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Category of Astronomical Heritage: tangible immovable
Kodaikanal Solar Observatory, India

Format: IAU - Outstanding Astronomical Heritage Description

Description

Geographical position 
  • InfoTheme: Astronomy from the Renaissance to the mid-twentieth century
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    Date: 2018-08-26 14:12:26
    Author(s): Gudrun Wolfschmidt

Kodaikanal Solar Observatory, Kodaikanal, India

 

 

Location 
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    Author(s): Gudrun Wolfschmidt

Lat. 10° 13′ 56″ N, long. 77° 27′ 53″ E, elevation 2,343m above mean sea level.

 

 

IAU observatory code 
  • InfoTheme: Astronomy from the Renaissance to the mid-twentieth century
    Entity: 129
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    Date: 2019-06-17 14:24:25
    Author(s): Gudrun Wolfschmidt

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Description of (scientific/cultural/natural) heritage 
  • InfoTheme: Astronomy from the Renaissance to the mid-twentieth century
    Entity: 129
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    Date: 2019-06-19 13:03:52
    Author(s): Gudrun Wolfschmidt

The Evershed effect (radial motions in sunspots) was first detected at this observatory in January 1909.

Kodaikanal, Hall (Photo: R. Kochhar)

Fig. 1. Kodaikanal, Hall (Photo: R. Kochhar)

In the Hale Observatories Vainu Bappu discovered together with Olin Chaddock Wilson (1909-1994) the Wilson-Bappu-Effect.

The comet C/1949 N1 was named as the Bappu-Bok-Newkirk comet.

Bappu started to build an observatory in Kavalur in 1968. The Vainu Bappu Observatory (VBO) and the 2.3-m-Vainu Bappu Telescope (VBT) - both at Kavalur - were named for him in 1986.

Solar data, collected by the lab, is the oldest continuous series of its kind in India. Precise observations of the equatorial electrojet are made here due to the unique geography of Kodaikanal. It was in the 1960s still the country’s largest.

Kodaikanal, Spectroheliograph (Photo: R. Kochhar)

Fig. 2. Kodaikanal, Spectroheliograph (Photo: R. Kochhar)

 

History 
  • InfoTheme: Astronomy from the Renaissance to the mid-twentieth century
    Entity: 129
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    Version: 4
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    Date: 2019-06-19 13:09:09
    Author(s): Gudrun Wolfschmidt

Kodaikanal, Dome (Photo: R. Kochhar)

Fig. 3. Kodaikanal, Dome (Photo: R. Kochhar)

Kodaikanal, Map

Fig. 4. Kodaikanal, Map

Instruments (Kochar 2002):

  • 4-inch-Photoheliograph called Dallmeyer No. 4, 1844
  • Spectrograph, Adam Hilger, 1897, a polar siderostat with an 11-in aperture plane mirror; a 6-inch-lens (40-ft focus), Howard Grubb,  and a concave grating
  • 6-inch-telescope, T. Cooke & Sons, 1874, with a three-prism solar spectroscope, Adam Hilger
  • Transit telescope, T. Cooke & Sons, and chronograph, Eichen & Hardy of Paris
  • 6-inch-equatorial, Lerebours & Secretan, 1850, renewed Grubb, 1898
  • Calcium-K spectroheliograph, Horace Darwin’s Cambridge Scientific Instrument Company, 1902
  • 12-inch-solar telescope (2-ft focus) with a Foucault siderostat - 18-inch-plane silver-onglass mirror, T. Cooke & Sons

In 1912 instruments were received from Poona on the closure of Takhtasinghji’s Observatory.

