First light to reach Turkish observatory in 2020
ERZURUM- Anadolu Agency
When completed, the Eastern Anatolian Observatory (DAG) will be the second-largest space observation center in Europe and the first to run infrared observations in Turkey.
Located at an altitude of 3,170 meters on the Karakaya Hills in Konaklı, Erzurum, construction of the facility began in 2012 with the support of the Astrophysics Research and Application Center at Ataturk University, also located in Erzurum.
"We have now completed fiber, electricity, water, Internet and communication channels in our region," said Cahit Yeşilyaprak, the center's director and observatory project coordinator, but also stressed the harsh weather conditions at its high altitude.
Yeşilyaprak pointed to the importance of keeping the observatory from any harm.
"If there are people in the observation environment, the telescope is negatively affected. So we need to be sure there are no other buildings or people around," he said.
He said with much of the construction complete, the observatory's dome will be completely covered from outside later this year to accommodate the staff.
"We plan to complete the structure by continuing the water-resistance and freezing tests in winter," he said. "The electronic, mechanical, optical, tracking and orientation tests of the telescope that we've seen and approved on-site will be carried out and then dismantled like a Lego project and brought here."
After the dome is closed, parts brought from Italy and Belgium will be mounted in Turkey.
"The telescope's mirror will be brought from Russia, and then we will finally get the first light," he said.