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Iran finally opens its home-grown National Observatory project

Photo shows a view to the dome of Iran’s National Observatory in Kamoo region, located some 80 kilometers from the central city of Kashan in the province of Isfahan.

President Hassan Rouhani has inaugurated Iran’s National Observatory, a totally home-grown project aimed at helping the advance of various sciences in the country.

Rouhani used a video conference call from his office in Tehran on Monday to roll out the observatory in a mountain in the central Iranian county of Kashan.

Iran, a country with a deep history in astronomy and physics, has been dreaming for years of launching a state of the art observatory that could match the size of international peers.

Initial plans for launching the National Observatory had been adopted in the 1990s but construction had stalled due to financial and technical problems.

Authorities said on Monday that Observatory is one of the best in the world in terms of the size and accuracy of the telescope and other geographical and technical specifications considered in the facility.

The Observatory is built on a mountain top in the city of Kamoo in Isfahan province in an altitude of 3,600 meters. The 90-ton telescope mounted in the facility reaches a height of 24 meters at the top of the dome while its main mirror is 3.4 meters wide in diagonal, according to data published in a report by the official IRNA agency.    

The report said that all parts used in the construction of the telescope and the dome of the observatory had been built and supplied by Iranian companies.

President Rouhani hailed the launch of the National Observatory as a vindication of Iran’s historic standing in astronomy.

Rouhani inaugurated the facility along with several other scientific and technological projects that are meant to help Iran expand its knowledge-based economy.

The Iranian president said during the inauguration ceremony that the number of officially registered startups in Iran that are focused on science and knowledge had reached nearly 5,800 this year from only 55 in 2013 when his administration took office.

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