ThimphuTech was the first technology blog in Bhutan. We started writing it in 2009, just as broadband and mobile internet started to take off. (Although internet in Bhutan was launched in 1999, it was either super-slow or super-expensive, and was only used by a selected few).

In the blog, we wrote about technology and food, but also about plenty of other stuff. The blog became popular and influential in Bhutan. A companion bi-weekly column -- Ask Boaz -- was published for many years in the Kuensel, Bhutan's national newspaper. (The complete Kuensel columns are available as an ebook, Blogging with Dragons).

We stopped updating the blog when we left Bhutan in 2014, but the information within the posts can still prove useful, and thus we decided to keep it online.

We thank all our readers.
Tashi Delek,
Boaz & Galit.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

A World-class Observatory in Bhutan

Here's an idea. High-altitude locations are ideal for setting up scientific observatories, as they have the best visibility for optical astronomy as well as other benefits. There is a growing trend of building observatories in ever-increasing altitudes. New observatories built in the 21st century are often located above 4500m, often in exotic, hard-to-reach locations.

While construction and access to these facilities is often a major burden, "the scientific benefits of these sites outweigh the numerous logistical and physiological challenges which must be overcome during the construction and operation of observatories in remote mountain locations, even in desert, polar, and tropical island sites which magnify the challenges but confer additional observational advantages" (List of highest astronomical observatories).

It's time to take advantage of Bhutan's extreme location. Bhutan can collaborate with a world-class university to become the destination for a high-altitude observatory. In addition to the obvious economic and employment benefits, it can also serve as a launch pad for Bhutan's future scientists.

Let's reach for the stars.

The Indian Astronomical Observatory in Ladakh (4500 m)