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Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES)

Located on the lap of the lower Himalayas, near the beautiful hill town of Nainital, Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES) is an autonomous research institute funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST).

History

Due to the initiative of the late Dr. Sampurnanand, Cabinet Minister of Education, Uttar Pradesh and later the Chief Minister of the state, the Uttar Pradesh State Observatory (UPSO) came into existence. Dr. A. N. Singh, an eminent mathematician, was appointed as the honorary Director and UPSO started functioning in the premises of the Government Sanskrit College (presently known as Sampurnanand Sanskrit Vishwavidyalaya), Varanasi on 20th April 1954.

Owing to the sudden demise of Dr. A. N. Singh in July 1954, the task of leading the UPSO on the path of growth to a mature institution came in November 1954 into the hands of Dr. M. K. Vainu Bappu - a youthful and enthusiastic Ph.D. from Harvard. Dr.  Vainu Bappu was appointed as Chief Astronomer, the senior most position at the UPSO, was responsible for the growth for the period 1954-1960. It was due to the vision, initiative and acumen of Dr.  Bappu that the planning for the observatory was put on a sound footing. The first task taken up was that of transforming UPSO into a modern center for Astrophysical Research. The present location at Manora Peak, Nainital was selected as the most prospective site and in November 1955, the UPSO was shifted over from Varanasi to Manora Peak.

Consequent to the creation of the state of Uttaranchal, on 9th November 2000, because of its geographical location within the boundaries of Uttaranchal, UPSO came under the administrative controls of the new government and was re-christened as the State Observatory (SO). Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES) was the new name when SO came under the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India as an autonomous body. The ARIES came into existence on 22nd March 2004, following the decision of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Government of India on 7th January 2004.

With a recent increase in light pollution due to Nainital city, ARIES has now developed a new astronomical site at Devasthal after comprehensive site surveys done in different places in the Himalayan region. This site was chosen after an extensive site characterization conducted during 1980 - 2001 in the central Himalayan range. The main advantages of the Devasthal site are in its dark skies, sub-arcsec seeing, low extinction and at the same time being easily assessable and manageable. The site development at Devasthal was started after ARIES moved to DST in 2004.  The observatory site now hosts different telescopes.

Research

ARIES is a center of excellence for research in Astronomy & Astrophysics and Atmospheric Sciences. It carries out research on air pollution and climate change on earth, formation and evolution of sun, stars and galaxies. The research group of the Institute consists of research scientists, Ph.D. students, postdocs and visiting scholars. The researchers are also involved in the design and development of sophisticated and advanced scientific instruments and it is supported by a team of engineers and technical personnel who are involved in building and operating instruments at both the campuses - Manora Peak and Devasthal. The research areas at ARIES include:

Academics

Post-Doctoral Programme

ARIES offers the following Post-Doctoral Fellowship programmes throughout the year and selection will be made thrice in a year. The last dates are 31 January, 31 May, and 30 September.

  • Regular Post-Doctoral Fellowship
  • Post-Doctoral Researcher
  • Aryabhatta Post-Doctoral Fellowship

Ph.D. Programme

ARIES extends opportunity to all M. Sc. qualified students to pursue an exciting research career as a Ph.D. student in Astronomy & Astrophysics and Atmospheric Sciences. Every year, students with M.Sc. Physics are invited to apply for Junior Research Fellowship programme of ARIES leading to Ph.D. Students admitted to the Ph.D. programme are initially offered a Junior Research Fellowship (JRF). The JRF joins the Ph.D. programme after successful completion of the course work. On completion of two years as a Junior Research Fellow, a student is offered a Senior Research Fellowship (SRF) after a rigorous assessment. The total tenure of the fellowship may not ordinarily exceed five years, inclusive of the course work. Once a student submits the thesis within five years, an enhanced fellowship amount may be given for a further period of one year.

Visiting Student Programme

This programme is aimed at those who have just cleared their post-graduate or B.Tech/M.Tech examination (in exceptional case undergraduate students also). ARIES offers the opportunity to work with ARIES faculty on a short term project (preferable 2-3 three month duration) throughout the year. In this programme, the student is put in touch with the faculties having an overlapping interest in the research field.

The objective of this programme is to (i) inculcate in students an aptitude of research-oriented learning (ii) scientific resource development by exposing the students with ongoing excitement in the cutting edge research area, along with familiarity with ARIES ongoing research and developmental activity by having ample interaction with ARIES Ph.D. students and faculties.

Outreach Programme (ASPOP)

To disseminate the knowledge available to the astronomy community (of both India and worldwide) to the general public, ARIES has set up a science center at Manora Peak campus. The objectives of ARIES Science Popularization and Outreach Programme (ASPOP) include:

  • To encourage and enable ARIES astronomical community to take an active role in explaining what we do (and why) to our fellow citizens
  • To facilitate students and teachers at undergraduate and graduate levels to carry out small observational projects in Astronomy & Astrophysics using small aperture telescopes
  • To give a glimpse of opportunities that are available for the young, enthusiastic and bright students who want to take up Astronomy & Astrophysics as their career

Source: Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES)



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