PUNE: “The line between amateur and professional astronomers is changing,” said Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA) Director Somak Raychadhury.
He was delivering a lecture on ‘Big Astronomy in India: Technological Challenges’ at the 75th foundation day of Jyotirvidya Parisanstha here on Wednesday. M Lokhandwala presented the report of JVP while Sagar Gokhale proposed a vote of thanks.
Raychadhury said, “The roots of modern astronomy were laid in India during the British era. William Petrie started observing the sky in 1786 at Madras. Actually, the Britishers preferred India for observing the skies, as it is always cloudy and rainy in Britain. The observations of solar eclipse were taken in 1868, 1871 and 1872. Pierre Janssen discovered Helium during the solar eclipse at Guntur in 1868, today in Andhra Pradesh. Later, he shifted to Shimla and thus the journey of astrophysics in India began,” he added.
“Manali Kallat Vainu Bappu is considered as the father of Indian Astronomy. In 1957, he discovered the Wilson-Bappu effect jointly with American astronomer Olin Chaddock Wilson,” said Somak.
“The world’s third largest Indian Astronomical Observatory (IAO), is located near Leh in Ladakh, and is one of the world’s highest sites for optical, infrared and gamma-ray telescopes. It is operated by the Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bengaluru,” he said.
He mentioned the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope at Khodad, near Narayagaon and India’s role in the Square Kilometre Array Telescope coming up at South Africa.
He described how JC Bose invented the microwave radiations.
“With LIGO India projects taking off, Astrostats India is approaching mega science and creating jobs and calling foreign researchers here to study and research,” he said.