CityNews – The National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand (NARIT) has been commissioned to construct a brand new “Astro Park” in Chiang Mai to prepare the country for astronomy training in ASEAN and to bring Thailand up to international standards in astronomy.
When completed Thailand will become the leader in astronomy in Southeast Asia.
According to Dr Pichet Durongkaveroj, Minister of Science and Technology, the project will help realize higher standards in science and technology and will pass on knowledge and technology to a new era of scientists at both national and international levels.
Associate Professor and director of NARIT, Boonraksa Suntorntham, said in a press release that the Astro Park would cooperate with observatories around the world and will also connect directly to NARIT’s observatory located in the Cerro Tololo International Observatory in the Republic of Chile.
Astro Park will also store a collection of texts, technology and innovations in astronomy that will be used for study and research. The centre will also act as a venue for events, and will be open to tourists.
The International Astronomical Union (IAU) and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) have chosen Thailand as the centre for astronomy training in Southeast Asia since Thailand has advanced astronomy technology and innovations that supersedes its neighbours.
The Astro Park will be built on 50 rai of land, located in Mae Rim’s Don Kaew sub-district. It will include office buildings, an astronomy museum with a planetarium 20 meters in diameter. There will also be an observatory and research building, meeting hall, and much more.
The Astro Park’s ground will be able to support over 500 people, and the project has been given a budget of 400.6 million baht.
The Astro Park is expected to be opened to the public in 2016.