Indian Astronomy since 1900 : A Timeline For The Next Generation

radio telescope dish

India has a rich tradition of astronomical research dating back to the early 20th Century when observations first began under the British in the south of India. Since then India has made tremendous progress in astrophysical and space science research. It is now home to Asia’s largest optical telescope and is also part of the consortium building the largest optical telescope in the world. Astronomical research is a luxury that only the economically developed countries can partake in.

The coming decades are going to be exciting with the new advances taking placing in optics and computing, we can expect Indian researchers to discover new phenomenon that will explain our role in the universe. Given below are some of the stellar achievements that took place over the last century in the Indian Sub-Continent.

1900 Solar observations begin at Kodaikanal.
1904 Spectra-heliogram sequence started at Kodaikanal.
1908 Nizamiah observatory taken over by the Nizam’s Government.
1909 Evershed Effect discovered.
1910 Apparition of Comet Halley. Astronomical Society of India established. Everhed carried out solar experiments in Srinagar, Kashmir.
1920 M.N. Saha’s paper on ionization in the solar chromospheres.
1921 Saha’s paper on stellar spectra published.
1945 Saha Committee on Astronomy. Tata Institute of Fundamentals Research (TIFR) established. Spectroscopic observations at Nizamiah Observatory, Hyderabad.
1951 UP State Government decides on an astronomical observatory.
1952 Radio observations of the Sun started at Kodaikanal.
1953 Physical Research Laboratory established.
1954 Astronomical Observatory at Varanasi started. Kodaikanal joins International Mars Programme.
1955 Nainital Observatory started observations.
1957 Indian Astronomical Ephemeris released. Intensified solar observations undertaken as part of the International Geophysical Year.
1962 Solar Tower Telescope begins operation in Kodaikanal.
1963 First rocket flight from Thumba.
1965 Centre of Advanced Study in Astronomy was opened at Osmania University. India admitted as a regular member of the international Astronomical Union.
1965 Solar magnetograph observations started at Kodaikanal. TIFR takes up Radio Astronomy Progarmme.
1967 Kavalur Observatory established.
1968 Rocket flight with X-ray payload from Thumb a.
1970 Indian Eclipse expedition to Mexico results in new coronal data. Radio Telescope at Ooty commissioned
1971 Formation of Indian Institute of Astrophysics.
1972 Two one-meter telescopes installed at Nainital and Kavalur. Raman Research Institute, Bangalore starts Astrophysical research.
1974 IIA starts work on a 234-cm telescope project. Arybhata, India’s satellite with X-ray payload launched.
1975 Computer- controlled spectrum scanner commissioned at Kavalur.
1977 Discovery of Rings of Uranus from India.
1978 Physical Research Laboratory stars 122-cm IR Telescope project.
1979 Decameter-wave telescope at Gauribidanur became operational.
1980 Total Solar Eclipse observed in India. Balloon-borne far-infrared telescope launched.
1989 National Center for Radio Astrophysics set up in Pune.
1992 SCROSS, ISRO’S Gamma ray Experiment satellite launched.
1995 Kavalur Observatory named in honor of Vainu Bappu.
2000 Indian Astronomical Observatory at Hanley, which has the highest optical telescope in the world, imaged the first astronomical light.
2001 The Hanley Observatory was formally dedicated and named the Himalayan Chandra Telescope and the control center at Hoskote was inaugurated.
2008 Chandrayaan -1, Indian’s first satellite to the moon, was placed in lunar orbit, as planned.
 2016  Asia’s biggest telescope with 3.6 metre wide mirror unveiled at the Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES).


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