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Most Promising Astronomical Site: Hanle

  • 04 Oct 2021
  • 2 min read

Why in News

According to a recent study, the Indian Astronomical Observatory (IAO) located at Hanle near Leh in Ladakh is becoming one of the promising observatory sites globally.

  • The Indian Astronomical Observatory has one of the world's highest sites for optical, infrared and gamma-ray telescopes.

Key Points

  • About:
    • Hanle site is as dry as the Atacama Desert in Chile and much drier than Devasthal (Uttarakhand) and has around 270 clear nights in a year and is also one of the emerging sites for infrared and sub-mm optical astronomy.
      • This is because water vapour absorbs electromagnetic signals and reduces their strength.
    • It has advantages of more clear nights, minimal light pollution, background aerosol concentration, extremely dry atmospheric conditions, and uninterrupted monsoon.
    • Such conditions are considered crucial for astronomers to build huge telescopes and plan for future observatories and predict how they will vary with time.
  • Other Promising Sites:
    • Merak observatories in Ladakh.
    • Devasthal in Nainital, Ali Observatory in the Tibet Autonomous Region in China.
    • South African Large Telescope in South Africa.
    • University of Tokyo Atacama Observatory and Paranal in Chile.
    • Mexico’s National Astronomical Observatory.
  • Trans- Himalayan Region:
    • The Trans-Himalayas Mountain Region or Tibet Himalayan Region is located to the north of the Great Himalayas which consists of Karakoram, Ladakh, Zaskar and Kailash mountain ranges.
      • It is also called the Tibet Himalayan Region because most of the part of these ranges lies in Tibet.
    • They are the eastward continuation of the most northerly ranges of the Himalayas.
    • It consists of an ill-defined mountain area about 600 miles long and 140 miles wide in the centre, narrowing to a 20-mile width at the eastern and western ends.
    • It is mainly composed of granites and volcanic rocks of the Neogene and Paleogene age.

Source: PIB

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