A strong and rooted passion for Astronomy is what drove, in 2004, the birth of the Astronomical Observatory of the Università degli Studi di Siena which, inside the Porta Romana University Campus, has become the home of the instrumentation and amateur astronomers who, in the early 90's, founded, in the Chianti countryside, the first University Astronomical Observation Society.
This is a place for observation, study and reflection on the mysteries of deep space, often invisible to the sight of men, but easily in the reach of good instrumentation.
The latter, thanks to the generous sponsorship of the Fondazione Monte dei Paschi di Siena, was totally upgraded and modernised during 2010 and 2012.
The Observatory at the moment is a powerful teaching and study asset for university students, but also an engaging and alluring experience for high school students involved in vocational guidance activities. The Observatory's telescope and instruments enable them to discover the night skies, and learn how to interact with all the most up-to-date technologies for remote observation and acquisition of astronomical imagery. The skills acquired, even in very brief periods, are sufficient to allow them to participate in simple research projects, regarding variable stars and extrasolar planets.
The Dome is 3 metres in diameter, and, although quite near to the town centre, offers a wide observable sector from East to West.
The main telescope is a Maksutov-Cassegrain, built by Costruzioni Ottiche Zen (D=32cm., F=1650mm.), atop a Comec 10micron GM2000-QCI equatorial mount.
Image acquisition is provided by a CCD Sbig STL-6303 (with a 3072 x 2048 pixels KAF-6303E sensor), provided with a filter wheel, Custom Scientific photometric and imaging filters, Optec TCF-S precision focuser, and an Optec Pyxis field rotator.
The dome, and all the contained instrumentation, can be remotely controlled via Web.
The significant experience acquired in Photometric techniques, also due to the high level of collaboration with a world-wide network of astrophiles and astronomy professionals, has given the Observatory the possibility to contribute to international research programmes in the sector of asteroids, variable stars, extrasolar planets and in the optical monitoring of active galactic nuclei.
Data sets collected during observations are made available to all major international databases, and are frequently used in scientific publications in many highly prestigious and distinguished science journals.
University students can work in the Observatory during their laboratory and internship activities, allowing them to be proficient in celestial mechanics, electronics and data acquisition and processing.
The vocational tutoring activities permit students from the Highs Schools of the Provinces of Siena, Grosseto and Arezzo to be involved in astronomy introductory courses and, often using remotely the Observatory's instruments, in true scientific observation projects.
The passion for the night skies, however, begins at a very small age! This is why the Observatory offers laboratory activities and tuition to students of every age and school grade, provided they show enthusiasm for astronomy and familiarity with the instrumentation.
We often organize, in collaboration with other local Cultural Associations, nightly viewing session, to allow all members of public to be touched by the beauty of the stars.
You are all therefore invited to the Siena University Astronomical Observatory, to take part in and share Man's long and fascinating study of the Universe.
The Astronomical Observatory is located in South Siena, inside the Porta Romana University Campus (Ex-Psychiatric Hospital), accessible from the main gate in Via Porta Romana 56.
Geographic Coordinates: Lat. 43°18'45" N - Long. 11°20'12" E