Research Institute of Observational-Sciences (ARIES), Nainital
Opportunities at ARIES
is situated at quite and picturesque hills with interesting walks through its
forest providing great views of Himalayas. The campus hosts rich variety of the
Himalayan flora and fauna and occasional sightings of rare birds and wild life.
The primary objective of ARIES is to provide national optical observing facilities
to carry out research in the frontline areas of Astronomy and Astrophysics, and
Atmospheric Sciences. The main research interests are in 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. The optical observations carried out at ARIES are well recognised
both nationally and internationally. 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.
For example, the first successful attempt in the country to observe optical afterglow
of Gamma Ray Bursts was carried out from ARIES. A large number of eclipsing binaries,
variable stars, star clusters, nearby galaxies, Gamma Ray Bursts, and supernova
have been observed from ARIES. 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 intranight optical variability and the degree
of polarisation of the radio jets in Quasars was established based on the observations
from ARIES. In coming years, the Institute plans to setup new observational facilities
in the Himalayan region.
50-year old State Observatory at Nainital was reincarnated on 22nd March 2004
as ARIES, an acronym given for Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational-SciencES,
an autonomous institute under the Department of Science and Technology, Govt.
of India. Historically. The Observatory came into existence at Varanasi on 20th
April, 1954. The Observatory was later moved from the dust and haze of the plains
to more transparent skies of Nainital in 1955, and to its present location in
1961 at an altitude of 1951m at Manora peak, a few km south of the Nainital town.
ARIES presently hosts five optical telescopes of sizes15cm, 38cm, 52cm, 56cm,
and 104cm. These telescopes are equipped with modern instruments like cooled CCD
camera, spectrophotometer, and filters etc. The 104cm telescope, known as the
Sampurnanand telescope, has been the mainstay of the photometric, spectrophotometric
and polarimetric observations. The instruments available are Cassegrain plate
holder, Meinel Camera, Near infrared and photoelectric photometer, a spectrum
scanner, and optical multichannel analyser. |
104cm Sampurnanand Telescope
ARIES also promotes
research using observations taken at other wavelengths like Xray, ultraviolet,
and radio. It is proposed that ARIES will help in building up of a user community
for the upcoming observing facilities like ASTROSAT, the first multiwavelength
Indian astronomical Satellite to be launched in coming years, and the existing
facilities such as Giant Meterwave Radio Telescope (GMRT) of the Tata Institute
of Fundamental Research (TIFR) near Pune and the new 2meter optical Himalayan
Chandra Telescope (HCT) of the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) at Hanle
A planetary nebulae imaged with the 104cm telescope at ARIES.
The nebulae of gas is created by explosion of a runaway Sunlike star
The multiwavelength radiometer and GRIM spectrometer are
routinely used to study aerosol characteristics and in turn the radiation budget
of the atmosphere. The Institute has inhouse workshops to meet the requirements
of electronic, mechanical, and optical maintenance of the instruments. ARIES has
a modern computer centre and a well maintained library with more than 10,000 volumes
of research journals and an excellent collection of books on astronomy. The VSAT
facility at the Institute links the observatory with rest of the world through
|Considering the aspirations
of the Institute, ARIES will maintain and upgrade its existing facilities, and
design and fabricate new equipments to carry out observations in the frontier
areas of astronomy. For this purpose, the Institute plans to set up a 1meter class
and a 3meter class optical telescope at Devesthal, which has advantage of having
dark skies and excellent observing conditions. It is also planned to set up a
1m class micropulse LIDAR system to carry out research on the atmosphere of the
Earth. ARIES also participate in science popularization programs for students
and common people.|| |
The Whirlpool (M 51) galaxy imaged with the 104cm telescope.
The spiral arms are the sites, where new stars are being born.
Research scholars are also eligible for a contingency
grant on yearly basis, and accommodation in the campus and catering facilities
at nominal cost. ARIES promotes research scholars to participate in national and
international meetings and conferences.
