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Title: Site characterisation for the UPSO-TIFR telescope
Authors: Sagar, R.; Uddin, W.; Pandey, A. K.; Stalin, C. S.; Mohan, V.; Sanwal, B. B.; Gupta, S. K.; Yadav, R. K. S.; Durgapal, A. K.; Joshi, S.; Kumar, Brijesh; Gupta, A. C.; Joshi, Y.; Srivastava, J. B.; Chaubey, U. S.; Singh, M.; Pant, P.; Gupta, K. G.; Padalia, T. D.

Uttar Pradesh State Observatory, Naini Tal and Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai plan to install jointly a 3 metre size optical telescope at Devasthal located east of Naini Tal about 50 km by road. The site has been selected after a decade of survey in Kumaon and Garhwal hills. The altitude of the peak is 2450 ± 5 meters, while longitude and latitude are 79° 40' 57'' E and 29° 22' 46'' N respectively. The location of the site is such that logistics of access and transportation are not too difficult and at the same time, it is far from urban development, has more than 200 astronomically useful nights, dark sky, low atmospheric extinction and most importantly seeing better than 1 arcsec for about 40% of the time. Extensive efforts are going on to characterize the site more precisely.

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79.68261E_29.37964N
Expand (137kb, 800 x 562)
Latitude: 29.379664°N, Longitude: 79.682506°E

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 Asia's largest optical telescope will be set up at Devasthal near Nainital and will be a multinational effort with participation from Belgium, Russia and several Indian institutes.
The 3.6 metre optical telescope will cost Rs 120 crore and will be a state-of-the-art system with capability of fast motions to study the universe, Ram Sagar, Director, Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES) said. He was delivering a lecture on "Recent Advances in Optical Astronomy" at Nehru Planetarium here on Saturday.

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"(The telescope)...will enable us to see four to five times deeper into space than before, and receive high-quality images"  - Professor Ram Sagal of the Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences.

An optical glass plant in Lytkarino, near Moscow, will make the 3.6 meter mirror for the telescope, and Belgian partners will assemble the unit and test it before sending it to India.
The Belgium government has allocated 2 million euros  for project, about 10% of the telescope's total cost, and Russia is also considering contributing one million euros.

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