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Paper: Astronomy Development in Perú Through Two Generations: the Good and the Bad
Volume: 520, Astronomical Heritage of the Middle East
Page: 279
Authors: Ishitsuka, J. K.; Ishitsuka, M.
Abstract: Ancient Peruvian cultures probably had advanced knowledge of astronomy, but after Spain colonized Perú, unfortunately almost nothing to develop astronomy was done. In 1957, Mutsumi Ishitsuka, a young solar physicist from Kyoto University in Japan, traveled to Perú to establish a Solar Coronagraphic Observatory. In October of 1987, the Cosmos Coronagraphic Observatory was inaugurated, the highest in the world. Unfortunately, shortly after it began operations, the observatory was occupied by terrorists and finally destroyed by dynamite in October of 1988. Mutsumi Ishitsuka, who was in charge of the observatory, had to move to Lima to save his life. After some years, when terrorist activities were better controlled by the Peruvian Government, the Japanese Government donated a new planetarium to the Geophysical Institute of Perú, in part to compensate for the loss of the coronagraph constructed by Mutsumi Ishitsuka. A fund was organized by Dr. Takehiko Kuroda of Nishi-Harima Astronomical Observatory of Japan to buy and send a 60 cm telescope to Perú, to establish an Educational Astronomical Observatory near Lima, the capital of Perú; the project was led by Mutsumi Ishitsuka. The 60 cm reflector telescope arrived in Perú in 2010, the same year a Solar Flare Monitoring Telescope arrived from the Hida Observatory of the University of Kyoto to observe solar activity from Ica at a Solar Observatory also established by Mutsumi Ishitsuka at the Ica National University. In 2006, Mutsumi Ishitsuka's son José Ishitsuka returned from Japan to Perú to establish the first radio astronomical observatory in Perú in Huancayo, a place situated in the mountains 300 km east of Lima. A 32 m parabolic antenna previously used for telecommunications was transformed into a radio telescope with the strong support of National Astronomical Observatory of Japan. The 32 m radio telescope is equipped with a 6.7 GHz receiver to monitor and search for new methanol maser emission from young stellar objects. Unfortunately, since the end of 2016 when the directives of the Geophysical Institute of Perú changed, the new directives did not recognize Mutsumi and Jose Ishitsuka's efforts and work, and the Peruvian government decided to close the Radio Astronomical Observatory.
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