India's biggest multi-application solar telescope (MAST) was inaugurated at the Udaipur Solar Observatory on Tuesday by Prof UR Rao, the chairman of the governing council of the Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad.
Speaking on the occasion, Rao said that MAST would help in the study of movements of stars and sun even in day time. "With the help of this device, researchers can achieve new heights internationally in the study of sun and related components," he added.
Authorised by the Ministry of Science and Technology, MAST has been funded by the Department of Space. So far Rs 26 crore has been spent on the project. The Physical Research Laboratory of Ahmedabad will take care of the project.Besides providing 3-D images of solar activities like solar blast and solar flares, MAST could help in vital studies about other planetary movements.
The telescope was installed at the Udaipur Solar Observatory, as it is surrounded by water, which keeps temperature pleasant. Besides, the site can boast of more than 250 days of continuous sunshine, which allows to observe the sun properly during day time.
MAST, designed in 2004, had optical elements added to it till 2008. It was installed at the Udaipur Solar Observatory in 2012. MAST, which has a lens of 50 centimetre diameter, is developed on the basis of mechanical and optical system of Belgium.
While its rear part was developed by the observatory, its front was developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation.