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Telescopes in India

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Item Code: NAG885
Publisher: National Book Trust, India
Author: Mohan Sundara Rajan
Language: English
Edition: 2020
ISBN: 9788123791173
Pages: 348 (Throughout B/W and 29 Color Illustrations)
Cover: Paperback
Other Details 8 inch X 5 inch
Weight 460 gm
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Fully insured
Shipped to 153 countries
Shipped to 153 countries
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More than 1M+ customers worldwide
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100% Made in India
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23 years in business
Book Description
About the Book

An up-to-date story of India’s optical, radio and space telescopes in celebration of the International Year of Astronomy. The author, an eminent science writer, has made the story accessible to the general reader in a lucid and enjoyable manner.

This fascinating book portrays in a succinct and readable way India’s best scientific pursuits in recent times. I welcome the book, which marks the International Year of Astronomy.

About the Author

Prof. Mohan Sundara Rajan, an eminent science writer, has over three decades of experience in print and electronic media. He is the author of some sixteen popular science books including Space Today, Wireless: The Latest Telecom Story and Nano: The Next Revolution published by the NBT. He is the recipient of several awards including the National Award for Outstanding Effort in popular science Communication, given by the National Council for S & T Communication, New Delhi.



Ever since Galileo used the telescope about 400 years ago, this instrument has revolutionised our understanding of the cosmos. The telescope has advanced tremendously in its reach and power, as a result of numerous innovations in science and technology. The findings of the telescope have opened up new windows on the seen and unseen Universe.

In India, modern astronomy goes back to over two centuries with the founding of the Madras Observatory in 1786. The Observatory relocated to Kodaikanal where regular observations of the Sun commenced. The Observatory possesses 100 years of continuous observations of phenomena in the solar atmosphere. Telescopes in Nainital, Udaipur and the most recent one in Hanle in the Himalayas have made India a major international player in astronomy. The Vainu Bappu Observatory in Kavalur with its 2.3-m and ‘1-m telescopes has a special advantage for providing high quality observations of the sky in the southern hemisphere. India’s radio telescopes have used the state-of-the-art techniques to detect and analyse many new phenomena occurring in distant sources such as quasars to radio emission from the Sun. Soon a high energy gamma ray observatory will start functioning in the Himalayas that will reveal information on processes occurring in the Universe at the highest of energies. In space, the country’s first astronomy satellite, ASTROSAT and India’s first lunar probe, Chandrayaan-I, are poised to explore new frontiers of knowledge.

The International Heliophysical Year, currently being observed worldwide, has underlined the significance of solar-terrestrial relationship in understanding space weather, which is increasingly becoming important in the context of global warming and climate change, in addition to providing crucial important information to protect satellites in space from hazardous radiation.

This fascinating book provides a means of generating further interest in basic sciences as well as spreading a scientific temper. We need to attract the best minds of our younger generation to sustain the scientific study of astronomy and astrophysics on the most modem lines. Public awareness and understanding of this field need to be triggered continually with credible and interesting presentation of the ever-new features and discoveries in this field.

I therefore welcome this book, which marks the International Year of Astronomy. It is authored by one of our eminent science writers, who has in his inimitable style, rendered the story of our telescopes in a simple, lucid and interesting manner, for the lay reader. It portrays in a succinct and readable way India’s best scientific pursuits in recent times.

I congratulate the author on his painstaking efforts and warmly recommend the book.



This book tells the story of India’s telescopes-optical, radio and space instruments-and their role in the exploration of celestial wonders. The book marks the 400th anniversary of the invention of the optical telescope as well as the International Year of Astronomy (2009), which celebrates the first use of the telescope by Galileo.

Part I of the book narrates the invention of the telescope and its use by Galileo, followed by a historical review of the contributions of numerous scientists and astronomers that have enhanced the efficiency of the telescope. This is followed by an overview of solar and other observations in India in the early days of the telescope.

The next two chapters provide a technology background that explains the old and new features of optical telescopes as well as the major technological innovations which have redefined the power and reach of the telescope.

The story then narrates the origin and development of the optical telescopes in India. Part II begins with the work done at the Kodaikanal Solar Observatory in exploring the Sun for well over 100 years followed by a chapter on Sunspots that affect the global weather. The chapters that follow highlight the role of telescopes in Kavalur, Udaipur, Nainital, and Hanle in the Himalayas, which has the world’s highest optical telescope. The case for a large solar telescope in India is then explained.

Part III recounts the turning points in the discovery of the radio window, before describing the radio telescopes in Ootacamund and the Giant Metre Radio Telescope in Pune, followed by a review of the trends in the discovery of quasars and pulsars, some of the most fascinating celestial objects. The story then goes on to describe the work of the Gauribidanur array near Bangalore in exploring radio waves from the Sun. The pioneering work done at the Raman Research Institute in radio astronomy is then outlined, highlighting the emerging role of its uniquely designed telescopes in international projects.

Part IV turns the spotlight on the unique facilities recently set up at Hanle for catching and studying gamma rays, followed by worldwide efforts to explore the infrared universe.

Part V discusses space exploration. It begins with the country’s first Moon probe, Chandrayaan-l, followed by a background on X-ray astronomy to enable the reader appreciate the features of India’s forthcoming first multiwavelength astronomy satellite, ASTROSAT, and the ultraviolet probe, TAUVEX.

As the story of the telescopes would not be complete without an appreciation of their use in studying celestial wonders, especially black holes, dark matter and dark energy, the concluding chapters trace the latest trends in these exciting fields.


**Contents and Sample Pages**

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