The 60-centimeter telescope has been donated by Japan. (The Daily Star/HO)
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Lebanon is in the process of creating the region's highest permanent astronomical observatory. A 60-centimeter telescope donated by Japan will be set up by Notre Dame University-Louaize at Bsharri's Al-Znanir peak, NDU astrophysics professor Roger Hajjar Nohra said.We are in the process of drafting a [memorandum of understanding] with the municipality -- once it is signed, we will go ahead with building the observatory," Nohra told The Daily Star.He conservatively estimates that constructing the observatory will cost around $500,000, which will include a 6-meter-wide dome to go over the telescope and a residence for scientists spending the night.But before construction on the Al-Znanir observatory can begin, NDU will first have to find donors. Lebanon currently has two active observatories: a 50-centimeter telescope at the Beirut Arab University and a 60-centimeter telescope at the NDU campus.Nohra said the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, which donated the telescope to NDU, had an annual budget of $550 million.It uses portable domes to project 360-degree videos about the universe, the stars and the science of astronomy in an immersive theater experience.
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