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.
At the moment, the Observatory is a powerful research, 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 asteroids, extrasolar planets, variable stars and active galactic nuclei.
The significant experience acquired in Photometric techniques, also due to the high level of collaboration with a world-wide network of amateur and professional astronmers, 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.
Optical monitoring of Blazars (multiband photometry of AGNs – Active Galactic Nuclei)
- X-Ray Polarization Observations of BL Lacertae (ApJL, Jan. 2023)
- The optical behaviour of BL Lacertae at its maximum brightness levels: a blend of geometry and energetics (MNRAS, June 2023)
- Polarized blazar X-rays imply particle acceleration in shocks (Nature, Nov. 2022)
- Rapid quasi-periodic oscillations in the relativistic jet of BL Lacertae (Nature, Sept. 2022)
Extrasolar planets (photometry of exoplanetary transits, TTVs analysis)
- ExoClock Project. III. 450 New Exoplanet Ephemerides from Ground and Space Observations (ApJS, Feb. 2023)
- Utilizing a Global Network of Telescopes to Update the Ephemeris for the Highly Eccentric Planet HD 80606 b and to Ensure the Efficient Scheduling of JWST (AJ, Nov. 2022)
- Discovery of a young low-mass brown dwarf transiting a fast-rotating F-type star by the Galactic Plane eXoplanet (GPX) survey (MNRAS, Aug. 2021)
- Homogeneously derived transit timings for 17 exoplanets and reassessed TTV trends for WASP-12 and WASP-4 (MNRAS, Sep. 2019)
- KPS-1b: The First Transiting Exoplanet Discovered Using an Amateur Astronomer's Wide-field CCD Data (PASP, May 2018)
Asteroids (rotation period determination, 3D modelling)
- 4376 Shigemori: An Asteroid with an Earth Commensurate Rotation Period (MPB, Apr. 2023)
- Spin-Shape Model for 374 Burgundia (MPB, July 2021)
- Photometric Analysis and Rotation Period Determination of the Potentially Hazardous Asteroid 2020 WU5 (MPB, Apr. 2021)
- 4963 Kanroku: Asteroid with a possible precession of rotation axis (PSS, Apr. 2018)
Variable stars (discovery, characterization, 3D modelling of binary systems)
- Properties of the Hyades, the eclipsing binary HD 27130, and the oscillating red giant ɛ Tauri (A&A, Jan. 2021)
- New Variables Discovered by Data Mining Images Taken During Recent Asteroid Photometric Surveys at the Astronomical Observatory of the University of Siena: Results for the Year 2017 (JAAVSO, Dec. 2018)
- Preliminary Modeling of the Eclipsing Binary Star GSC 05765-01271 (JAAVSO, Dec. 2017)
» ALL THE PUBLICATIONS on the SAO/NASA Astrophysics Data System
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.
Thanks to the generous sponsorship of the Fondazione Monte dei Paschi di Siena, the observatory was totally upgraded and modernised during 2010 and 2012.
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 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
University of Siena
Via Roma 56 – 53100 Siena - Italy
Contact: Alessandro Marchini
Tel. +39 0577 232331
Personal E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Observatory E-mail: email@example.com