It was a much-awaited trip indeed. Mr.Darshan Wagh of destination nature was following up for this visit with the officials from the month of June. While doing a followup he came to know about a free slot on Friday 27th December 19, which he immediately booked for us.
GMRT (Giant Metre wave Radio Telescope), is Asia’s biggest meter wave radio wave telescope and world number 2 radio wave telescope (the first one is situated in Finland). It is situated in the Pune district at Narayangaon of Junnar taluka. So when the opportunity came our way, we immediately grabbed it.
Narayangaon is located at 80 Km from Pune and the road condition is very good. We wanted to reach the place at the earliest so we started pretty early and by picking up our teammates at various stops, finally, we were on our way to GMRT.
As usual, we started with an informal discussion on the way about the visit and tried to understand the basics. Darshan Sir started with the explanation of some basic concepts like the difference between optical telescope and radio telescope. For a few questions, we had some idea whereas for some questions we were absolutely clueless. However a bright 6th grader, Aadi Kulkarni seemed to have answers to all the questions. Many other children participated in the discussion and made it very interesting.
After this brainstorming session, we were quite prepared for the visit and this introduction helped us to understand the working of this giant telescope in some manner.
I guess, our brain and Stomach are connected in a unique way. As more and more information was getting loaded into our brain the stomach started signaling for the much-needed fuel. We were very much pleased to get a halt for a sumptuous breakfast at Purohit Sweets. Delicious Onion Uttappa and Idli recharged us and we were one our way towards the destination.
Within half an hour or so we reached Khodad and a peep outside our bus window provided us a good view of the giant parabolic shaped antenna.
We were welcomed by Mr. Kailas Gaikwad one of the staff members of GMRT. He was with us throughout our visit in GMRT and was very warm in his approach. He provided us some basic yet useful information in a very simple language. The entire campus looked picturesque.
Mr.Gaikwad took us to the central tower, Tower C3 where he was joined by Mr. Temkar and Mr.Thorat from GMRT staff who showed us the replica of the entire telescope spread in a Y shape.
Then they showed us the various parts of this giant telescope like stainless steel wire mesh, motors, receivers, amplifiers, concrete towers, etc. and explained the working of each part in a simplified manner. We are very thankful to the entire GMRT team for their precious time and for sharing valuable knowledge with us.
We had the huge parabolic dish in actual working condition in front of us which made the understanding simpler and we could actually see the movement of the dish as per the movement of the target object. It was a mesmerizing scene to see this huge dish move.
30 fully steerable parabolic dishes(each of 45-meter diametre) spread over 25 km in Y shape make this Giant telescope. It was set up by scientists from India to get an opportunity to study radio waves coming from astronomical objects at low frequency (10 MHz to 1.5 GHz).
Radio Astronomy was pioneered in India in its true sense by Dr. Govind Swaroop around 1963 which was followed by setting up a Radio dish in Kalyan and then in Ooty where the Sun, stars and other celestial bodies were studied. After a successful implementation of this project, Dr.Swaroop put forth the idea of Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope and got it sanctioned from the government.
The entire project is made from all local set up by Indian scientists. This telescope is in use since the year 2000 and even today the radio scientists from all over the world prefer GMRT to study various objects in the space and the radio waves emitted by those objects.
We were thrilled to see this achievement by our own scientists. We ended our visit to GMRT on a proud note by singing our National Anthem ‘Jan Gan Man’
On our way back we observed the radio images captured by these telescopes and the computer interpretation of the same. When we were getting into the bus for our return journey, we had as a takeaway, a sense of great pride for being an Indian.
Thanks, Destination Nature and Mr.Darshan Wagh for providing this great opportunity.
*As informed by the authorities, keep your body fully covered with clothes and don’t forget to wear a cap or a scarf to cover your head.
*It is advised to keep your mobile switched off or in flight mode as the mobile wireless communication waves may cause interference in their readings.
*GMRT observatory is open to the public on Fridays however one needs a prior registration and permissions to visit the premises in the provided two slots. On the science day and the following day, it is open for the whole day for the public.