Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory

Looking at heavens
Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory on Mt Aragats

Byurakan is a leisure and resort village famous for the Astrophysical Observatory. The observatory was founded in 1946, but the official opening was in 1956. It is on the chest of Aragats Mountain. The observatory Byurakan is one of the greatest World centers of Astronomy. The main tools used during explorations are telescopes. During last years galactic astronomy has been largely studied here. In 1967 the center has received a prize for its great successes and qualified specialists. The main explorations concern the problem of development of star systems.

Talking with Heavens!
Basilica of St. Hovhannes 

Byurakan is also a place of historical monuments. You can see here the church of St. Hovhannes (10th c.) with rich interior and two big praying rooms. There are many "vishaps", stone sculptures of mythical fishes - guards of Water, spread over the slopes of Aragats mount.
Pilgrimage to Armenia

The Observatory
In 1998 the name was changed to Ambartsumian Observatory in honour of Viktor Hambardzumyan (1906-1996) who founded it in 1946.

At the observatory five observational instruments are installed the larger ones being 2.6 m Cassegrain telescope and 1m Schmidt telescope. Scientific researches of the observatory are related mainly with the instability phenomena taking place in the Universe. Since 1946 numerous scientific meetings were held in Byurakan including four symposia and a colloquium of the IAU. The architectural ensemble of the observatory which consists of two - the functional part containing the telescope towers, administrative and laboratory buildings, conference hall, guest house, etc and the campus is designed by the famous Armenian architect Samvel Safarian.
Observatory website

Mount Aragats

Mt Aragats is the highest point in Armenia (4,090 m)

Mount Aragats is a large andesitic-to-dacitic stratovolcano in northwest Armenia about 40 km northwest of the capital city of Yerevan. It is the highest point in Armenia, located in the province of Aragatsotn, northwest from Yerevan. On its slopes are the Byurakan Observatory and the medieval Amberd Fortress. The observatory is a historically significant facility responsible for a number of important photographic surveys. Mount Aragats is a popular destination for tourists, especially in summer. The 4,090 m (13,419 ft) high main edifice of Aragats is dissected by glaciers and is of Pliocene-to-Pleistocene age. However, parasitic cones and fissures are on all sides of the volcano and were the source of large lava flows that descended its lower flanks.

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