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India's largest solar observatory planned

india Updated: Jan 26, 2007 13:16 IST

The country's biggest Solar Observatory proposed to come up at an altitude of 4,500 meters near Ladakh, will help scientists keep a sharper eye over the activities of the Sun.

"The prediction of certain events that happen on the Sun are very important for the safety of our satellites and India's future space missions," said Singh, a scientist from Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA), Bangalore, which is spearheading this project.

"Solar flares and Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) from the Sun have the ability to damage satellites and affect our space missions," he said explaining why a hi-tech observatory was needed to warn about such events.

"We are in the process of setting up a National Large Solar Telescope for observing the Sun near Ladakh," Singh said.

"This will be the biggest solar observatory in India," Singh said on the sidelines of an international conference on Sun at the Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) in Ahmedabad.

"The existing observatories and the facilities for solar research in India are grossly inadequate," he said adding that India currently has three solar observatories including those belonging to PRL at Udapiur and the IIA at Bangalore and the one at Nainital.

"At present, we are conducting a site survey near two lakes Tsom Mumari and Pangon in the Himalayan Mountain Range near Ladakh to choose the spot where this observatory could be set up," he said.

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