As the first large project in basic sciences in Iran, the Iranian National Observatory (INO) is aimed at constructing an astronomical observatory with a state-of-the-art telescope to foster astronomical research, training and the development of related technology. The project is driven by a decade-long growth in higher education and has been demanded by academics and a large community of amateur astronomers. INO will pave the way for Iranian astronomy to recuperate its role in the international scientific community. At the same time as INO will provide Iranian astronomers with competitive observing facilities, it will be offered for use by colleagues from around the world, thus creating an Iranian international science platform for astronomy.

INO Summit hosting the INO340 telescope enclosure, coating and support station, the INO Lens Array, a 1m telescope and the site monitoring facility.

What Will INO Explore?

The INO will carry out large surveys, with visiting- and service-mode observations available to the international community. Spectroscopic surveys of galaxy groups and clusters, kinematics of galaxies, as well as follow-up observations of transient sources are among the key science drivers for the INO340, the principal telescope of the site. INO340 will be a unique tool for probing many outstanding open questions in astronomy and cosmology. It will follow the history of large-scale structures in the universe by looking at faint galaxies and the intergalactic medium. It will also address questions about the physics and nature of dark matter and dark energy. INO340 will provide an excellent advance in our ability to identify and characterize extrasolar planets. Finally, combined with a high-resolution spectrograph, INO340 would be a very competitive tool for research in the field of interstellar medium.

INO Project Timeline

INO scientists selected Mount Gargash in 2009 after a rigorous eight-year campaign spanning the entire country measuring atmospheric features that could affect the location of the Iranian National Observatory. Many tasks have been done since then including building a dedicated 11.2 km road connecting the national road network to the summit. The observatory building is currently under construction and is planned to be done in 2019. Check out our full story in the INO Project Timeline.