SCIENCE

For more than 25 years, our main science mission is 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), Visnjan is amongst the top five observatories in the world in collecting more near-Earth object(NEO) measurements to determine if they are a threat to 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 a day or even in a matter of hours. With our measurements we can ascertain if the discovered object is really there, calculate its trajectory and verify whether it is a potential threat.

We are also members of Spaceguard Foundation, an association set up to support the creation of a system to discover celestial bodies which could potentially be a threat to life on Earth. 8

Years ago the predecessor to this observatory had a 40cm telescope and discovered 1400 minor planets. It ranked as one of the worlds top 5 observatories doing this work at the time. Due to light pollution we had to move to a new location nearby called Tican. Over the years, with the help of countless volunteers we constructed a new observatory containing a larger telescope. The TT1 or ‘Tican Telescope 1’ has a mirror diameter of 1m. You can see it in the photo on the right.

The observatory’s IAU/MPC Code is: LO1

As a non-profit and non-governmental organisation in Croatia, there is no funding available for our asteroid observation, discovery and follow up. However in 2018 Visnjan is again recognised as one of the top observatories in the world in this field, assisting measurements of 38.5% of newly discovered NEOs (references: discovery MPECs, all MPECs). Any donations to ensure the continuation of this work 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 aim of this project is to search for correlations between meteors in the visual spectral region, and emissions of the electromagnetic waves in the ELF-VLF(20Hz to 20KHz)spectrum, which we measure with our antennas. Our ‘Schumann antenna’ is an E-field ball antenna. The ball diameter is 0.85m and it stands at 4.4 metres from the ground. With these measurements it is cited as the largest of its kind in the world.
Read more about Geophysical station Tičan.

 

Croatian Meteor Network

2007 saw the formation of the Croatian Meteor Network, (CMN). It is a joint project developed by the Astronomical Society-Istria in Pula and the Science and Education Center in Visnjan. Currently CMN has more than 30 cameras in operation. They are installed in both schools, The Scientific Education Centre and also in in private homes in Croatia and 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. Enabling them to express their talents and create future experts, educators and leaders capable of creating and managing the world that is about to come.

Every year 450 elementary and high school students attend our workshops in astronomy, physics, biology, geology, robotics, chemistry and social sciences. We are working on adding even more scientific subjects.

Youngsters ranging from elementary school, to college, work on challenging projects side by side with recognised scientists. The relaxed atmosphere encourages good communication between the students and experts which lead to high quality results. There have been many occasions where these results are presented in science competitions and are even published.

We hope that in time, Visnjan will become an inter-disciplinary youth research centre where students will be able to develop their creative and analytical skills.

Our goal is both to learn and to educate, both vital attributes in the modern, high tech 21st century. Equally important we teach integrity, tolerance and open mindedness, essential qualities in a rapidly changing multicultural society. We feel that some of these issues are not prioritised in the current school system so our education programmes is even more likely to benefit future generations.

The Visnjan Science and Education centre is a member of the European Talent Support Network. This prestigious organisation is a wonderful resource for best practices, applying cutting edge scientific results to help highly capable students 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

The old observatory is situated in the picturesque village of Visnjan, near the coastal town Porec on the Istrian peninsular in Croatia.

In November 1992 Visnjan Observatory (IAU/MPC code 120) was founded on a decision made by the Visnjan Amateur Astronomical Society to open a public observatory.

The observatory became renowned for its outstanding results in Astrometric measurements and discoveries of small bodies within the solar system.

Between 1995 and 2001 Visnjan observatory was responsible for discovering 1749 asteroids.

Although the old observatory hasn’t been searching for asteroids for two decades it is still notably one of the most prolific sites for asteroids in the world.

Light pollution became particularly bad in Istria between 2000 and 2001, so much so that by 2001 the Visnjan Observatory had to close.

Throughout all that time Visnjan observatory was very involved in projects and educational programmes with the Visnjan Science and Education centre providing scientific courses for students of all ages.

New observatory on nearby Tičan hill

Due to the light pollution problem the scientific activities at Visnjan observatory needed to move to a new location. A site was found on Tican hill, three kilometres north of Visnjan. The construction of the new observatory was started in 1998 and by 2002 the metric telescope, named Dagor had been installed.

The management software, developed specifically for the observatory, was finalised by the end of 2016. Between 2014-2016, after a series of optical calibrations and innovative solutions, the telescopes original capabilities were dramatically improved. The main goal was, and still is, to develop a state-of-the-art telescope capable of autonomous observations and remote operation via internet. To achieve these goals, modern technical solutions such as brushless motors and encoders (which enable high precision control of the telescope) were installed. All the software and most of the hardware (electrical) components used for the telescope are open source: Debian, Linux, Arduino, siderla. py library, Modbus library etc.

An essential aspect of the whole project is education, so from 2007, high school students from the Visnjan School of Astronomy have been involved in designing and producing hardware and software components for the telescope. Most of the mechanical parts have been successfully installed. We hope to continue further automation, enabling autonomous observations and data collections which will increase efficiency.

We are also looking at the possibility of constructing an even larger telescope in the future.

VISITS

Individuals

Individuals may visit the observatory in the summer of 2019. Visiting times will be announced in June.

Groups

Group visits are by appointment only.

There is a special programme for groups which can involve a lecture and/or observations of celestial objects (including the sun in the case of a daytime visit). The lecture can be adapted to your groups age and interest (Solar System, Asteroids, Space Guard). Tours are possible in Croatian, English or Italian language.

The price is negotiable depending on the programme and number of participants.
Please feel free to contact us.

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 don’t usually ask for financial help because we are fairly self sufficient and have invested plenty of time into our project. As a non-government and non-profit organisation we are extremely efficient with our money and resources.
In 2018 tremendous work in asteroid follow up was achieved by a relatively small team, comprising of passionate volunteers who have invested a lot of time, resources and commitment. 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. Nobody is paid a cent for this work and sleep deprivation is not uncommon. Some may say we are crazy but we feel we are making an important contribution. We realise that we have reached the limit of our achievements without funding, so it is only now, when we feel we have proved our worth, that we are asking for your assistance.

There are two main reasons that we are looking for funding, sponsors or even small individual contributions:

  • To be able to continue our scientific work at this pace or more in 2019.
  • To further automate our system with new in-house software and improved 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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