Vietnam to open first observatory next year

The final phases of the construction of Vietnam’s first observatory are being carried out in the south-central province of Khanh Hoa in preparation for its inauguration next year.

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The building is being constructed on Hon Chong (Husband Islet) in Nha Trang, a famous beach city in Khanh Hoa Province, and is expected to be finished by March 2017.

According to Professor Pham Anh Tuan, director of the Vietnam National Satellite Center, the observatory will be a place to observe astronomical events as well as a potential tourist attraction for the city.

The structure includes a telescope with a diameter of 50cm and a covering dome nine meters across, Prof. Tuan said, adding that finishing touches of the building are being carried out.

With a capacity of 60 people, access to the observatory will be given to tourists and local residents, especially students who wish to study terrestrial and celestial events, the director stated.

The observatory is expected to be included in travel itineraries of local tours.

Its establishment is part of Vietnam’s most significant scientific project with total capital investment at US$600 million.

Another larger observatory being constructed at the National Space Museum, inside the Hoa Lac Hi-Tech Park in Hanoi, is anticipated to open in 2018, at the inauguration of the museum.

The building will provide local residents with a better look at such phenomena as meteor showers, lunar and solar eclipses, said Prof. Tuan.

According to the academic, equipment in both observatories has been imported from Italy, while their construction cost is estimated at VND120 billion (US$5.2 million).