is regarded as one of the world’s most optimal sites for astronomical observations. However, ensuring that the site remains well-suited for astronomy implies keeping the night-sky pristine, or ensuring minimal interference to the telescopes from artificial light sources such as electric lights and vehicular lights from the ground.
- The Himalayan Chandra Telescope (HCT), High Energy Gamma Ray telescope (HAGAR), the Major Atmospheric Cherenkov Experiment Telescope (MACE) and GROWTH-India are prominent telescopes located at the Hanle observatory.
GROWTH-India telescope :
- GROWTH-India telescope is part of the Global Relay of Observatories Watching Transients Happen (GROWTH).
- Its goals are threefold :
- Search for explosions in the optical regime whenever LIGO group detects a Binary Neutron Star merger.
- study nearby young supernova explosions.
- Study nearby asteroids.
Final Word :
India’s Astronomical research should be complemented with astro-tourism, the revenue generated from which can in part fuel astronomical research.
1. Where is Hanle Village in Ladakh?
Answer : It opens out into the Changthang Wildlife Sanctuary, sheltering Changthangi sheep, the source of pashmina wool. Situated at 14,000 ft above sea level Hanle village is now a spot for astro-tourism.
2. What are the goals of GROWTH-India Telescope?
Answer : Its goals are threefold :
(a)Search for explosions in the optical regime whenever LIGO group detects a Binary Neutron Star merger.
(b)study nearby young supernova explosions.
(c)Study nearby asteroids.