Timau National Observatory in East Nusa Tenggara Poised to Revolutionize Astronomy and Attract Global Interest


The National Research and Innovation Agency has announced significant progress in the construction of the Timau National Observatory, set to be completed by the end of 2023. Abdul Rahman, the Coordinator of the Kupang National Observatory Station, disclosed that the installation of a secondary mirror was completed on July 26, 2023. The primary and tertiary mirrors will follow suit shortly after. The centerpiece of the observatory, a 3.8m telescope with a 14m diameter dome, is currently 55% complete and is expected to be fully operational in the next two to three months.

Situated at the foot of Mount Timau in East Nusa Tenggara, the observatory's strategic location was chosen for its minimal light pollution and easy accessibility. The skies in this region experience fewer clouds compared to other parts of Indonesia, providing clear skies for observations on over 65% of the days each year. With low light pollution, the observatory will offer researchers a more natural and darker sky, facilitating the observation of faint celestial objects.

Robertus Heru Triharjanto, Head of the Aviation and Space Research Organization, emphasized the global significance of the Timau National Observatory. The quality of astronomical facilities is gauged by the number of observation nights and hours available in a year. Mount Timau's unique characteristics provide the best conditions for clear and dark skies in Indonesia, attracting not only domestic astronomers but also international researchers.

Triharjanto expressed hope that the completion of the Timau National Observatory would establish a group of astronomers and astrophysics scientists as a global reference for Indonesia. Besides inviting researchers worldwide to engage in scientific research, the observatory will serve as an essential site for observing man-made space objects. Particular attention will be paid to defunct satellites and former orbiting rocket parts, which can pose risks to functioning satellites and future satellite launches.

The Timau National Observatory is poised to become a milestone in Indonesia's space research history, contributing to advanced space studies and interdisciplinary scientific development. With its state-of-the-art telescope and modern supporting instruments, the observatory is poised to play a vital role in the exploration of dimmer celestial objects and expand our understanding of the universe.

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