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Belgo-Indian Network for Astronomy & Astrophysics (PART 2) (BINA2)

Research project BL/11/IN12 (Research action BL)

Persons :

  • Dr.  DE CAT Peter - Royal Observatory of Belgium ()
    Financed belgian partner
    Duration: 1/1/2018-31/12/2020

Description :

The BINA network 1 was originally established between 2 Belgian 7 Indian partner institutes in response to the call 2013. Its main goal is to optimize the scientific exploitation of the observations of solar system, galactic and extragalactic celestial objects obtained with the Indo-Belgian telescopes (3.6-m DOT and 4-m ILMT) and other telescopes of interest. The focus of phase 1 (ending 15/12/2018) was on the development of instruments for the DOT and on the set-up of scientific collaborations.. For the phase 2, new Belgian and Indian partners are added; the network is coordinated by RBO and Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES)). The scientific observations of the Indo-Belgian telescopes are starting. The focus will move towards science projects of common interest centred around observations with the Indo-Belgian telescopes:
• ILMT: The International Liquid Mirror Telescope is basically a rotating dish with a 4-m diameter containing a thin layer of liquid mercury. It acts like a mirror continuously looking at the zenith from a latitude of ~29.3°. It will gather photometric observations for all celestial objects passing through a strip of about 24 arcminutes in diameter on the sky and is hence an ideal tool to perform a deep photometric and astrometric variability survey over a period of typically 5 years. The science observations of the ILMT are expected to start before the monsoon of 2018. The main BINA-2 goal for the ILMT is (P1) to provide a database of astrometric and photometric observations of classified objects observed within its field of view.
• DOT: The first early science observations with the Devasthal Optical Telescope were scheduled on 02/04/2017. There are four first-generation instruments: an optical CCD imager and the TIFR Near Infrared Imaging Camera-2 (TIRCAM-2) are already available while the Faint Object Spectrograph and Camera (FOSC) and he TIFR-ARIES Near Infrared Spectrometer (TANSPEC) will be offered soon. These instruments allow multi-color photometry (narrowband and broadband filters) and low- to medium-resolution spectroscopy. An efficient optical high-resolution spectrograph (HRS) is scheduled as a second-generation instrument. There are many ongoing and planned projects for the DOT, including: (P2) asteroseismic studies of pulsating stars, (P3) identification of Gaia gravitational lens candidates, (P4) near-infrared studies of (very) low mass stellar populations, strong mass-losing stars on the asymptotic giant branch, young stellar objects and active galactic nuclei, (P5) determination of abundances of chemical peculiar carbon-enhanced and s-process enriched stars, (P6) the assignment of specific evolutionary stages to intermediate-magnitude objects, and (P7) the impact of binarity on the final evolution of low- and intermediate-mass stars.

The success of the BINA network is guaranteed as the number of DOT science projects is expected to steadily increase when even more instruments for the telescopes will become available. To achieve all BINA-2 objectives, participants from both countries shall have access to their telescopes and back-end instruments . The investigators have vast experience with working in different areas of astronomy and astrophysics, encompassing the electromagnetic spectrum from the X-ray band up to radio wavelengths. The network will provide detailed information on all kinds of studied sources which could lead to many new and important discoveries.

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