Workshop 6 - UV-Optical-IR Astronomy in India: Prospects of the next decade

The Rationale: The workshop is themed following the paper by the visionary Dr. Bappu in 1972, "OPTICAL ASTRONOMY IN INDIA - PROSPECTS OF THE NEXT DECADE". Recently, ASI took leadership to define the astronomy vision for the next decade, and this workshop is a follow-up on some of the specific goals, the UV, optical, and IR astronomy priority, and optimizing the efforts in building the facilities. With the success of UVIT (Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope) and (Devasthal Optical Telescope) DOT 3.6m, it is timely to focus our efforts on building the next-generation facilities. The dedicated UV mission, INdian Spectroscopic and Imaging Space Telescope (INSIST), has already progressed to a detailed conceptual design. Our experience in the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) project makes building the National Large Optical Telescope (NLOT) more viable. The international astronomical community is moving towards more ambitious 6m-class space observatories such as the Large UV/Optical/IR Surveyor (LUVOIR) and ground-based Vera C. Rubin Observatory and Extremely Large Telescopes (ELTs). Defining requirements and priorities considering these aspects is a crucial step. This workshop aims to decide on the scientific and instrument priorities and timeline, prepare a Detailed Project Report, form working groups, and explore various funding and collaboration opportunities, across institutions and universities.

The objectives of the workshop: The workshop will discuss some of the wish lists and outcome from the ASI decadal Vision efforts, provide updates on the development of the major projects (e.g. INSIST & NLOT). Discuss the key areas and scope of larger participation across institutions and universities. Outline the challenges and frame mitigation strategies. Identify coordinators/leadership from institutions and universities. Propose training workshops for students and engineers. We will reach out to engineering departments in IITs/Universities to explore developing key technology centers for astronomy and evolve new ideas and create innovative solutions to address problems and challenges faced by the Astronomy community.

Targeted audience and Expected number of participants: Faculties, Engineers, Postdocs and Ph.D. students from various Indian Institutions/Universities. 50 to 125 is the expected number of participants.

Expected outcome of the workshop: The workshop is expected to list a set of recommendations aligned with our vision for the next decade, setting priorities in building observing facilities in a coordinated manner.

Tentative Program: The program will have a morning session dedicated to updates and overview to set the stage for discussions in the afternoon session. A tentative plan for the program is listed below. Details will be worked out in due course.

Opening Session:

  • Key Recommendations by ASI on the UV-Optical-IR vision
  • Current Optical, NIR facilities and expected upgrades - Ground based (3.6m DOT, 2.5m PRL Telescope, 2m HCT)
  • Current space based facilities (UVIT)
  • Scientific Drivers for a 1-m class UV space-borne and a 6-10-m class ground based telescopes

Session II: Future space-borne facilities

  • Upcoming and future space-based facilities - INSIST
  • Cubesats

Session III: Future large ground-based facilities

  • Technology & Infrastructure development through TMT Participation
  • NLOT - Telescope
  • NLOT - Instruments (First & Second Generation Instruments)
  • Development of instruments for DOT/2m as prototyping

Session IV: Panel discussion & Recommendations

Organizing Committee: IIA (INSIST & NLOT Team), Kuntal Mishra (ARIES), Saurabh (ARIES), Shyama Narendranath (ISRO), Gulab Devangan (IUCAA), Kanak Saha (IUCAA), Mudit Srivastava (PRL), Shashikiran Ganesh (PRL), Joe Ninan (TIFR), Manoj Puravankara (TIFR) 

Scientific Organizing Committee: TBD