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Kodaikanal Solar Observatory Marks 125th Anniversary: A Legacy of Solar Exploration

Kodaikanal: The Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA), under the aegis of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), commemorated the 125th anniversary of the iconic Kodaikanal Solar Observatory (KSO) on April 1st. The celebration served as a tribute to the illustrious history of the observatory, recognizing its pioneering contributions to solar research and its enduring legacy in the field of astronomy in India.

Established by the British on April 1st, 1899, the Kodaikanal Solar Observatory stands as a testament to over a century of dedicated solar exploration. Boasting one of the world’s longest continuous records of solar observations, the observatory has amassed a digital repository comprising 1.2 lakh digitized solar images, along with thousands of additional images captured daily since the dawn of the 20th century.

Former Chairman of ISRO, A.S. Kiran Kumar, who currently serves as the Chairperson of the Governing Council of IIA, unveiled the commemorative logo for the KSO’s 125th anniversary alongside a booklet chronicling the observatory’s storied history and groundbreaking research achievements.

The observatory’s milestone anniversary was marked by a series of events organized by IIA, aimed at showcasing its rich heritage and ongoing scientific endeavors. Notably, the observatory traces its lineage back to the Madras Observatory, established in 1792, and currently operates as a field station under the Indian Institute of Astrophysics.

Prof. Annapurni Subramaniam, Director of IIA, emphasized the observatory’s legacy of innovation and knowledge pursuit, spanning multiple generations of scientists and technological advancements. Renowned solar physicist Prof. Siraj Hasan delved into the observatory’s historical significance, highlighting pivotal discoveries such as the Evershed Effect, observed in sunspots, in 1909.

S. Seetha, former Director of the Space Science Program Office at ISRO, stressed the importance of integrating KSO’s contributions into educational curricula to enhance awareness among students about its unique scientific contributions.

In addition to celebrating the KSO’s anniversary, the Indian Institute of Astrophysics observed its Foundation Day, commemorating its establishment under the Department of Science & Technology in 1971. The Foundation Day Lecture, delivered by Shri A.S. Kiran Kumar, explored the evolution of the Indian Space Program and its transformative impact on socio-economic development.

As the journey continues, with projects like the Visible Emission Line Coronagraph onboard Aditya-L1 and the proposed National Large Solar Telescope in Ladakh, the observatory remains at the forefront of unraveling the mysteries of our nearest star.

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