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The observatory is located on the southern slope of Mount Aragats, near the village of Byurakan, at an altitude of 1500 m above sea level. The complex includes the beautiful building of the observatory, built of local pink felsitic tuff - the main laboratory building, observation towers, pavilions, radio astronomy observatory, a hotel, residences, business premises (for the most part they are built by the architect S. Safarian) and the elegant airy building of the conference hall - designed by architect S. Gurzadyan. The air at this altitude is dry and transparent; there are many cloudless starry nights in the year favorable for astronomical observations.
The construction of the observatory was launched in the summer of 1946. At the same time scientists, setting outdoor telescopes and other astronomical instruments, began observations of the galaxy. One year later Viktor Hambardzumyan and B. Markarian discovered stellar groupings of a special kind - stellar associations.
New scientific problems are solved in the observatory on the basis of new technologies. One of the world's largest telescopes - the Schmidt telescope can be seen here, there are also other advanced astronomical instruments.
The observatory includes a radio astronomy station, where there are two interferometers for observations of discrete radio sources. They monitor the radiation of radio waves and the reflection of radio signals by the heavenly bodies.
Radio astronomy studies provide valuable information about the nature of cosmic bodies, especially the Sun. Other neighboring and distant galaxies as well as extragalactic nebulas are also studied.
The founder of the observatory and its permanent head for many years was the prominent astrophysicist, president of the Armenian Academy of Sciences Viktor Hambardzoumian.
Thanks to the works of Hambardzoumian and his disciples, Astrophysical Observatory of Byurakan became one of the major astronomical centers and has gained high prestige in academic circles throughout the world.
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