Asteroid (726) Joella: the first minor planet observed from the observatory site
1997 was an important year for the Virtual Telescope history. That year, at Fall, asteroids became one of the favorite scientific topic at the observing site now hosting our project.
At that time, there was not an observatory at all: all the astronomical activities were made through a 6″ newtonian reflector (on the left), which was moved back and forth, accordingly with the observing needs. Late that September, astrometry of asteroids was started, measuring the position of a known minor planet, (726) Joella. Those measures were needed to prove to the Minor Planet Center that accurate astrometry could be done from Ceccano, with those available instruments.
The observations were good, so the Minor Planet Center gave us the observatory code: 470 – Ceccano.
The animation above shows asteroid Joella while it moves across the stars, as from the images captured that night of Sept. 1997, when the asteroid adventure started.
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