Inside of the Alberoni College are active a weather observatory, a seismic observatory and an ancient astronomical one; this last is well equipped with an instrument for the astronomical passages and sophistecated equipment to studying the declination and the terrestrial magnetic inclination.
The astronomical observatory
The astronomical observatory of the Alberoni College was built by the will of the professor Manzi in 1882, precisely in the center of the College’s garden.
This central location was chosen because the astronomical observation space, built in 1870 on top of the weather observatory, wasn’t considered good enough.
Actually, this is a real observatory equipped with a mechanical rotating dome and a granite column as a base of the telescope.
The refractor is the main tool to the astronomical observing, namely it’s a refractor of 13 centimeters in diameter made by Merz, (Georg Merz was one of the most important optician of the world).
This unique refractor has a durable equatorial mount made by big graded circles, equipped with nonius. This special refractor has a spinning clockwise created by a weight-driven clock. Among the accessories of the refractor it’s important to remember the polarized light eyepiece and the direct vision spettroscope of Merz with a triple Amici’s prism. Specifically this last tool was used to studying the Sunspots.
One of the main aim of this structure was to solve the exact time issue. The two tools used for this particular study were the telescope for the passages and the Feuss chronograph.
The abandonment and the restoration
After the building development of the town, which created a big issue of light-pollution and consequently the necessity of restoration, the astronomical observatory ended its research activity.
Later on, the astronomical observatory of the Alberoni College was considered the oldest of Italy. In 2015 for the Expo event, it was decided to proceed with the restoration of the observatory dome and the telescope, the Chronograph, spinning clockwise and telescope for the passages, with the aim to use the astronomical observatory mainly for educational purpose.
The restoration process was made by Arass Brera, company specialized in old scientific tools restoration.
Later on, during the event titled ” A riveder le stelle” in 2017, the Alberoni College attended the national project PRISMA, the first Italian team for the systematic monitoring of meteors and athmosphere, promoted and guided by the National Astrophysics Institute, coordinated by Daniele Gardiol from the Astrophysics Observatory of Turin.
Through this new partnership and thank to the agreement signed between Opera Pia Alberoni and the National Astrophysics Institute, the Alberoni College became Astrophysics Observatory, reactivating the first and probably the oldest sky observation made by Padri Vicenziani inside of the College, dedicated namely to the shooting stars observation from the middle of the XIX century.
Nowadays a seamless camera recording all sky is connected to a computer, which is able to fast-foward all the recorded data directly to the National Astrophysics Institute.