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The Grange Observatory is a private scientific institution (established 1993, and certified with astrometry code MPC 476 in Circular 25095 of May 14th, 1995) located in Northern Italy 50 km W of Turin (details here), whose coordinates in several geodetic systems are:
The observatory with his homemade 300 mm mirror telescope for 20 years is mainly devoted to astrometry (i.e. the accurate measurement of Solar System's moving celestial bodies, like comets/asteroids or even probes/satellites), collaborated with the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center (MPC) of Cambridge, MA, U.S.A. and provided data for the planetary model DE405 et seq. to NASA JPL (ICRS/J2000 standard).
The Grange Obs. astrometric and photometric observations of NEO asteroids are collected in the ESA funded NEODyS website; for the comets observation instead, see MPC Electronic Circulars.
It has to be noted a dedicated study was conducted in 1995-96 for refining the orbital elements of NEO asteroid (433) Eros, since it was the target of the JPL spacecraft NEAR Shoemaker (which successfully entered in orbit around it, and afterwards landed on the asteroid's surface on February 12th, 2001).
Nowadays the astrometric robotic systems made pointless the role of small astrometric observatories with few measures per year, which had great importance in the 90's up to 2000, when the MPC codes were tri-numeral (meaning that no more than 1000 manned observing centers were envisaged with the technology of that time).
As you can notice, today the MPC codes have become alphanumeric, so the modern observatories can be spotted in the final part of the MPC observatories list webpage.
After the successful collaboration with JPL, the Grange Obs. has then become a start-up facility and a fundamental astronomy research center.
In particular, contacts with JPL/Caltech increased for the development of a methodology for studying the AMS 02 ISS payload position and pointing accuracy problem.
In the Astronomical Year 2009 an off-the-shelf refractor was purchased (a Vixen 'Petzval' or double-achromat f/5.7 astrograph of 140 mm diameter) mounted on the main instrument, joining the original 80 mm guidescope in 2015, the International Year of Light promoted by UNESCO, which kindly permitted Grange Obs. to use the logo in this website.
The Grange Obs. current instrumental layout is shown here below:
The 140 mm astrograph at f/5.7 is used for Johnson BVR and Vilnius VS photometric studies as well as the 300 mm at f/3.3 telescope but with a multi-spectral Sloan SSDS filter set, while the 80 mm refractor is dedicated to UV solar imaging (397 nm) at high resolution.
Are you curious about what influences Moon/Mars robotic or human rovers locomotion and other key technologies needed?
© Grange Obs.