KERALA

High-end telescope installed at planetarium

MINUTE DETAILS: The new 11 Schmidt Cassegrain telescope that has been installed at the Regional Science Centre and Planetarium in the city.

MINUTE DETAILS: The new 11 Schmidt Cassegrain telescope that has been installed at the Regional Science Centre and Planetarium in the city.  

Staff Reporter

Kozhikode: Stargazers and astronomy enthusiasts in Kozhikode have something to look forward to. The Regional Science Centre (RSC) & Planetarium here is ready with a high-end telescopes, a ‘11 Schmidt Cassegrain Telescope, imported from the U.S. “The people can enjoy the thrill and joy of exploring the wonders of the cosmos with this sophisticated high-end telescope now,” says RSC project coordinator V.S. Ramachandran.

This computer–controlled telescope, using Global Positioning System (GPS) technology, can bring some of the minutest details of Mars, Uranus, Neptune and moon, mind-bogglingly closer besides training its powerful lense to explore the unseen realms of the distant galaxies. “It can orient towards any particular celestial object in space and track it without slipping from its field of view for a long time,” says Mr. Ramachandran. The telescope, costing Rs.3.5 lakh, will take advantage of its vast database of thousands of New Galaxy Catalogues (NGC) besides delivering new levels of detail to the celestial objects.

“Now, we can also help postgraduate students to take up some serious and practical-oriented projects with the help of the new telescope,” says Jayant Ganguly, who is in charge of the Astronomy Club at the RSC. With its sophisticated software features like ‘Hibernate Function,’ the device can maintain its “star alignment” for days without needing to be re-aligned like a permanent observatory facility.

According to RSC sources, only the observatory on the Calicut University campus has a slightly more powerful telescope in the whole State. But the public has no access to it. “Our facility is open to the public; in fact, it’s meant for them,” says Mr Ramachandran. “The Telescope will also enable us to take up some mini astronomy projects besides routine observations,” he says. Year 2009 is UNESCO’s International year of Astronomy. “We hope to have a great year with our new telescope,” says Mr. Ramachandran. The newly installed telescope was thrown open to the public by District Collector A. Jayathilak here on Thursday.

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