In December 1960, the Byurakan 1m telescope, which has been one of the largest Schmidt cameras, began to operate. The telescope was made by St. Petersburg Optical-Mechanical Association. Mounting and installation of the telescope were realized under the management of chief designer Dobichin V.V. and academician Markarian B.E.
During 30 years of observations with this telescope about 10 thousand photographic plates have been obtained, each of which is covering about 4x4 sq. degrees. Two main search programs were conducted within the abovementioned period: 1. Detection of extragalactic objects with UV continuum (First and Second Byurakan spectral sky surveys); 2. Search for flare stars.
Since 1991, after the Soviet Union was collapsed, all the works on this telescope have been stopped because of the cutoff of financial support needed for the repair and modernization of the telescope.
From the middle of 2005 appeared a hope of restarting work of the telescope within the cooperation between Special (Russia) and Byurakan observatories. In the framework of collaboration program between observatories, the project of reconstruction of the telescope was offered by Dr. Dodonov S.N. and Dr. Amirkhanian V.R from Special astrophysical observatory. In 2006 a laboratory was founded which was aimed to reconstruction the telescope.
During the past period the SAO team developed the concept of the telescope modernization. The old control system was dismounted in 2005.
In 2006, the works on the repairing of the dome were fully completed; the works on the replacement of tower connected with repairing of electricity, rooms, etc. are in progress. The government of Armenia granted 2 million drams (approximately $4700) for these works.
In 2007, our laboratory obtained the ANSEF grant for the telescope modernization which was targeted on the salary for the laboratory staff. After the removal of some defects, the work operation of the dome and folds were completed. The motors of high-speed drive were replaced. The controller of management for correction and conduct of telescope which was developed in SAO was successfully tested. Internal repair works connected with the building are completed.
In September 2007, a six-month program on the telescope modernization was sponsored by the VivaCell company. Last year some mechanical blocks have been replaced (mainly temporal) and electronic components, which are necessary for controlling the system, have been bought. The controllers for automatic motion and conducting of the telescope are prepared, set (software for the controllers is made) and successfully tested. Some part of the works for the system of guidance for the telescope are made.
Until October 2008, about 6.5 mil. drams (approximately $22000) had been spent from the donation of the VivaCell company. Now the works connected with the Byurakan 1m telescope are temporarily stopped and will restart in 2009 when the Byurakan observatory is going to repay remaining money for further modernization works which was used for the other observatory purposes since the laboratory technically was not able to realize during the initially agreed period of the program.