Byurakan Observatory or Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory, founded by Viktor Hambardzumyan, is a modern and very important astronomical centre in Armenia that has helped to develop and foster the Armenian astronomy.
Armenia is an important cradle of ancient sciences; correspondingly astronomy was popular even in ancient times in Armenia.
A special trace in the astronomical activities has left one of the largest observatories in the region, the Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory founded by Viktor Hambardzumyan.
Want to learn more about Byurakan Observatory?
Then let’s have a closer look at its activities and accomplishment.
Byurakan Observatory: General Information
The Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory (BAO), also known as Byurakan Observatory was established in 1946 by the initiative of prominent and worldly known scientist of the XX century: Viktor Hambartsumyan.
It plays an important role not only in Armenia, but also in Eastern Europe and Middle East region. It is quite important astronomical centre due to its scientific instruments and achievements.
As you can guess from its name, BAO is located near the village Byurakan, on the slope of Mt. Aragats, in Aragatsotn Marz, some 30 km Northwest to Yerevan.
People who are not into astronomy may have a blurry idea about Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory’s activities. Here are main subjects that BAO studies: the structure of the Galaxy and its star groups and inter-stellar absorbents; the examination of unstable stars and nebulae; radio-astrology; the theory of ray transfer.
During many years of productive and high level research work, the Byurakan Observatory enhanced its image and reputation. Moreover, it became popular and widely known by the international scientific and astronomical community as one of the main astronomical centers of the world.
More than 60 years the Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory successfully continues its research and new discoveries. It has also hosted many honorary guests, who study its scientific program and take part in joint investigations.
They are Nobel Prize winners and prominent scientist Pablo Neruda, Charles Towns, Francis Crick, Freeman Dyson, Shinichiro Tomonaga, F. Zwicky, J. Greenstein, G. Herbig, G. Haro, H. Arp, G. Burbidge, M. Schmidt, V.M. Keldish, V.L. Ginzburg and many others.
Furthermore, many international scientific meetings have been organized in the Byurakan Observatory. It collaborates with world famous observatories and astronomical institutes, such as of Australia, USA, UK, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Japan, Russia, etc.
Byurakan Observatory: Special Tours for Visitors
Today Byurakan Observatory welcomes more than 5000 visitors per year. The majority of visitors are students and, of course, tourists. Astronomy is quite attractive and interesting science, isn’t it?
It is believed that the division of the sky into constellations was made in Armenia. It is no coincidence that BOA is also scientific tourism attraction.
There are many interesting places, sights and attractions that are a must-see for the visitors of the observatory, such as Viktor Hambardzumyan museum and the Botanic garden. Down below you can see the full list of facilities that Byurakan observatory offers.
- Visitors Centre
- Viktor Hambardzumyan Museum
- Viktor Hambardzumyan Office
- 6m Telescope
- 1m Schmidt Telescope
- Small Telescopes
- Photographic Plate Archive
- Conference Hall
- Architectural Ensemble
- Botanic Garden
- Guest House
- Café & Restaurant
- Souvenir Shop
Are you already looking forward to see the observatory? Then BAO scientific tourism center gives a great opportunity to you. They offer various tour packages and you can choose the one that suits you the best. It includes evening or day-time short and long visits, daily visits and 2-7 day visits. Online ticket booking is also available.
Where to Stay?
For those who are aiming to visit Byurakan observatory and would like to do it without a guided tour, then we can offer you to take a bus (will cost 400AMD) or a taxi (will cost about 3000-4000AMD).
There you can stay in one of the hotels of Byurakan. One of the most ranking hotels in Byurakan is Hotel Amberd that is quite modern, clean and the most important is that it is not far away from the observatory. This will make your stay really memorable!
Byurakan Observatory: Initiator and Founder of BAO
As we already mentioned above, academician Victor Hambardzumyan was the founder and scientific leader of the Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory and since 1998 it bears his name. Hambartsumyan is considered to be one of the founders of theoretical astrophysics.
He was born in 1908 in Tbilisi. His father was also famous Armenian philologist and writer: Hamazasp Hambardzumyan. He got his education in Leningrad State Pedagogical Institute and then in Leningrad State University.
As a real master of his work Viktor Hambartsumyan was elected as the president of the Armenian Academy of Sciences (1947–93), the International Astronomical Union (1961-64), the International Council of Scientific Unions (1966–72). He also held the position of the Director of the Leningrad University Observatory (1939-41).
Hambardzumyan immensely contributed to the promotion and popularization of science not only with his works, but also with his pedagogic activities. In his early career, he lectured in Leningrad State University and was the pro-rector of LU for science.
Although his awards are numerous, we will list some of them: Stalin’s Award, M.V. Lomonosov Gold Medal of Academy of Science of the USS, the State Prize of the Russian Federation, the Hero of Socialist Labor and others.
Victor Hambardzumyan dedicated much study and research to the evolution of the galaxies. Just after the foundation of the Byurakan Observatory Hambardzumyan discovered new type of stellar systems that he named “stellar associations”.
By this he proved that star-forming processes are continuing even today in the Galaxy and that stars are being formulated by groups. No less interesting are the results of Viktor Hamabartsumyan’s research on the new concept of activity of the galactic nuclei and the investigations on radiation transfer theory.
All these researches and investigations fostered and contributed the further progress of the research activities in Byurakan Observatory.
Byurakan Observatory: Main Achievements and Instruments
The largest and one of the most efficient scientific and observation tools of BAO is the ZTA-2.6m classical telescope. Its relative focus distances are: 3.85; 16 and 40.
The telescope is in the three-store tower that has a 60-ton dome built of duralumin. Along with this largest telescope, the Byurakan Observatory also has some other observational instruments that are: 102/132/213 cm Schmidt telescope, 53/53/180 cm Schmidt telescope with spectral light detection, 50 cm and 40 cm telescopes with electro light detective and spike measuring devices, as well as 20cm Schmidt telescope.
The main achievements and results of Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory are connected with the ideas and projects of Victor Hambardzumyan. The first Byurakan survey, that is also one of the most important and famous modern astronomy surveys, was held in 1965 with the help of the Schmidt telescope by B.E. Markarian.
As a result, he discovered 1500 galaxies with UV-excess that are now known as Markarian galaxies. Throughout years, Byurakan Observatory’s studies also helped to discover some new and hundreds of changeable stars, about 100 planetary nebulae, open star clusters and many other revelations.
Other Related Posts of Byurakan Observatory / Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory Founded by Viktor Hambardzumyan
- karahunj (Carahunge) or Zorats Karer | The Armenian Stonehenge
- Satani Kamurj or Devil’s Bridge | A Must See Site nearby Tatev Monastery
- Yerevan Weather | Temperature & Climate in the Capital of Armenia