India's largest telescope was inaugurated on 5 August in Udaipur, Rajasthan. Named Multi Application Solar Telescope (MAST) will be used for detailed observation in the space, particularly solar activity. It will help the country in gathering massive astronomical information which, currently, is only with a handful of countries.
Funded by a private group and sanctioned by the Ministry of Science and Technology, the telescope costs Rs 26 crore. It will allow USO to study solar happenings in great detail, hopefully making it possible to predict the weather conditions in space in the future.
Here are some facts about the massive telescope uncovered recently:
- The observatory, situated on an island in the middle of Fatehsagar lake, is a part of the Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), an autonomous unit of the Department of Space, which operationalised the telescope recently
- The site is the best suited for the observatory as it provides 250 days of sunlight per year
- The project was under by Union Ministry of Science and Technology and was funded by Department of Space (DoS)
- The telescope was inaugurated by Professor U.R Rao, Chairman of Physical Research Laboratory
- MAST is capable to capture three-dimensional aspects of the solar magnetic fields further enabling the scientists to get a better understanding of the solar flares and eruptions taking place in such twisted magnetic fields
- The telescope was designed in 2004 and the optical elements were fitted in 2008. It was in 2013 that the telescope was installed at the Udaipur Solar Observatory
- The lens used in the telescope is based on the optical and mechanical system of Belgium
- ISRO developed the rear part of the telescope while the front part was built by the observatory itself