INAOE | History


Located in Tonantzintla, Puebla, the National Institute of Astrophysics, Optics and Electronics (INAOE) was founded by presidential decree on November 11,1971. It is a decentralized organization that focuses on public interest, it also has judicial independence and assets of its own.

As an institution, the INAOE, has the following goals:

  • Train researchers, specialized professors, experts and technicians in astrophysics, optics and electronics.
  • Solve scientific and technological problems within those fields.
  • Teaching: Educative and research activities that aim for the resolution of specific problems in this country.
  • Through this decree, the INAOE is certified to give courses and degrees (Masters, Doctorate) in the fields mentioned.

The INAOE is part of a long standing scientific tradition which dates back to 1942, when Luis Enrique Erro founded the National Astrophysics Observatory of Tonantzintla. Tonantzintla is an ideal location for an observatory because it has clear skies during the night (all year long) and a strategic geographical position. It also has very little luminous pollution, a quality that the country’s capital doesn’t possess. This spot was chosen according to strict quality standards.

This observatory paved the way to modern astrophysics in Mexico and Latin America, (at the inauguration of the observatory there was a Schmidt Camera.) Important astronomers have worked at the Astrophysics Observatory of Tonantzintla, among them: founder Luis Enrique Erro, Dr. Guillermo Haro, Prof. Luis Rivera Terrazas and astronomer Enrique Chavira (among others). The observatory has crossed borders within the scientific field in our country.

The INAOE has a collection of over 15, 000 astro-fotographic plates obtained from the Schmidt Camera from different sky regions, mainly the following constellations: Orion, Taurus, Cancer, Scorpius, Sagittarius, Ursa Major and Ursa Minor, among others.

Many discoveries were made with this camera, the most important one is the discovery of Herbig-Haro objects, which are considered star formation indicators. Novaes and supernovaes were also discovered along with blue galaxies and countless flare stars, as well as the Haro-Chavira comet -discovered in 1954 in the Taurus region-.

Dr. Guillermo Haro replaced Erro as observatory director, under Haro, the observatory became one of the most important centers in Latin America due to the quality of its scientific work. In 1971, Haro decided to create the INAOE, since he realized how important optics and electronics were for this country.

The Optics Department was founded in 1972 and two years later, the Electronics Department started its activities. Since its creation, one of the INAOE’s goals is to shape young researchers, who will be capable of identifying and solving scientific and technological problems in the fields of astrophysics, optics and electronics. Masters in Optics studies started in 1972 and in 1974, Electronics studies were created.

The Optics Doctorate program started in 1984 and the Electronics Doctorate programs started in 1993, along with the Astrophysics Masters and Doctorate studies programs. The Computer Science Masters and Doctorate program was created in 1998.

Full dedication is expected of our students so that they can develop their abilities and create an excellent work environment. The INAOE provides them with work areas, labs, computers and supports them in all efforts to win scholarships in national institutes and in other parts of the world.

Last Update :
28-10-2008 a las 20:58 by

Address: Luis Enrique Erro # 1, Tonantzintla, Puebla, Mexico | Tel: (222) 266.31.00 | Contact: | Fax: 247.25.80


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