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Indian Astronomical Observatory (IAO) Hanle

Context:

The Indian Astronomical Observatory (IAO) located at Hanle near Leh in Ladakh is becoming one of the globally promising observatory sites, according to a recent study.

Relevance:

Prelims, GS-III: Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  • About IAO at Hanle
  • About Global Relay of Observatories Watching Transients Happen (GROWTH)

About IAO at Hanle

  • India’s first robotic telescope set up as a part of the international GROWTH program, is located at the Indian Astronomical Observatory (IAO) at Hanle in Ladakh.
  • The telescope is a joint project of the Bangalore-based Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) and the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IITB).
  • Called GROWTH-India, the facility at Hanle is part of a multi-country collaborative initiative known as Global Relay of Observatories Watching Transients Happen (GROWTH) to observe transient events in the universe.
  • The telescope also has the badge of being housed in the one of the world’s highest astronomical observatories at 4,500 meters.
  • It is becoming one of the globally promising observatory sites due to its advantages of more clear nights, minimal light pollution, background aerosol concentration, extremely dry atmospheric condition and uninterrupted monsoon.
  • Night observations at IAO Hanle from 2m-Himalayan Chandra Telescope (HCT) are possible throughout the year without any interruption due to monsoon

About Global Relay of Observatories Watching Transients Happen (GROWTH)

  • The GROWTH program is a 5-year project, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) (a United States government agency).
  • It is an international collaborative network of astronomers and telescopes dedicated to the study of short-lived cosmic transients (energetic flashes of light from explosive deaths of massive stars, white dwarf detonations, etc.) and near-earth asteroids.
  • The primary focus is on the:
    • Search for explosions in the optical regime whenever Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) group detects a Binary Neutron Star merger.
    • Study of nearby young supernova explosions.
    • Study of nearby asteroids.

-Source: The Hindu

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