Image of a globular cluster comprising several thousand
of old stars. Globular clusters are believed to be the oldest object in the Milky
Programme : ARIES offers fellowships to pursue Ph.D. in Astronomy &
Astrophysics and Atmospheric Sciences. ARIES selects students as research scholars
via the JEST exam and also via the NET and GATE exams. The timings of these exams
are usually announced via advertisements in newspapers and via posters at most
major educational institutes in the country. The minimum qualification is an M.Sc.
degree in Physics or a BE/BTech degree. The selection is based on the score in
the written test (JEST, NET or GATE) and an interview, which is usually held in
late June or early July. Research scholars are expected to submit their theses
within five years of the start of their programme. Research scholars are paid
Rs 8000/= p.m. for the first two years and Rs 9000/= p.m. afterwards. |
ARIES offers postdoctoral
fellowships and visiting positions to work in any branch of Astronomy & Astrophysics,
Atmospheric Sciences, Engineering and Instrumentation, or Software development.
Exceptionally bright and highly motivated candidates can be considered for regular
Short term Visits:
Students with an outstanding academic record and an aptitude for instrumentation
or software development can spend a few months in ARIES any time of the year.
Students will work under supervision of one of the staff members in the Institute.
Exceptionally bright students with engineering background can be considered for
regular positions. Student Training
Programme : A few bright students in different semesters of the B.E./B.Tech./M.Sc.
courses can spend 23 months in ARIES to work with one of the scientists in the
Institute on topics related to Astronomy & Astrophysics, Atmospheric Sciences
: ARIES organises summer school every year for 46 weeks. The school is
aimed at providing introduction to Astrophysics and Atmospheric physics to young
graduate students in their M.Sc./B.Tech programs. The school consists of lectures
and a short term project The exact timings of these schools are announced via
posters at major educational institutions in the country.
Programs : The observatory is open to public in the evenings for night
sky viewing using one of the telescopes at the Institute. Visitors can also attend
the slideshows and view the picture gallery describing celestial bodies. The timings
of the show may vary according to the season. The details of the show can be obtained
on the Institute contact numbers.
Areas of Research :
Astronomy and Solar System: Sun, Solar activity, comets, asteroids, and planets.
- Stellar Astronomy: Stars, star clusters, stellar variability, pulsation,
ages of the stars and their spectral properties.
- Interstellar Matter:
Gas (atoms and molecules) and dust between the stars and in the
- Xray Astronomy: Xray emitting binary stars.
Extragalactic Astronomy: Nearby galaxies, Optical follow up of Gamma Ray Bursts
(GRB) and Supernova, Active galaxies, Quasar luminosity variability.
Atmospheric Sciences: Aerosols - characterization and thermal budget, Mesophase
and thermosphere dynamics, Coupling processes between different atmospheric regions.
Image before the event
after the event
The event of a supernova
explosion in the galaxy M74 recorded on February 6th, 2002 at ARIES. The event
was related to the death of a star.
|Academic Staff and their
Research Interests :|
Astronomy, Galaxy Groups, Active Galactic Nulei, Galaxy Kinematics, Interstellar
|A. K. Pandey||Star
|Ram Sagar (Director)||Star
Clusters, GammaRay, Burst, Quasars|
B. Sanwal||WolfRayet, Galaxies, Comets,
Sciences, middle and upper atmosphere|
Yadav||Star Clusters, Stellar Astronomy|
|K. G. Gupta||Optics|
|S. K. Gupta||Electronics|
|Kumar T. S||Electronics|
Opening hours for visitors:
14.00 16:30 : slideshow / 19.00 20.30 : skyviewing
Location: 79o 27'
E, 29o 22' N, 1951 meter above MSL
Connected from Kathgodam (broadgauge) and Lal Kuan (meterguage) railway
NH 87; 6 km before Nainital take the direction ARIES
(locally known as the
32 km from Kathgodam Railway Station. 9 km from Nainital
more information please contact:
Aryabhatta Research Institute
of Observational-Sciences (ARIES)
Manora Peak, Nainital 263129, INDIA
Tel: +91 5942 235136/235583
Fax: +91 5942 235136
Email: sagar at aries dot ernet dot in
Committee E-mail: ac at aries dot ernet dot in
Admission E-mail: admission at aries dot ernet dot in