New Instruments:

  • 20-inch refractor Bavanagar Telescope, Grubb-Parsons, 1951
  • Lyot hydrogen-alpha heliograph with a 15-cm-objective, 1957
  • Lyot coronograph with a 20-cm-objective (3-m focus), REOSC, Paris, 1957
  • 38-cm-Tunnel Telescope (36-m focus), Howard Grubb Parsons, 1957
  • Coelostat, 60-cm reflector - KSO Tunnel Telescope
  • WARM [White Light Active Region Monitoring] Telescope - (H-alpha)
  • TWIN Telescope - SPECTRO-Telescope

Kodaikanal, Tunnel Telescope (Photo: R. Kochhar)

Fig. 5. Kodaikanal, Tunnel Telescope (Photo: R. Kochhar)

A 12-m solar tower with modern spectrograph was established in 1960 by Amil Kumar Das and used to perform some of the first ever helioseismology investigations. Measurements of vector magnetic fields were initiated during the 1960s.

Vainu Bappu built a new Observatory in Kavalur.

Partial List of Assistant Directors

  • John Evershed (1864-1956), 1906 to 1911
  • Thomas Royds (1884-1955), 1911 to 1923
  • Anil Kumar Das (1902-1961), 1937 to 1946

List of Directors

  • Charles Michie Smith (1854-1922), 1895 to 1911
  • John Evershed (1864-1956), 1911 to 1923
  • Thomas Royds (1884-1955), 1923 to 1939
  • Appadvedula Lakshmi Narayan (1887-1973), 1939 to 1946
  • Amil Kumar Das (1902-1961), 1946 to 1960
  • Manali Kallat Vainu Bappu (1927-1982), 1960 to ...
  • [Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore (since 1977)]
  • Jagadish Chandra Bhattacharya (1930-2012), 1982 to 1990
  • Ramnath Cowsik (*1940), 1992 to 2003
  • S. S. Hasan

 

Comparison with related/similar sites 
  • InfoTheme: Astronomy from the Renaissance to the mid-twentieth century
    Entity: 129
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    Version: 2
    Status: PUB
    Date: 2018-08-23 16:08:54
    Author(s): Gudrun Wolfschmidt

Only three other institutions, Meudon Observatory near Paris, the Mount Wilson Observatory and Einstein tower, Potsdam, have a comparable collection of instruments.

 

 

Present use 
  • InfoTheme: Astronomy from the Renaissance to the mid-twentieth century
    Entity: 129
    Subentity: 1
    Version: 2
    Status: PUB
    Date: 2018-08-23 16:09:47
    Author(s): Gudrun Wolfschmidt

Used as an out station of Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore (since 1977)

 

Astronomical relevance today 
  • InfoTheme: Astronomy from the Renaissance to the mid-twentieth century
    Entity: 129
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    Date: 2018-08-23 16:10:42
    Author(s): Gudrun Wolfschmidt

Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore (since 1977)
It is a premier institute devoted to research in astronomy, astrophysics and related physics. The main observing facilities of the Institute are located at Gauribidanur, Hanle, Kavalur (1970s) and Kodaikanal.

 

References

Bibliography (books and published articles) 
  • InfoTheme: Astronomy from the Renaissance to the mid-twentieth century
    Entity: 129
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    Version: 3
    Status: PUB
    Date: 2019-06-17 15:46:22
    Author(s): Gudrun Wolfschmidt

  • Kochhar, Rajesh K.: The growth of modern astronomy in India 1651-1960. In: Vistas in Astronomy 34 (1991), p. 69-105.
  • Kochhar, Rajesh: Kodaikanal Observatory (1899). In: Wolfschmidt, Gudrun (ed.): Cultural Heritage of Astronomical Observatories - From Classical Astronomy to Modern Astrophysics. Proceedings of International ICOMOS Symposium in Hamburg, October 14--17, 2008. Berlin: hendrik Bäßler-Verlag (International Council on Monuments and Sites, Monuments and Sites XVIII) 2009, p. 254-259.
  • Ramamurthy, G.: Biographical Dictionary of Great Astronomers. 2005.

 

Links to external sites 
  • InfoTheme: Astronomy from the Renaissance to the mid-twentieth century
    Entity: 129
    Subentity: 1
    Version: 3
    Status: PUB
    Date: 2018-08-23 16:14:54
    Author(s): Gudrun Wolfschmidt

Kodaikanal Solar Observatory
http://www.iiap.res.in/centers/kodai

 

 

 

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