SCIENCE

For more than 25 years, our main science mission is primarily dedicated to operational asteroid observation, and to serve the community in educating students and future experts in the field of Solar System science.

As a member of the International Asteroid Warning Network (IAWN), we are among top 5 most prolific observatories in the world in collecting further near-Earth objects’ (NEOs) measurements needed to calculate the asteroids’ orbits and determine if they could threaten Earth.

Without these so called follow-up and confirmation measurements the majority of newly discovered asteroids that are daily discovered mainly from Hawaii, would get lost in the matter of hours or a day.  With the follow-up and confirmation measurements we confirm if the discovered object is really there and we determine it’s orbital trajectory more accurately and thus also measure if it poses a potential threat to us.

We are also a part of Spaceguard Foundation – an association with a goal to support creation of a system for discovering celestial bodies which could potentially be a threat to life on Earth.

Years ago in our old observatory with the 40 cm telescope we discovered more than 1400 minor planets and were among top 5 world observatories in this work at the time. Due to light pollution we had to move to a new nearby location called Tičan where with a help of countless volunteers we constructed over the years a new observatory containing a larger telescope with a mirror diameter of 1 m.  It’s called TT1 or Tičan Telescope 1 and you can see it in the photo on the right.

The observatory’s IAU/MPC Code is: L01

Although as a non-profit and non-governmental organization we had no founding for our asteroid observing, discovery and follow-up in 2018, in 2018 Višnjan Observatory was among the top 5 observatories in the World in this work, assisting measurements of 38.5 % newly discovered NEOs. (references: discovery MPECs, all MPECs) So any donations for our science work continuation would be much appreciated (see more below in WE NEED YOUR HELP section).

Other scientific-technological projects that we run are:

 

Geophysical station Tičan

The main goal of this project is to search for correlations between meteors in the visual spectral region, and emission of the electromagnetic waves in ELF-VLF (20 Hz to 20 kHz) spectrum that we measure with our antennas. Our “Schumann antenna” it’s an E-field ball antenna, with a ball diameter of 0.85-m, isolated from the ground on the height of about 4.4 m has been also cited to be the largest of it’s kind in the world.
Read more about Geophysical station Tičan.

 

Croatian Meteor Network

The development of Croatian Meteor Network began in 2007. It is a joint project of the Astronomical Society “Istria” in Pula and the Science and Education Center Višnjan.
Currently, CMN has more than 30 cameras in operation, installed in both, schools and scientific-educational centers and in private homes in Croatia, but also in neighboring countries. Multiple overlapping fields of view of the cameras allow precise analysis of the meteor trajectories, which is the basis for calculating of possible meteorite falling sites. A great verification of the efficiency of the system was the Križevci meteorite, which felt in the night of 4th to 5th of February 2011, and was found as a result of calculating its trajectories using data collected by five CMN cameras.
Read more about Croatian Meteor Network or on the main CMN website.

EDUCATION

Our main mission is to motivate, educate and support ​children, students, teachers and parents to express their talents and to grow into experts, educators, and leaders capable of creating and managing the world that is about to come.

Each year 450 elementary and high school students attend our workshops in topics as astronomy, physics, biology, geology, robotics, chemistry, social sciences and we are working on adding even more scientific fields. Here, youngsters, ranging from the elementary school to college, work on challenging projects, side by side with recognized scientists. The relaxed atmosphere encourages communication between the students and the experts, and it results in high-quality results. Some of these results get presented in science competitions and even get published.
We hope that in time, Višnjan will become an inter-disciplinary youth research center where students will be able to develop their creative and analytical skills. Our Our goal is to both learn and educate. These are vital attributes in the modern and high-tech world of 21st century. No less important is to teach integrity, tolerance, and open-mindedness in a rapidly changing, multi-cultural society. We feel that some of these issues are not given enough importance in the present school system, and therefore, our project is even more important for the benefit of the future generations.

Science and Education Centre Višnjan is member of prestigious European Talent Support Network, an organisation providing a wonderful resource of best practices to apply cutting edge scientific results in the field of high ability and to help highly able people in Europe.

Read more on the Science and Education Centre Višnjan website.

2018 IN NUMBERS

A very successful year in education is behind us.
6000+

Students and Teachers

visiting for few hours

430

Students working in a groups of 5 with mentors

6 - 9 days

23

Educational camps and schools

6 - 9 days long

50

Volunteers

7

Employed in education

0

Employed for science work

HISTORY

Old observatory in the city of Višnjan

Višnjan Observatory is situated in the western part of the Istrian peninsula, near the city of Poreč, Croatia. The old observatory is part of the picturesque city of Višnjan.

Višnjan Observatory (IAU/MPC code 120) was founded as a public observatory by a decision at the assembly of Amateur Astronomical Society Višnjan, on November 13 1992.

The observatory is well known for its outstanding results in astrometric measurements and discoveries of small bodies of the Solar system. In the time period between year 1995 and 2001, at Višnjan Observatory have been discovered 1749 asteroids. Although the old Višnjan Observatory is not active anymore in asteroid search since almost two decades, it is still one of the most prolific discovery sites for asteroids in the World.

By increase of light pollution in Istria during 2000 and 2001, the asteroid survey at Višnjan Observatory became difficult and ceased completely in 2001.

Throughout all that time, Višnjan Observatory was very active also in the fields of science popularization and education. Its projects in cooperation with the Science and Education Center Višnjan include educational programs in many different scientific areas, for students of all ages.

New observatory on nearby Tičan hill

Because of the increasing light pollution, the scientific activity of the Višnjan Observatory moved to a new location, three kilometers north of Višnjan, on the Tičan hill. The construction of the new observatory started in 1998 and in 2002 the metric telescope, named Dagor at the time, was installed.
The first light in the test work period was completed in 2014. The development of the management software, developed specifically for this observatory was finalized by the end of 2016. During the period of 2014 – 2016 the telescope’s undergo optical calibration where optical capabilities were dramatically improved with variety of innovative solutions.

