Astronomy division was established in ACCIMT with the commencement of largest optical telescope facility in Sri Lanka, GOTO 45cm Cassegrain telescope. The division is responsible in the operation of telescope facility and carryout observations and education programs. Astronomers in the division are working in close collaboration with foreign entities and local universities to carry out basic research in astronomy. In addition, outreach programs for astronomy and space science popularization are also conducting for public and school children.
Exoplanetary Astronomy is the study of planetary systems around stars other than our sun. At ACCIMT, we have used the data released from the Kepler spacecraft to find new exoplanets, and at present we have had success in detecting two new planetary systems.
Asteroseismology allows an unprecedented way to determine the internal structure of stars by studying their oscillations. This method can be applied to all types of pulsating stars which have radial and non-radial pulsations. In radial pulsations, star expands and contract radially while in non-radial, for example, the northern hemisphere contacts and southern hemisphere expands.
Evolution and physical properties of Cataclysmic Variable Stars
Cataclysmic variables (CVs) are interacting binary stars comprising a white dwarf accreting matter from either a main-sequence or slightly evolved star, or from a red dwarf. This interaction resulted range of behavior, of which the most significant are outbursts that give the class its name such as supernovae, novae, recurrent novae, dwarf novae, symbiotic stars and R Corona Borealis.
Exoplanetary Astronomy is the study of planetary systems around stars other than our sun.
Asteroseismology allows to determine the internal structure of stars by studying their oscillations.
Cataclysmic variables are interacting binary stars comprising a white dwarf accreting matter from a companion star.
Solar Radio Bursts
The radio emission of solar flares detects by CALLISTO system at ACCIMT.
In 1996, ACCIMT hosted the UN/ESA workshop on Basic Space Science which resulted the commissioning of the GOTO 45cm Cassagrain telescope donated by the Japanese Government. This is the largest optical telescope facility available in Sri Lanka which is meant for carrying out basic research studies in astronomy as well as for teaching astronomy to school and university students.
This telescope facility is equipped with a spectrograph, photometer and Apogee ASPEN (3056×3056 pixels) and Apogee ALTA U47 (1024×1024 pixels) CCD cameras. The spectra in the wavelength region from 4000 A to 9000 A can be obtained with this system. The photometer of the telescope has RCA IP21 photomultiplier tube with pulse counting system and Johnson and Morgan UBVRI filters.
Specifications of Telescope
|Effective Aperture||45 cm|
|Effective Focal Length||5400 mm|
|Theoretical Resolving Power||0.31 arcseconds|
|Maximum Visual Magnitude||15 (perfect clear sky)|
Specifications of Spectrograph
|Spectrograph configuration||Monk-Gillieson type spectrograph|
|Plane reflective gratings||150, 900 and 1200 grooves/mm|
|Camera||Apogee ASPEN (3056×3056 pixel) CCD|
The astronomy division introduces this workshop under the astronomy infrastructure development programme. This workshop consists of both the theory and practical components and will be held at the ACCIMT. Participants will have the opportunity to use the biggest telescope in Sri Lanka to complete part of the practical component.
The workshop is more suitable for students and school leavers interested in astronomy in the age group of 14 – 20 years.
Main Topics of Study
Astronomy: History of Astronomy, Celestial Sphere, Solar System, Star Evolution, Binary & Variable Stars, Extra-solar Planets, Telescopes & Modern Tools in Astronomy, Introduction to Spectroscopy & Photometry.
Space Science & Technology: Theory of Rockets, Function of Advance Instruments in Astronomy, Space Technology Applications.
Hand on Experience: Observations through Modern Telescopes (including Sri Lankan largest telescope), Spectroscopy, Solar Observations and use of H alpha solar filters, Construction of Astronomical Tools, Sky Mapping, Launching Water Rocket and Construction of Simple Refractor Telescopes etc.
Mr. Saraj Gunasekara
Principal Research Scientist
(Space Technology & Applications)
Mr. Indika Medagangoda
Senior Research Scientist
Mr. Janaka Adassuriya