MPC 476 Grange Observatory
The Grange Observatory (a brief pdf presentation is here) 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/3.3 with a focal reducer/planar corrector.
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.
originally had a DOS based SXL-8 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 SXL-8 camera is still used at a 140 mm f/5.7 Vixen astrograph for Johnson B, V, R and Vilnius V, S standard photometry of stars through the ASTROART 5 plug-in working with Windows XP on a ASUS laptop having a parallel port, and the exoplanet transits detection.
For a 15 mas precision astrometry and ultra-fast photometry with a Pan-STARRS w filter a peltier cooled camera QHY6 is mounted at the 300 mm f/3.3 telescope, connected to a Samsung netbook.
The Sony ICX259AL sensor of the QHY6 camera is used at the telescope, giving a 17 x 13 arcmin star field containing asteroids of up to magnitude 19 with 300 s exposures (the 17th magnitude in the GAIA DR1 photometry is reached with a short 15 s exposure).
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
Currently the privately founded 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, the chemical composition of the stars and recently the presence of exoplanets around them.
If interested in the researches and products of the Grange Obs. please have a look of the spin off page.
- OBSERVATORY DATA
- Minor Planet
Center code = 476
- Latitude= 45° 08' 31.7" N
- Longitude= 7° 08' 25.6" E
- Height= 495 m WGS84 ell. (480 m a.s.l)
- CCD CAMERAS
- A 12-bit Starlight Xpress SXL8 camera
(chip 'frame transfer' Philips FT-12, 512x512, temp. -30°C) is used for Johnson B V R and Vilnius V S photometry with the 140 mm astrograph
- A 16-bit camera QHY6 is used for Sloan SSDS g r i and Johnson B V + clear H photometry at the 0.3 m f/3.3 ultra-fast telescope with a sensitive, low noise Sony ICX259AL interline sensor, 6 mm x 4.96 mm, peltier cooled. The camera has a sensor of 800x600 pixels with an overscan area for electronic offset processing.
- HOW TO CONTACT GRANGE OBSERVATORY
Go to the AAS
homepage, the local amateur association (in Italian).
Return to Grange Obs. homepage.