The Bosscha Observatorium is Indonesia’s oldest observatory. Located in Mebang, which is about 15 kilometers north of Bandung, the observatory is situated on hilly land at 1,210 meters above sea level.
When the first meeting of the Dutch-Indies Astronomical Society came into effect in the 1920s, it was indeed evident that an observatory was needed to learn and study astronomy in the Dutch East Indies regions. Of all possible locations in the Indonesian archipelago, a tea plantation located a few kilometers away from Bandung city was chosen.
The name of the observatory was then taken from the owner of the tea plantation, Karel Albert Rudolf Bosscha. Upon knowing about the observatory’s plans, he immediately granted six hectares of his property to the observatory to support their efforts. He then continued to be a driving force to the development of science and technology of the Dutch East Indies.
In 1923, construction on the observatory began and by 1928, it was completed. Since its completion, the observatory has continued to make observations on the sky. However, it was temporarily halted during the Second World War when major construction had to be done. In year 1951, the Dutch Indies Astronomical Society granted the ownership and operation of the observatory to the government of Indonesia. The observatory was then handed over to the Institute Teknologi Bandung in 1959 and became a part of the research and formal education of Indonesia’s astronomy sector.
There are five different and large telescopes that have been installed in the Bosscha Observatory throughout the years. All of these telescopes are massive in size and have all produced significant information for further research of astronomy in Indonesia.
- The Zeiss Double Refractor – This Zeiss is basically used to view planets, binary stars, comet details and other heavy bodies. It is also used to carry out photometric studies on image lunar craters and eclipsing binaries.
- The Schmidt Telescope – Also known as the Bima Sakti Telescope, it is used to study asteroids, galactic structures and supernova. Aside from photographing heavy bodies, it is also prepared with a spectral prism with a 6.10 degree prime angle.
- The Bamberg Refractor – Used to point out stellar magnitude and stellar distances, it also conducts photometric studies of sola imaging, eclipsing stars and others.
- The Cassegrain GOTO – A gift from the Japanese Government, the Cassegrain is a computer-controlled telescope that automatically sees objects based on a database. Known to be the first digital telescope of the Observatorium, this telescope is also equipped with a spectrometer-spectrograph and photometer.
- The Unitron Refractor – The Unitron Refractor is used to observe lunar eclipses and solar eclipses, and for sunspot photography.
Now you may or may not understand such astronomical vocabulary but to those who do, the Bosscha Observatorium should not be neglected when in Badung. To those who have a fascination with the world outside our Earth or are just curious about the mysteries of space, the Observatorium in Bandung will definitely satisfy the most exhaustive queries and even the most curious minds.