The 104-cm Sampurnanand Optical telescope at Manora Peak, Nainital is completing fifty golden years of successful science operations in 2022. So far, the telescope has produced more than forty doctoral theses and over four hundred research papers in reputed international journals.
Until the late eighties, this telescope was equipped with a Cassegrain plate holder, Meinel camera, photoelectric photometer and a laboratory scanner. A quantum jump in observing capability was achieved in 1989 by installation of a CCD camera for imaging photometric observations, PMT based photometer for asteroseismic observations in 1999 followed by an in-house developed polarimeter in 2004.
The telescope has been extensively used for optical observations of comets, occultation by planets and asteroids, star forming regions and star clusters, variable stars, transients, active galactic nuclei, etc. Some of the breakthrough science results contributed by the telescope include discovery of rings of Uranus, first detection of optical afterglows of GRBs and, micro-lensing event from Indian soil as well as the discovery of quakes in a half dozen of stars under "The Nainital-Cape Survey" the one of the longest and unique ground based survey initiated jointly at the Northern and Southern hemispheres.
The instrumentation and science capabilities of the 104-cm telescope has paved the way for setting up National and International facilities by ARIES at optical and near infrared wavelengths such as 3.6-m Devasthal Optical Telescope and 4-m International Liquid Mirror Telescope at Devasthal, India.
This workshop aims to commemorate the fifty golden years of the 104-cm telescope and focus on astronomy with moderate size optical telescopes and beyond. The workshop will have science sessions which are largely driven by moderate size optical facilities along with their complementarity aspects at other wavelengths.