World’s largest solar telescope to be set up in Ladakh

Jammu: The Jammu and Kashmir government has assured all help and co-operation to the Union Department of Science and Technology in its endeavour to set up a solar telescope, said to be the world’s largest, at Merak on Pangong Tso lake in the cold desert Ladakh region.

The official statement quoting Jammu and Kashmir chief secretary Madhav Lal said: “The state government will extend full cooperation to the Department of Science and Technology of Government of India (GOI). The facility will also provide employment opportunities to the local population in the area.”
Chairing a meeting here to discuss the modalities for setting up the National Large Solar Telescope (NLST), the chief secretary called for following strategies to ensure that the “construction, as well as operational phases of the project can be undertaken with minimal disturbance to the local flora and fauna”.
Professor Tushar P Prabhu from the Indian Institute of Astrophysics of the Department of Science and Technology, said the site was selected after carefully studying various scientific and environmental aspects. It emerged from the studies that Pangong Tso lake site at Merak was “very promising and offered longer sunshine hours”.
He said, “The site, selected for setting up the of world’s largest solar telescope fitted with a 2m reflector will permit scientists to carry out cutting edge research to understand the fundamental processes taking place on the sun.”
The solar telescope will help the scientific community to study the long-term changes in the earth’s climate and environment and also provide useful data to carry out research in order to minimize or remove disruptions to communications network and satellites due to periodic solar winds.
Pangong Tso lake is situated at a height of 14,270 feet above sea level. It is 134 km long and five km wide at the broadest point.

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