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MPC 476 Grange Observatory

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:

ED 1950 MPC to Oct.2011 WGS 84 current
LATITUDE
45░ 08' 31.0" N
45░ 08' 31.5" N
45░ 08' 31.7" N
LONGITUDE
07░ 08' 29.0" E
07░ 08' 29.0" E
07░ 08' 25.6" E
Height
470.0 m
449.1 m
495.0 m ELL.

The observatory with his homemade 300 mm mirror telescope is mainly devoted to astrometry (i.e. the accurate measurement of Solar System's moving celestial bodies, like comets/asteroids or even probes/satellites), collaborating with the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center (MPC) of Cambridge, MA, U.S.A. and providing data for the planetary model DE405 to NASA JPL (ICRS/J2000 standard).
The Grange Obs. astrometry 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).

After the successful collaboration with JPL, the Grange Obs. has 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, for replacing the original 80 mm guidescope; the Grange Obs. current instrumental layout is shown here below:

grange1

The astrograph is used for filters photometric calibration and for deep-sky observations as well as the solar chromosphere imaging in UV band.
The Grange Obs. produced the monochrome filters used for the Sun and planetary or lunar studies.

From 1996 a parallel port CCD (512x512 pixel, 15 um) was used at the 0.3 m reflector first focus for astrometry and for star field imaging (22x22 arcminutes at 2 arcseconds/pixel).
Nowadays, with the use of modern CCD imaging USB systems to increase the star field (max 2 degrees with the 140 mm refractor), the limiting magnitude (up to 20 with the 300 mm reflector) and the resolution (0.6 arcsecond with the 140 mm refractor), an high resolution page was added for showing the electronic imaging technique enhancement, as well as a space exploration page to discuss the astrononomical input is fundamental for orientation in space or planetary exploration, and to point out a multi-disciplinary approach is needed to draw a technically feasible scenario about the robotic or human presence beyond the Earth orbit.

The Grange Obs. competence is not limited to astronomy, ranging from geological and planetary sciences to space technical, logistic and operational engineering, and from optical sensors patronizing (20+ years experience in CCD sensors use) to Crew training, or medical and psychological expertise.
A new competence has been recently gained to support as well industral machine vision and production optical control.

Currently the spotlight is on the Moon/Asteroids/Mars rovers or human exploration technologies development, and Grange Obs. with his experience is supporting institutions in business with Space Agencies.

This site has been created to have also the possibility to update a news page, in which the observatory's current activity is reported from time to time; it is possible to exchange messages and data using the address info[at]grangeobs.net.



MPC 476 Grange Observatory is not usually open to visits, since it is a private research structure not suited for public's safety. Please enjoy the virtual visit thought this website.



 
 
 

click to enlarge 1995 Grange Obs. view

click to enlarge 1995 closeup view

12 inch blank's deflection: click to enlarge FEM calcs on request:
evaluation of your scope's deflections, stresses, frequencies!

Aldebaran occulted real photo: click to enlarge Ask also for your site astronomical calcs and high precision ephemerides!

Apollo Lunar Rover NASA photo Are you curious about what influences Moon/Mars robotic or human rovers locomotion and other key technologies needed?

Have a look of the Exploration Page

Sun image See how to do diffraction-limited Moon or Sun imaging in UV wavelengths!

Have a look of the High Resolution and the Spin-off pages



© Grange Obs.