NARIT executive director Dr. Saran Poshyachinda and JIVE director Dr. Agnieszka Słowikowska at the meeting for signing the MoU between the two institutes on January 9, 2024.
JIVE and the National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand (NARIT) have recently renewed their partnership, highlighted by the stellar addition of the newly launched Thai National Radio Telescope (TNRT). This impressive 40-meter telescope is a key element in the renewed collaboration between the Thai telescopes and the European VLBI Network (EVN), operated by JIVE.
The original Memorandum of Understanding, signed on November 7, 2019, marked the beginning of the official collaboration between NARIT and JIVE. The focus was on fostering engineering skills and advancing relevant technologies for scientific observations.
The renewal ceremony, held at NARIT headquarters in Chiang Mai on January 9, 2024, came at a perfect time, coinciding with the recent opening of TNRT’s Call for Proposals on October 10, 2023. Additionally, the TNRT is set to initiate a collaboration using the Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) technique in the near future.
During the ceremony, NARIT executive director Dr. Saran Poshyachinda and JIVE director Dr. Agnieszka Słowikowska officially renewed the MoU. Witnesses included Dr. Wiphu Rujopakarn, Deputy Director of NARIT, Dr. Busaba H. Kramer, Staff Astronomer at Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy (MPIfR) and scientific advisor to NARIT, Dr. Koichiro Sugiyama, Chief Scientist of the Thai National Radio Astronomy Observatory (TNRO) in NARIT, and other observatory staff members.
Dr. Poshyachinda underscored the pivotal role of Radio Astronomy in understanding the universe, emphasising the benefits of day and night observations with ground-based telescopes and the VLBI. He sees the collaboration with JIVE as an excellent opportunity to enhance the connection between TNRT and EVN for productive scientific observations. Dr. Słowikowska expressed her anticipation, stating, “I am very much looking forward to fruitfully collaborating with the radio telescope in Thailand soon”. She expressed her pleasure at returning to NARIT after 2013 and noted the impressive developments in radio astronomy and geodesy.
During her visit, Dr. Słowikowska enjoyed a tour of the TNRO site at the Huai Hong Khrai Royal Development Study Centre in Doi Saket district, led by Dr. Sugiyama. Accompanied by Dr. Kramer, she explored the Princess Sirindhorn AstroPark, the Advanced Laboratory at NARIT headquarters, and the TNO site in Doi Inthanon.
Witnessing the remarkable progress in Thailand’s astronomy and the dedicated efforts of those involved left a profound impression on her. Upon her return to the Netherlands, she shared this positive experience with JIVE’s staff.
Dr. Sugiyama will visit JIVE soon to discuss collaboration plans between the two institutes in more detail.