in italiano

MPC 476 Grange Observatory


The Grange Observatory lies atop a private house in Bussoleno (50 km W from Turin, Italy), in Susa Valley near the French border; Grange comes from the name of the town's suburb.
The observatory's roll-off roof opens in two parts and covers a 3 m by 3 m room; the homemade telescope is a 0.3-m Newton f/4.
The optical instrumentation is permanently mounted on a concrete pillar and is independent from the room's floor; the observing site can be reached via a foldable ladder from a room devoted to laboratory / library.

The telescope originally had a DOS based SXL8-P CCD camera peltier cooled connected to a 486 DX2 computer with CD-ROM drive, this one being useful for having a quick access to huge star catalogues and sky surveys such as GSC-ACT, Tycho 2 and USNO A2.0: the field given by the cameras was 22x22 arcmin and the faintest stars recorded were about magnitude 17 (15 magn. was reached with 1 minute exposure).
The SXL8-P camera is still mounted at the 0.14-m Vixen astrograph, used for NEO and comets astrometry or star photometry at f/5.7 through the ASTROART 5 plug-in working with Windows XP on a ASUS laptop having a parallel port.

For a 60 mas precision astrometry with the Gaia DR2 catalogue, an ultra-fast photometry system using a peltier cooled camera QHY6 (QE max = 65%) is mounted at the 0.3-m f/4 telescope, connected to a Samsung netbook.
The Sony ICX259AL sensor of the QHY6 camera has a 14 x 10 arcmin star field containing asteroids and supernovae of magnitude 19 with an unguided 9 minutes exposure (the 16th magnitude in the Gaia DR2 catalogue photometry is reached with a short 30 s exposure). It is possible to use also a secondary focus for a CMY Chameleon camera via a small prism inserted during the QHY6 camera operations.

The main research activity is stellar photometry, although astrometry is still performed being one of the observatories appointed by IAU past Commission 20 which send their measures to the Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams/Minor Planet Center, located at Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Cambridge, MA (U.S.A.).
Grange Obs. was also one of the observing sites of Gruppo Italiano Astrometristi, the Italian Astrometry Group, which at the time coordinated all the astrometric activity done in Italy by amateur astronomers, and is a proud member of Spaceguard Foundation.

Currently the privately granted MPC 476 Grange Observatory is making researches on fundamental astronomy, such as astrometry and photometry; the instruments of the observatory can measure the distance, the temperature and the spectral class of the stars.
If interested in the researches and products of the Grange Obs. please have a look of the spin off page.

Technical description:

Go to the AAS homepage, the local amateur association (in Italian).
Return to Grange Obs. homepage.