TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Indonesia is constructing a national observatory at Mount Timau in Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), that is expected to complete and be inaugurated in 2021. Currently, the observatory is in the phase of constructing the building for the telescope.
"We hope the national observatory can be inaugurated next year," said the deputy of space and atmospheric science department at the National Institute of Aeronautics and Space (LAPAN), Halimurrahman, at a webinar in Jakarta, August 6.
He explained that Mount Timau was chosen as the place to build the observatory since the location is dark and that the sky is clear. "At the location with very low light, we can see stars sparkling above us," he said.
It is also hoped that the existence of the national observatory in Kupang would encourage tourism to the region which eventually would increase the economy.
The Kupang observatory, Halimurrahman went on, would be facilitated with a telescope measuring 380 centimeters in diameter, which is relatively giant for the Asia-Pacific region and will be very useful for space research.
"Besides scientific reasons, the telescope will also be used to observe manmade objects such as satellites to see if there are any other harmful objects in the vicinity," he remarked.