Overview of the project

Project leader: Raka Dabhade, rakadabhade@gmail.com
Project location: Pune India

Project description:
The TARA Observatory is a unique project which proposes to combine a highly configurable robotic telescope array with an innovative sensor array network. TARA is an Indian word for a Star and also an ancient ceremonial site in Ireland with astronomical roots, hence it represents technological partnership between Fergusson College and Cork Institute of Technology. Presently there are two TARA nodes in Cork- Ireland and California – USA.

In the present project we propose to set up a third node in Fergusson College, India. The project will allow acquisition of large volumes of data at remote sites and will also create significant computing opportunity with respect to effective data analysis and storage. Innovative use of a network of sensors to monitor the telescope system as a whole is also planned.

The TARA Fergusson College node will thus allow students to carry out projects and research in various disciplines using the setup for remote observations. The node would also let students and teachers use this telescope for live observing sessions as well as scheduled observations.

Further, the difference in time zones between USA, Ireland, India is also ideal for day time astronomy – Solar studies. An integral part of the project will also be the implementation of a public outreach scheme to allow schools and other colleges to utilize the robotic telescope system as a learning and inspirational tool. Students will learn remote observation techniques and carry out remote observations.

The TARA node will provide a unique opportunity for college students, in India, Ireland and USA to perform observations, manually as well as remotely and to stimulate interest in Physics, Electronics and Astronomy/Astrophysics

About the project leader:
Dr. Raka Dhabhade is Associate Professor in the Department of Physics at Fergusson College, Pune, India.