MORE ABOUT THE NEWS:
- Agasthyarkoodam Mountains are located on the Western Ghats in between Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
- It was once home to a forgotten and long lost 19th century observatory.
- Observatory was established by Scottish meteorologist John Allan Broun.
- This facility was used for recording magnetic and meteorological observations in tandem with the Thiruvananthapuram astronomical observatory.
- The present honorary director of the Thiruvananthapuram observatory, has stumbled upon historical evidence about the Agasthyarkoodam observatory from archival records and sketches of the era.
STORY OF BIRTH OF AGASTHYARKOODAM OBSERVATORY:
- John Broun’s introduction with astronomical observations in India began after he was invited by the ruler of the erstwhile Travancore Uthram Tirunal Marthanda Varma to helm the Thiruvananthapuram observatory following the death of its first director John Caldecott in 1849.
- Broun, who was the director of another observatory in Scotland, saw this as an opportunity to expand the network of magnetic observatories developed by the British Association for the Advancement of Science.
- He took charge of the Trivandrum observatory and set about the task of finding an apt location for another observatory, as the research on terrestrial magnetism required simultaneous measurements from two different locations.
- He led arduous treks through treacherous paths to the Western Ghats, and finally zeroed down on the Agasthyar mountain at a height of 6,200 ft above sea level for his second observatory.
- Due to his returning to Europe by his illness, observatory remained dormant until his return in 1862.
- It was closed in 1881 by the then Madras Governor Sir William Denison shortly after the Madras Observatory stopped its magnetic studies.
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