A Global Prospective of the Indian Optical and Near-Infrared Observational Facilities in the Field of Astronomy and Astrophysics: A Review

Research Article


A review of modernization and growth of ground based optical and near-infrared astrophysical observational facilities in the globe attributed to the recent technological developments in opto-mechanical, electronics and computer science areas is presented. Hubble Space Telescope and speckle and adaptive ground based imaging have obtained images better than 0.1 arc sec angular resolution bringing the celestial objects closer to us at least by a factor of 10 during the last two decades. From the light gathering point of view, building of large size (>5 m aperture) ground based optical and near-infrared telescopes based on latest technology have become economical in recent years. Consequently, in the world, a few 8–10 m size ground-based optical and near-infrared telescopes are being used for observations of the celestial objects, three 25–40 m size are under design stage and making of a ~100 m size telescope is under planning stage. In India, the largest sized optical and near-infrared telescope is the modern 3.6-m located at Devasthal, Nainital. However, the existing Indian moderate size telescopes equipped with modern backend instruments have global importance due to their geographical location. Recently, the Government of India approved India’s participation in the thirty meter telescope project.


Optical and near-infrared telescopes Multi-wavelength astronomy Observational astronomy Technological developments 



Author thanks the National Academy of Sciences, India (NASI) for an award of NASI-Senior Scientist Platinum Jubilee Fellowship and the Directors of both Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bengaluru and ARIES, Nainital for providing the necessary support. This article is mainly based on the invited talk delivered by the author during the 83rd Annual session and Symposium on Space for human welfare meeting of NASI held at Goa University, Goa in 2013.


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Copyright information

© The National Academy of Sciences, India 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Indian Institute of AstrophysicsBangaloreIndia
  2. 2.Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES)NainitalIndia

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