HomeNewsLangat Singh College astronomy lab on Unesco list

Langat Singh College astronomy lab on Unesco list

Unconfirmed reports say that UNESCO has added a 106-year-old astronomical observatory at Langat Singh College in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur on its list of important endangered heritage observatories of the world. The recognition raises hopes of reviving the neglected edifice that has little to show of its glorious past.

The observatory was built in 1916 in the 123-year old college, now affiliated to Bhim Rao Ambedkar Bihar University. A planetarium, probably the first in India, was also set up in the college in 1946. The observatory and planetarium functioned satisfactorily up to early 1970s. But started declining gradually with the passage of time.

The sprawling structure of Langat Singh College in Muzaffarpur was modelled on the early modern European style of Balliol College in Oxford, United Kingdom. The white metallic dome on its roof and the adjoining igloo-like masonry structure make the design unique and also utilitarian as astronomical observatory. The large dome rotates on a circular track and has a sliding opening on the top through which a telescope can be focussed on celestial bodies. Under the dome, there were telescopes and other instruments used in astronomical observations. Just a little distance away is the planetarium. A miniature version of modern planetarium, it once had a machine that recreated views of the sky with stars on its arching ceiling. Both the observatory and planetarium are non-functional and closed now. Some equipment of the observatory was allegedly stolen around 1995, after which it was sealed.

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