Space institute to build observatory in Kupang

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Institute of National Aviation and Space (LAPAN) will build an observatory in Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara, in 2016, that will serve as a public science center in Indonesia.

"We have planned to build the observatory in 2016 after we receive a building permit," LAPAN Chairman, Thomas Djamaluddin, stated here on Wednesday.

The institution will build the observatory on Mount Timau in Fatumonas Village in Kupang District.

The East Nusa Tenggara provincial administration has granted permission to Lapan to build the observatory. The institution is still awaiting a permit from the Forestry and Environment Ministry.

Djamaluddin remarked that the observatory building is planned to be constructed in a protected forest area.

"There are only a few trees in the protected forest area in East Nusa Tenggara. We will plant more trees around the observatory later," he affirmed.

The institution said the observatory located in Lembang, Bandung City, in West Java Province is not ideal due to high light pollution and an increase in housing construction.

The chief stated that two minimum requirements, such as the sky brightness and light pollution in the surrounding area, need to be met for the observatory to function optimally.

"The light pollution in Bandung is severe," Djamaluddin said, adding that the Boscha observatory in Lembang will be maintained as a research and education observatory.

The survey conducted by the Bandung Technology Institute and LAPAN has revealed that Kupang City has the maximum number of sunny days and low light pollution.

The cost to construct an observatory in Kupang is estimated at Rp300 billion and will be funded from the state budget.

Lapan has estimated that the observatory will be developed by 2019.

Additionally, District Head of Kupang, Ayub Titu Eki, expressed pride over Kupang being selected as the site to build the space observatory.

"We are very proud of this trust. Kupang, as a suburban and remote area, is an ideal location to build an observatory," Eki added.