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Azerbaijan to build astronomical station in liberated Karabakh

7 February 2022 10:00 (UTC+04:00)
Azerbaijan to build astronomical station in liberated Karabakh

By Ayya Lmahamad

A little bit more than a year has passed since the liberation of Azerbaijani territories from Armenian occupation. Large-scale rehabilitation and construction work is underway on these lands.

In one of his interviews, President Ilham Aliyev said that “we will have to build, equip an area equal to the territory of a country that is not the smallest in the world - Lebanon”.

Azerbaijan started to restore and rehabilitate its lands immediately after the end of hostilities.

In 2021, Azerbaijan allocated $1.5 billion for the reconstruction of liberated territories, followed by AZN 2.2 billion ($1.2 billion) in 2022. These funds will be used primarily to restore infrastructure (electricity, gas, water, communications, roads, education, health, and so on) as well as cultural and historical monuments.

Astronomical station in Karabakh

Within a short period of time, Azerbaijan reconstructed the major infrastructure facilities on its liberated lands. Among them are the construction and opening of Fuzuli International Airport, the smart city project, that is already under completion in Zangilan region, the construction and rehabilitation of various substations, roads, etc.

Executive Director of the Shamakhi Astrophysical Observatory of the National Academy of Sciences Professor Nariman Ismayilov recently stated that a new astronomical station will be built in the country’s Karabakh region in the near future.

He noted that the management of the National Academy of Science supported the proposal to build a new astronomical station in the Karabakh region, install modern robotic telescopes, create a central space testing site on the territory of the observatory to study the Earth through satellite observations.

This work will be an important step in the transformation of the Shamakhi Astrophysical Observatory into an international scientific center to explore the near and far space.

Astronomy in Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan has contributed to the development of science in the world, particularly so in astronomy. The country has got a real astronomical heritage, thanks to the presence in the 13 century of the famous Maragha Observatory in South Azerbaijan (now northwestern Iran) established by Azerbaijani astronomer Nasiraddin Tusi.

The development of national astronomy in the last century can be described through three stages.

The first stage covers the period of 1927-1991 and includes such events as the first astronomical expeditions and the establishment of the Shamakhi Astrophysical Observatory.

The Observatory was established in 1960 on the basis of the Astrophysics Sector of the Academy of Sciences of the Azerbaijani SSR and its Shamakhi Astronomical Station (Pirgulu). It is considered as one of the large scientific centers for favorable astroclimatic conditions, equipped with telescopes and scientific equipment.

The second stage covers the period of 1992-1997 and is characterized as a "stagnation period" in the history of national astronomy [due to the collapse of the former Soviet Union, national and political instabilities in the newly independent country in its transition period, Armenian intervention, etc].

A new stage began in the second half of 997 with repairing, renovation, and reorganization work in the observatory and in astronomical activity in general.

Currently, astronomical research in Azerbaijan is conducted mainly in the Shamakhi Astrophysical Observatory and partially in relevant departments of several universities in Baku and in other organizations. There are three main scientific trends at the observatory - the physics of stars and nebulae, investigation of solar system bodies, and solar physics.

Azerbaijan has almost all of the attributes required for astronomy. The main contribution comes from the Shamakhi Astrophysical Observatory, which has headquarters and two high-mountain astronomical stations with favorable geographical locations. There is also a good astro-climate. Another significant fact is the mandatory teaching of astronomy as a separate subject in all higher-secondary schools, lyceums, as well as the teaching of astronomy and the fundamentals of space science in many university departments.

Additionally, Azerbaijani astronomers are actively involved in the works of some international organizations aiming at enhancing the participation of youth in astronomical and space activities and education.


Ayya Lmahamad is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @AyyaLmahamad

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