Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences

Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences
Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences
Established April 20, 1954
Type Research Institution
Director Prof. Ram Sagar
Location Nainital, India
Campus Manora Peak, Nainital

Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES) is one of the leading research Institutes which specializes in Astronomy, Astrophysics and Atmospheric Sciences. An autonomous body under the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, the institute is situated at Manora Peak (1,951 m (6,401 ft)), about 9 km from Nainital, a popular hill station in Uttarakhand, India.[1]

The astronomical observatory is open to public during working days at afternoons, for night viewing however, three four days on moonlight nights are fixed and prior permission is needed.[2]



The institute was started on April 20, 1954 under the supervision of Dr.A.N.Singh as Uttar Pradesh State Observatory (UPSO) in the premises of the Govt. Sanskrit College, presently known as Sampurnanand Sanskrit University, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. However, due to sudden premature death of Dr. A.N. Singh a few months after the start of the institute, the responsibility of the institute was given to a young, visionary astronomer Dr. Vainu Bappu. Due to the vision, acumen and initiative of Dr. Bappu, the task of transforming UPSO into a modern centre for Astrophysical Research was put on a sound putting. Due to poor observing conditions for astronomical observations at Varanasi, the institute got transferred to its present location at Manora Peak, Nainital, in 1961, a few km south of the Nainital town.

With the creation of the State of Uttarakhand on 9th Nov, 2010, and because of its geographical location within the boundaries of Uttarakhand, 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 it came under the Department of Science & Technology (DST), Govt. of India as an autonomous body on March 22, 2004.

The acronym ARIES also signifies the sun sign of the two important epochs separated by almost 50 years in the history of the Institute. First it corresponds to its creation on 20 April 1954 and secondly it marks the beginning of a new phase on March 22, 2004.

Research facilities

Astronomy and Astrophysics

Research activities at ARIES cover topics related to sun, stars and galaxies. ARIES has significant contributions particularly to the field of star clusters and Gamma-Ray Bursts (GRBs). The longitude of ARIES (79º East) locates it in the middle of about 180-degree wide longitude band having modern astronomical facilities between Canary Islands (20º West) and Eastern Australia (157º East). The observations, which are not possible in Canary Islands or Australia due to daylight, can be obtained by ARIES. Because of its geographical location and existence of good astronomical sites, ARIES has made unique contributions to many areas of astronomical research, particularly those involving time critical phenomena (e.g., the first successful attempt in the country to observe optical afterglow of GRBs was carried out from ARIES). A large number of eclipsing binaries, variable stars, star clusters, nearby galaxies, GRBs, and supernova have been observed from ARIES. The other research fields of the institute include solar astronomy, stellar astronomy, star clusters, stellar variability and pulsation, photometric studies of nearby galaxies, Quasars, and transient events like supernovae and highly energetic Gamma-Ray Bursts (GRBs). A total solar eclipse lasting about 4 minutes was successfully observed from Manavgat, Antalya in Turkey on March 29, 2006 by a team of scientists from the Institute.

In past, new ring systems around Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune were discovered from the observatory. Recently, for the first time a direct correlation between the intra-night optical variability and the degree of polarization of the radio jets in Quasars was established based on the observations from ARIES. For the first time periodic oscillations are detected in optical intra day variability data of blazers which is extremely useful to get the blackhole mass of blazers and also strong support to accretion disk based models of AGN.

Atmospheric Sciences

Nainital (29.40N; 79.50E, 1958 m amsl) is located at higher altitude in the Central Himalayas and away from urban cities or any major pollution source. This factor makes it best suited for carrying out observations in background condition and to study the regional environment, particularly interactions between natural and anthropogenic trace species and climate change. Additionally, the ARIES site can also provide information on long range transport of pollutants. Studies on lower atmospheric dynamics are also very important in this region, which is severely lacking over northern India.


The Institute has in-house workshops to meet the requirements of electronic, mechanical, and optical maintenance of the instruments. ARIES has a modern computer centre with internet facility and a well maintained library with more than 10,000 volumes of research journals and an excellent collection of books on Astronomy & Astrophysics and Atmospheric Sciences.

Upcoming projects

  • 3.6m Devasthal Optical Telescope
  • 1.3 m Robotic Telescope at Devasthal
  • Stratosphere Troposphere Radar
  • Lidar


External links

Coordinates: 29°01′19″N 79°01′37″E / 29.022°N 79.027°E / 29.022; 79.027

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