Vietnam’s largest observatory poised for test performance

A new ground-based observatory is slated for a test run in June in northern Vietnam, ushering in an important stage in the country’s astronomical research.

The observatory is located in the Hoa Lac Hi-tech Park in Thach That District, just outside Hanoi, and is managed by the Vietnam National Space Center, an organization meant to further the country’s space technology, including satellite technology.

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People pose for a group photo at the observatory in the Hoa Lac Hi-tech Park, outside Hanoi, Vietnam. Photo courtesy of the Vietnam National Space Center

The location boasts the hitherto largest optical telescope in Vietnam, measuring 0.5 meters in diameter, produced by an Italian company well-known for its accuracy and design.

The telescope’s movement is synchronized with the observatory’s automatically controlled dome, and equipped with astronomical telescope camera and a high-resolution optical spectrum analyzer.

The facility also features a space in which astronomical images on a dome-shaped screen with the diameter of 12 meters are shown by six high-definition projectors able to provide 3D effects.

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The Andromeda Galaxy, the Earth’s nearest major galaxy, is seen in one of the first photos taken by the observatory in the Hoa Lac Hi-tech Park, outside Hanoi, Vietnam. Photo: Vietnam National Space Center

The space houses 100 seats for viewers, nearly double the capacity of the other observatory previously opened to visitors late last year in the south-central city of Nha Trang.

The Hanoi-based observatory is expected to enable studies of the universe in various types, such as those in stars with regularly variable brightness, stellar categorization based on spectral lines, and stars’ rotation velocity and magnetic field, said Pham Anh Tuan, general director of the Vietnam National Space Center.

“This is an important stepping stone for Vietnamese youth to understand the universe and have their interest in astronomy kindled,” he said.

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