2002 : First discussion for Establishment of National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand (NARIT) by the Deans of Science Faculty Assembly

2004 : Ministry of Science and Technology authorized the establishment of National Astronomical Research Insittute of Thailand by cabinet consensus

2006 : Model scheme of Thai National Observatory (TNO) prepared and approved

2008 : NARIT reorganized into a public organization under the Royal Decree and established as National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand (Public Organization)

2009 : Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn graciously agreed for TNO to be one of the Royal Initiative Projects

2012 : TNO construction complete


Modern Astronomy came to Thailand more than 300 years ago with the arrival of the Roman Catholic missionaries.  The first astronomical observatory was built in 1685.  During the last few decades, Thailand has seen a significant change in the way astronomical research and education is pursued in the country as the government has realized the important roles that basic science plays in shaping up a knowledge-based society.  The concept of a national astronomical research institute was discussed for the first time in the Assembly of the Deans of the Faculty of Science in Thai Universities.  On July 20, 2004, commemorating His Majesty King Bhumibol's 80th Birthday Anniversary in 2007 and marking the bicentenary of the life and work of King Mongkut the "Father of Thai Science", the government approved the establishment of the Nationlal Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand (NARIT), under the Ministry of Science and Technology.  The institute aims to strengthen not only research and educational capacity building in astronomy and related fields but also to ensure that a foundation for basic sciences exists for appropriate technology and innovation essential for a scienctific astronomy education at all levels, both in formal and informal education.  The status of the Institute has been changed to a public organization since January 1, 2009 which has become the Institute's Foundation Day henceforth.

NARIT is a national research organization for astronomy in Thailand. In particular, NARIT is enabling the development of a collaborative research network both regionally and globally aiming at developing and strengthening knowledge in astronomy, so as to meet international standards. We are also an alliance of public and private observatories allied for excellence in scientific research, education and public outreach.

Our core mission is to undertake and to support relevant research in astronomy that are both authoritative and stimulating. NARIT provides public access to qualified researchers to forefront scientific capabilities on telescopes installed at our modern observatory in a good setting. NARIT is on the way to be a leading astronomical organization in Thailand and South-East Asia, with access to several telescopes on the national territory as well as in other countries with which it holds Memoranda of Undestanding. In particular, NARIT has developed and managed the Thai National Observatory on Doi Inthanon, with a new 2.4m telescope to be equipped with several modern instruments. NARIT also owns one of the robotic telescopes of the PROMPT network at Cerro Tololo, Chile. A Science Group is planned at NARIT, to include in the next years several PhD researchers, research assistants and students. 



In support of its mission, NARIT is engaged in programs to develop scientific instruments, and software tools necessary for investigation of astronomical events through the observable sky.



NARIT Headquarters Office


To communicate the excitement of scientific research and technology development, NARIT has developed a nationally recognized Education and Public Outreach program to inspire younger generations to become explorers in astronomy on research based technology and to reach out to groups and individuals who have been under-represented in astronomy enterprise.     

NARIT has become a member of the International Astronomical Union since 15 August, 2006.  NARIT is under an auspice of the Ministry of Science and Technology, Thailand.


Vision of NARIT

A Southeast Asia leading astronomy research institute



We explore in-depth knowledge of the universe through scienctific research





  • Conducting research in Astronomy and related fields
  • Building the research infrastructures in astronomy
  • Establishing international and national research and academic cooperation networks in Astronomy
  • Pursuing knowledge and technology transfer in the field of astronomy


Where is NARIT located?

NARIT's headquarter office is in Chiang Mai, in the Northern Part of Thailand, which is where administrative works are carried out.

The Thai National Observatory which is operated and managed by NARIT is located at the summit of  Doi Inthanon and houses a 2.4 meter telescope equipped wit an auto-guider.

NARIT also has a liaison office in Bangkok and ground-based observatories in various geographical regions of the country.


Where do NARIT funds come from?

Being a public organization under the auspice of the Ministry of Science and Technology, NARIT's  budget are funded by the government.


How is NARIT operated?

The Executive Board is NARIT's governing body and provides the basic policy guidelines within which NARIT develops the astronomy and astrophysics education and research programmes to be carried out.

NARIT is headed by the Director who is elected by the Executive Board every four years. The present Director of NARIT is Professor Boonrucksar Soonthornthum.