University of Calicut

18 January 2019
The Calicut University Observatory, the first of its kind in any University in the state was opened on August 7, 2005. Prof. Naresh Dadhich, astronomer and director of Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), Pune, inaugurated the observatory which is named after Madhava, the great astonomer.  
Set up in association with the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA), Bangalore, the Observatory is the largest at the university level in the country. The 6.6 diameter hemispherical steel dome of the observatory was designed by the IIA and fabricated by a Bangalore-based company. The observatory has already become popular, courtesy the lightweight structure and cost-effective design of its dome. The special, thin imported sheet used for dome cladding in place of the heavy iron sheet or costly aluminium sheet has reduced the weight by one-seventh of a conventional dome.
Apart from a main roof with a 1.75 m slit opening, the dome has a wheel assembly, pressure roller assemblies, definer roller assemblies and electromechanical drive systems.
A 14-inch MEADE (Cassegrain) telescope connected to a CCD, through which accurate stellar photometry will be possible, is the main attraction. The telescope is fixed to an isolation pier so as to prevent external vibration. In addition, the Observatory also has an 18” NGT Telescope gifted by IIAP, Bangalore. It also has a dedicated computer facility with one server and four nodes for data collection and analysis. Viewers can first enjoy the splendour of the sky with their naked eye from the catwalk or the ring outside the dome. After identifying a particular star or planet, they can turn the telescope to that direction.
The observatory building is also equipped with a full fledged seminar hall. Apart from introducing the students to the different aspects of astronomical observation techniques the University Observatory having a small telescope can effectively make contributions in a variety of research projects.