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Nizamiah Observatory

The Nizamiab Observatory has a distinguished history going back to the beginning of this century, when a rich nobleman of Hyderabad, Nawab Zafar Jung, acquired a 15-inch Grubb Refractor from England. The Nawab, intending to set up an astronomical observatory, submitted the following petition to the sixth Nizam, H.H. Nawab Mir Mahboob Au Khan Bahadur, on 29th September, 1901. “1 have obtained a telescope suitable for the purpose of an observatory, from England.

When this observatory building is constructed it will be one of the greatest observatories in India. If Your Highness approves, I will designate it the “Nizamiah” or “H.H. the Nizamiah’s Observatory”. My great desire is that after my death, the observatory should belong to the Government.

I shall feel highly honoured, if Your Highness graciously sanctions the proposal.” In response to the petition, the Nizam replied the next day as follows: “Your application is accepted with the greatest pleasure and you are permitted to style the Observatory which you want to establish after my name The observatory was originally located in the Nawab’s estate at Phisalbanda,south-east of l-lyderabad. After the Nawab’s death, as per his wish, it was taken over by the Finance Department of the Nizam’s Government and shifted to Begumpet.By 1909 an astrograph was installed.

The observatory was developed as a first—class weather and seismological station after acquiring a spectrohelioscope for observations of the sun. Later, when the Osmania University was established in 1918, the Observatory was transferred to the university in 1919. Incidentally, this is the only university in India which has a major observatory attached to it.

During 1968, the observatory was shifted to Rangapur on the Nagarjunasagar road about 55 km from Hyderabad and a 48-inch reflecting telescope was installed. The observatory is referred to as J.R.O. or the Japal Rangapur Observatory. Eighty-five years have gone by and today the Nizamiah Observatory with the largest telescope in South—East Asia,has made outstanding contributions to science and is the second oldest modern observatory in the country with one of the largest optical telescopes.

It has played a pioneering role in the development of astronomical research in India.Osmania University is proud to be on the starry map with its contributions to astronomy. To coincide with the Platinum Jubilee year in 1983 a symposium on “Binary and Multiple Systems” was successfully organised with participants from India and abroad. With the advance of Indian science and astronomy, the reputation of Nizamiah Observatory will continue to grow.

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