TIME.CO, Jakarta – The newly built National Observatory in Timau, East Nusa Tenggara, is expected to open to the public in 2024. However, according to Kupang National Observatory Station Coordinator – BRIN, Abdul Rachman, the number of visitors will be very limited.
“At Timau it will probably be even more severe than at the Bosscha Observatory,” he said at the online event Chat Dialogue on Popular Scientific Facts in Space Science, Monday 25 September 2023.
According to him, restrictions on public visits are common at large observatories such as those in the United States and Europe. So far, the National Agency for Research on Innovation or BRIN has not finished discussing the procedures for receiving public visits. Other discussions included the use of stargazing facilities by amateur astronomers and student lectures. “For Indonesian students, I think it might be more appropriate to use a smaller telescope first. Little by little,” he said.
At the Timau National Observatory, Abdul Rachman explained, BRIN has not only installed a large telescope with a diameter of 3.8 meters. Several small 50 and 100 centimeter telescopes will also be prepared.
“At a later stage there will also be the possibility for teachers and students to make selection proposals, we will evaluate whether or not it is appropriate to use a large telescope”, he explained.
Besides this, a science center for students will be built at the operational headquarters located in the Tilong Dam area. Various teaching aids will be prepared that do not only concern astronomy. There too, according to Abdul Rachman, visitors from the general public will be able to see the activities of the Timau National Observatory. “Including researchers or anything that can be shared with the public,” he said.
According to him, the location of the visit to Tilong was closer to the city center, about 30 minutes from Kupang. Compared to if visitors were to travel to the Timau National Observatory which is about three hours to the north-east. “It is also possible that you will not be able to enter due to queues or restrictions, so you will be able to see from Tilong,” Abdul Rachman said.
Located at an altitude of approximately 1,300 meters above sea level, the Timau National Observatory has the largest telescope in Southeast Asia. Its diameter is 3.8 meters, surpassing the Thai telescope which measures 2.4 meters. The new astronomical research vehicle was created to complement the Bosscha Observatory in Lembang, West Java.
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