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Facts About India’s First Solar Observatory

A Solar Observatory is a special building where scientists look at the Sun using powerful telescopes and tools.

By I Kid You Not , in Astronomy Explained Featured , at April 2, 2024 Tags: ,

India’s first Solar Observatory was built at Kodaikanal, a hill town in Tamil Nadu, in 1899. Here we’ll read all about the history of the Kodaikanal Solar Observatory and also what is a solar observatory.

First, do you know what an observatory is and what it does?

What is a Solar Observatory?

A Solar Observatory is a special building where scientists look at the Sun using powerful telescopes and tools.

What does a solar observatory do?

  1. Watching the Sun: Scientists at Solar Observatories watch the Sun to learn about its spots, flares, and other cool things happening on its surface.
  2. Learning about the Sun: They study the Sun to understand how it works, changes, and affects our planet.
  3. Using Special Tools: They use special gadgets to see the Sun better and learn new things about it.
  4. Helping Scientists: Solar Observatories share their findings with other scientists to help them understand space weather and predict how the Sun can affect Earth.
  5. Teaching Everyone: They also teach kids and others about the Sun and why it’s important to study it.

So, a Solar Observatory is where scientists explore everything about our bright star – the Sun!

History of Kodaikanal Solar Observatory

Representative image of the Kodaikanal Solar Observatory

In the early 1890s, there was a famine (extreme shortage of food), and people wanted to learn more about how the Sun affects our weather.

This was when scientists decided to build a special place called the Kodaikanal Solar Observatory in a high, clean place in Kodaikanal, in Tamil Nadu, India.

At this observatory, one of the things scientists discovered was called the Evershed Effect in 1909, which helped them understand more about the Sun. They have been studying the Sun for a long time and have lots of important information about it.

The observatory has a museum where you can see live pictures of the Sun and learn about its different colours. They also have a big telescope to look at stars at night. You can visit the museum every day, even on holidays, to see all the amazing things they have learned about the Sun and space. And if you’re lucky, you can even look at the stars through a telescope at night and feel like an astronaut exploring the universe!

Here are some key facts about the Kodaikanal Solar Observatory:

Representative image of the Kodaikanal Solar Observatory
  • The observatory was founded in the time when the British ruled India – in 1899.
  • It was first set up to monitor sunspots and record their activities. Later it expanded its focus to include general observations about the sun.
  • The Kodaikanal Solar Observatory has a big collection of about 1.5 lakh solar observations. These are stored on glass films. They tell us a lot about the history of the Sun.
  • The observatory has played a big part in solar research, finding new things about the Sun and its behaviour over time.
  • Scientists at the observatory have made important discoveries about the Sun, like the Evershed effect, which helped us understand our sun better.
  • The observatory’s solar observations have given valuable insights into the Sun’s history and its impact on the environment, both on Earth and beyond.
  • Kodaikanal’s unique location offers clear air and good weather for solar observations.
  • Visitors can explore the observatory, visit the museum with live solar images, and even look up at the night sky through telescopes for a fun learning experience.
  • The observatory’s data is shared with global scientists. This helps us understand and predict solar activity and its impact on Earth.

These facts tell us about the contributions of India’s first Solar Observatory at Kodaikanal in advancing our understanding of the Sun and its influence on our planet.