NAINITAL (UTTARAKHAND), March 21 : Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology; Minister of State (Independent Charge) Earth Sciences; MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr. Jitendra Singh today inaugurated Asia’s largest 4-metre “International Liquid Mirror Telescope”, near here at Devasthal in Uttarakhand.
Speaking after the launch, Dr Jitendra Singh said, it is primarily the patronage, promotion and prioritisation from Prime Minister Narendra Modi that has enabled and emboldened the scientific fraternity to successfully try new initiatives, one after the other, in the field of science, technology and innovation, which are being rated as world class. Not only PM Modi has given us the motivation to move ahead but also given the the freedom to explore hitherto lesser explored areas like Space which has been opened up for private players or India’s oceans whose vast resources are waiting to be unfolded.
Describing it as a global landmark, the Minister said, today’s event places India at a different and a much higher level of capabilities to study the mysteries of the skies and astronomy, and to share the same with the rest of the world.
Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES) announced that the world-class 4-metre International Liquid Mirror Telescope (ILMT)is now ready to explore the deep celestial sky. It achieved its first light in the 2nd week of May 2022. The telescope is located at an altitude of 2450 metre at the Devasthal Observatory campus of ARIES, an autonomous institute under the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Govt. of India in Nainital district, Uttarakhand.
Dr Jitendra Singh informed that the ILMT collaboration includes researchers from ARIES in India, the University of Lie?ge and the Royal Observatory of Belgium in Belgium, Poznan Observatory in Poland, the Ulugh Beg Astronomical Institute of the Uzbek Academy of Sciences and National University of Uzbekistan in Uzbekistan, the University of British Columbia, Laval University, the University of Montreal, the University of Toronto, York University and the University of Victoria in Canada. The telescope was designed and built by the Advanced Mechanical and Optical Systems (AMOS) Corporation and the Centre Spatial de Lie?ge in Belgium.
Dr Jitendra Singh said, the ILMT employs a 4-metre-diameter rotating mirror made up of a thin layer of liquid mercury, to collect and focus light. He said, the metal mercury is in liquid form at room temperature and at the same time highly reflective and hence, it is ideally suited to form such a mirror. The ILMT is designed to survey the strip of the sky passing overhead each night, allowing it to detect transient or variable celestial objects such as supernovae, gravitational lenses, space debris, and asteroids, the Minister added.
Dr Jitendra Singh said, the ILMT is the first liquid mirror telescope designed exclusively for astronomical observations and this is the largest aperture telescope available in the country at present and is also the first optical survey telescope in India. While scanning the strip of the sky every night, the telescope will generate nearly 10-15 Gigabytes of data and the wealth of ILMT generated data will permit the application of Big Data and Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning (AI/ML) algorithms that will be implemented for classifying the objects observed with the ILMT.
Dr Jitendra inaugurates Asia’s largest ‘International Liquid Mirror Telescope’, calls it global landmark