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Public Astronomical Observatory

Goa is a union territory for many citizens of India, situated on the western coast. Of these citizens, for most people it is a destination to party with friends or family and take honeymoon trips. But, few, who know the place well, are aware of the fact that it is also a great place for kids and senior citizens. It has several kinds of attractions to keep tourists of all ages engaged throughout the entire day.

Association of Friends of Astronomy-Credit Google

Among these attractions, one of the very popular ones is the Public Astronomical Observatory (PAO). Established quite recently in the year 1982, December, this Observatory is owned by the Association of Friends of Astronomy. This is an NGO (Non-governmental organization) that was registered in 1860 under the Society Registration Act, declaring it to function to bring together people with an interest in studying astronomy on an amateur level.

The PAO is located at the Junta House and is open for a very short period of time in a year, which dates from 14th November to 31st May. This time-frame has been fixed due to the excessively hot and sultry weather of the location during the months from June-October. During the preferred time frame the sky is supposedly clear and ideal for astronomical observations.

The Public Astronomical Observatory (PAO) is the best place for those enthusiasts who love observing the night sky. Since Goa is a sea-side region, it has ample space and range for sky watching as there aren’t too many sky scrapers or high-rises or any other form of visual obstruction in the way of sky observation. It has also been observed that the view of the sky during dusk at Panaji is to die for and the people working at the Observatory, primarily local residents, love to welcome new visitors and explain everything they know about the sky and universe.

Objective of the PAOPublic Astronomy Observatory of Goa (PAO)-Credit Google

It is a known fact that behind the establishment of such science buildings and observatories, there are several objectives involved. There must have been a driving factor behind the establishment of this Observatory, so let’s find them out:
  • The main aim of the Observatory was to consolidate interested people to engage themselves and learn about Astronomy on an amateur level
  • It was established to answer the curiosity of sky observers or watchers
  • The PAO was one attempt on the part of the Association of Friends of Astronomy to popularize astronomy and science among those who have barely been exposed to this sort of knowledge

Some fun facts about PAO

  • This observatory is supported by the Department of Science and Technology and Environment (Government of Goa)
  • It is the first public observatory to have been established in India
  • All the activities such as seminars, clubs, quizzes etc. that take place in the PAO, are Government funded
  • 2 more public observatories were established following the first one within Goa itself, one of which is at Margao (2003) while the other is at Mapusa (2013)
  • The observatory has a number of simple reflector telescopes set up for all the visitors
So for spending a calm and quiet evening with the stars of the sky and other planets around us, just visit the Public Astronomical Observatory (PAO) at Panaji, Goa, for sure.

Address: 6th Floor, Junta House, 18th June Road, Panjim, Goa 403001

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