INAF - Osservatorio Astrofisico di Catania (OACT)


Location: Catania, Italy

Owner: Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica


The privileged geographical position of Catania, a sunny town in Sicily at the feet of Mt. Etna (3340 m above sea level.), the largest active volcano in Europe, has made possible an almost 100-year long uninterrupted patrol of the solar activity, which is still carried out today.

Observations are carried out daily by means of an equatorial spar equipped with: a Cook refractor (150/2230 mm), used to make drawings of sunspot groups and pores from visual observation; a 150-mm refractor (2300 mm focal length) feeding a Zeiss Halpha Lyot filter (bandwidth of 0.025 or 0.050 nm, tunable filter range of ±0.1 nm) and a sCMOS camera Andor Marana with a sensor of 2048 x 2048 pixels, a pixel size of 11 micron and a dynamical range of 16 bit.

The program performed by means of these instruments includes: daily drawings of sunspots and pores by projection of the solar disk; digital image acquisitions (every 1 min) in the Halpha line center (656.28 nm), besides than monitoring of transient phenomena, like flares and active prominences; digital image acquisition in the continuum at 656.78 nm (every hour).

These data are provided in near real time to the ESA SSA Space Weather Service Network.




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