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Playing with the Ancient Refractor at Fabra Observatory , 





    
        

            Oscar Meca

Playing with the Ancient Refractor at Fabra Observatory

Description

End of XIX century. When street lights started to proliferate in Barcelona, the Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences planned to build a new observatory away from the growing light-polluted city skies. Thanks to the sponsorship of Camil Fabra –former mayor of the city and a passionate amateur astronomer-, the project eventually came true and the Fabra Observatory opened its doors April 7th 1904, leaded by the renowned astronomer Josep Comas i Solà (image G at right), who discovered during his career, 11 asteroids, 2 comets and reported for the very first time, that Titan had an atmosphere.

Located in a privileged spot at the northwest hills that surround the city (images H & I), the observatory could (and can) be easily recognized by its yellowish color and its dome, just looking up to the mountains virtually from any place in the city (image J).

As well as the astronomical usage, the institution was conceived to provide seismological and meteorological data…and it´ s been doing so uninterruptedly since 1913!
Nowadays, the astonishing –almost three tons- 38 cm diameter 6.5 m long Mailhat refractor and its impressive equatorial mount (built in 1904, images B, E & F, just imagine the column that holds such giant, partially seen in image D) are completely functional and works smoothly, and is used as a magnificent guide scope for a celestron´s 14´´ SCT (that seems to be a toy coupled to the refractor, images B, C & E) for taking astrometry measures of near earth asteroids located outside from the Kuiper belt, and the data is then reported to the MPC (an average of 600 “non- robotized” measures a year). Be that as it may, this refractor is surely one of the older telescopes still producing scientific data in the world.

It´´ s been a pleasure to have a look to the unique Albireo´ s binary system through this extraordinary machine (image A)…

…So you know, if you happen to come to Barcelona, you must visit it in one of the guided tours available every Saturday from November to June!

Hope you like :)

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OscarMeca
Oscar Meca
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Histogram

Playing with the Ancient Refractor at Fabra Observatory , 





    
        

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