Bappu, (Manali Kallat) Vainu (1927–1982)
Vainu Bappu was a prominent Indian astronomer who did much to set up new observatories
and astronomical research centers in his native country. His father was
an assistant at the Nizamiah Observatory in Hyderabad, so that Bappu was
exposed to astronomy from an early age. He won a scholarship to Harvard
and co-discovered a comet, named Bappu-Bok-Newkirk, shortly after his arrival.
Later he went to the Palomar Observatory where he and Colin Wilson discovered
a relationship, now known as the Wilson-Bappu effect, between the luminosity
of certain kinds of stars and some of their spectral characteristics. In
1953, he returned to India and worked at the Uttar Pradesh State Observatory
before becoming director of the observatory at Kodaikanal, the oldest in
India. He helped establish the Indian Institute of Astrophysics at Bangalore
and set up the largest telescope in India, a 2.34-meter reflector at the
Kavalur Observatory – an instrument named in his honor in 1986.
• Indian astronomy