Century-old Bihar college astronomical lab is now on UNESCO list

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The authorities of Langat Singh College here are hopeful that the Bihar government will take steps for conserving the 106-year-old astronomical observatory as it has been included on the UNESCO list of important endangered heritage observatories of the world.

The observatory, the first of its kind in eastern India, was established in the college in 1916 to impart astronomical knowledge to the students in detail.

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“A planetarium was also set up in the college in 1946. After 1970, the condition of the observatory, as well as the planetarium, started declining gradually and most of the machines installed there have either been lost or become junk,” Dr O P Roy, Principal of Langat Singh College, said.

A few years ago, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had visited the observatory and assured the authorities of grants for its restoration but nothing happened, he said.

“Now, after its inclusion in the UNESCO list of endangered heritage observatories, we are hopeful that the state government will take appropriate steps for its conservation,” the principal of the institute said.

It is a great moment for the college, he said adding that everybody associated with it is happy with the development.

Senior faculty members of the college are of the opinion that credit for its inclusion in the UNESCO list also goes to J N Sinha, a former professor at Delhi University.

“His constant efforts for attracting UNESCO’s attention to the observatory finally bore fruit,” Roy said.

Langat Singh College, now affiliated to Bhim Rao Ambedkar Bihar University, was set up in 1899.

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