The main goal was and still is to develop a of state-of-the-art telescope capable of autonomous observations and Internet based teleoperation. To achieve these goals, modern technical solutions like brushless motors and encoders that enable high precision control of the telescope position were installed. All the software and most of the hardware (electrical) components used for the telescope control are open-source: Debian Linux, Arduino, siderla.py library, ModBus library, etc.
Important aspect of the project is education. Most of the key hardware (electrical circuits) and software components has been designed and produced with high school students, participants of Visnjan School of Astronomy, from 2007 until today.

Most of the mechanical parts are successfully installed. Current main task of the project is further automatization, that will enable autonomous observations and data collection, thus making us even more efficient.

We are looking also into future possibilities to construct an even larger telescope.

VISITS

Individuals

Individual visits to the observatory on Tičan during summer of 2019 will be announced in June 2019.

Groups

Group visits to the observatory are possible by appointment only!

For groups, we are able to organize a special program that may include a lecture and/or observations of celestial objects (including the Sun in case of a visit during daylight).  The lecture  can be adapted to your groups’ age and interests (Solar System, Asteroids, Space Guard …). Tours are also possible in English and Italian language.

Price of group visits: Negotiable – depending on the program and no. participants. Feel free to contact us!

Schools, institutions, companies: if you would like to order a lecturer for a event in your school or institution, we would be happy to arrange you a visit. Please feel free to contact us.

 

Contact: info@astro.hr

SPONSORS FOR 2019

Applications for sponsoring our science work at observatory for 2019 are now open.

Read more about why we need you below under WE NEED YOUR HELP.

SPONSORS 2015 - 2018

We would like to thank the following individuals, companies and institutions (in alphabetical order) for their support in the form of material and/or financial donations for the last three years:
  • ADDE studio d.o.o., Zagreb
  • Biomed Systems d.o.o., Rijeka
  • Calucem d.o.o., Pula
  • CARNet, Zagreb
  • Croz d.o.o., Zagreb
  • DOOR, Zagreb
  • DVD Novigrad
  • DVD Tar – Vabriga
  • DVD Višnjan
  • Ericsson-Nikola Tesla d.d., Zagreb
  • Filab obrt za servis laboratorijskih uređaja, Zagreb
  • GENIA d.o.o., Zagreb
  • GEO-VV d.o.o., Rijeka
  • Gorea plus d.o.o., Kerestinec
  • Grad Novigrad
  • Hrvatske šume – poslovnica Buzet, Buzet
  • HT – Hrvatski telekom d.d., Zagreb
  • IGEPA papir, Zagreb
  • Istarska županija
  • Istralandia, Novigrad
  • Istraživačka stanica Petnica, Srbija
  • Kefo Trgovina d.o.o., Sisak
  • Kemika d.d., Zagreb
  • Kiboke studio, Zagreb
  • Konoba Borgonja, Višnjan
  • Krijes d.o.o., Tinjan
  • Labco Limited, Velika Britanija
  • Lions klub Poreč, Poreč
  • LJEKARNE Vita, Poreč
  • Magmont, Umag
  • Ministarstvo turizma Republike Hrvatske
  • Ministarstvo znanosti obrazovanja i sporta Republike Hrvatske
  • Namještaj Mima d.o.o., Poreč
  • NAVACOM, Poreč
  • Općina Fažana
  • Općina Medulin
  • Općina Višnjan
  • OŠ Jože Šurana, Višnjan
  • Pekara Concettino, Poreč
  • Pekara Royal, Višnjan
  • POP d.o.o., Pula
  • Propaganda d.o.o., Poreč
  • Q-Alliance, Zagreb
  • Radio “Istra”, Pazin
  • Radio Pula, Pula
  • RLS merilna tehnika d.o.o.
  • S.I.C. d.o.o., Višnjan
  • SINAM d.o.o., Tinjan
  • Tehnomont brodogradilište Pula d.o.o., Pula
  • Tiskara Otis, Nova Vas
  • TXT reklame, Poreč
  • TZ – Funtana
  • TZ – Poreč
  • TZ – Tar – Vabriga
  • TZ – Vrsar
  • TZ Istarske županije
  • Ugostiteljski obrt “Milena”, Bačva
  • Unione Italiana – Talijanska zajednica
  • Valamar riviera d.d., Poreč
  • Vitalab Nova d.o.o., Zagreb
  • Zaklada za poticanje partnerstva i razvoja civilnog društva

WE NEED YOUR HELP

We usually do not ask for financial support because we can do a lot ourselves by investing out time into it. And as a non-governmental and non-profit organization, we are extremely efficient with money and other resources.
In 2018 a tremendous work in asteroid followup has been accomplished with a relatively small team. All of our science work has been accomplished by few of us who passionately volunteered and invested a lot of our time, resources and dedication into asteroid followup. We were not paid a cent for doing it and sleep deprivation is not uncommon. Some may say we are crazy for doing it, but we feel we are doing an important contribution! But we know we came to our limits of what we are able to achieve with zero financing for our science work, so yes, only now that we’ve proven we are worth the founding, we are asking for it.

We are now looking for founding, sponsors, even small individual contributions for two main reasons:

  • To be able to continue our scientific work at this pace or more also in 2019.
  • To further automate our system both with writing new software and improving hardware.

If you feel you can help us, we would appreciate your contribution.

Below are our bank details – you can write the message: Donation for science (or education)

Thank you!

Astronomsko drustvo Visnjan 
Istarska 5, 52463-HR, 
Visnjan, Croatia
IBAN: HR852380006111000843

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