RESEARCH ACTIVITIES

Design, construction, calibration and scientific operations of the Wide Angle Camera for the OSIRIS system of the cometary mission ROSETTA (the P.I. of Osiris being Dr. H. Sierks, MPS Germany). The WAC is characterized by an innovative two mirror optics (the primary being convex), large FoV(12x12 deg), extremely clean PSF and sophisticated baffling in order to detect faint gaseous features close to the bright cometary nucleus. The activity is carried out inside CISAS, with researchers from the Departments of Physics and Astronomy, Geosciences, Industrial Engineering, Information Engineering of the University of Padova and researchers from the Universities of Trento and Venezia, INAF Astronomical Observatories of Padova and Trieste and CNR Luxor. Funds are provided by the Italian Space Agency ASI through INAF.

Applications of Quantum Optics concepts to astronomy. with the aim of opening a new frontier, namely that of the ultra-short time domain (below the nanosecond) in order to approach Heisenberg's limit in the optical astrophysical environment. This activity started with a study for ESO named Quanteye, done in collaboration with Prof. Dainis Dravins (Lund Observatory, Sweden) and researchers from the UPd Department of Information Engineering. Subsequently, a collaboration (QIPS) was started with several European institutes and ESA, for quantum communications between ground and space stations. Three major projects have been financed:
PRIN 2006  for Astronomy to the Quantum limits.
Harrison, the application of time distributed by the GALILEO Satellite Navigation System
New light for old telescopes, Project of Excellence 2006 funded by the Cariparo Foundation.
These studies led to the successful construction and operations of 3 instruments, Aqueye for the 182cm telescope at Cima Ekar, Iqueye for the 3.5m NTT ESO telescope in La Silla, and a coronagraph based on Optical Vortices for the 122cm telescope in Asiago.
‘Quantum’  activities are still ongoing inside the Strategic Program ‘Quantum Future’ of the University of Padova (PI Prof. Paolo Villoresi, DEI). Data are taken with the 1.5m telescope at the ASI Matera station and with the ESO 1m telescope at Izaña (Tenerife) and our own equipment on the Roque de los Muchachos.

Solar System
Upper terrestrial atmosphere: with an all-sky camera provided by the Boston University and installed at Asiago - Cima Ekar.
Diffuse Sodium: novel data on Io, Moon, comets, Mercury, with the Asiago 182-cm telescope, the TNG and the solar telescope Themis at Izaña, in the frame of large International collaborations (USA, France, Japan).
Search of asteroids: survey ADAS (Asiago-DLR Asteroid Survey) carried out with the 67/92 cm Schmidt telescope at Cima Ekar, equipped with a 50 arcmin CCD camera optimized for the discovery of Near Earth Objects and asteroids. This activity, done through a convention between the Astronomical Observatory of Padova and DLR Berlin (Dr. S. Mottola, G. Hahn, M. Hoffmann), has lead to the discovery of several hundreds new asteroids, 332 designations, 150 of which have been numbered (situation July 2012).
Search of asteroids and Trojans of the outer planets on images of the ESO ASTROVIRTEL Archive, survey I03, 131 designations, 4 numbered asteroids (situation July 2012).
Astrometry and spectrophotometry of Pluto, Comets, Asteroids and other Minor Bodies. The astrometry of Pluto in the period from 1970 to 1990 produced a very large set of accurate positions that were used to refine the (then) poorly know orbit of the planet. Recently, our activity has produced one of the largest data set for Near Earth Orbiting objects.  

Digital Archives: a collaboration with several Italian Observatories and the Specola Vaticana (funded as PRIN MIUR 2001-2003)  has lead to the digitization of the archive of plates of the Asiago Astrophysical Observatory, and of the Castelgandolfo plates. The log-books of all the Asiago telescopes direct image observations and of the Schmidt 67/92cm and Schmidt 40/50cm objective prism observations are available at the Asiago Archive pages including an on-line query page for the digitized plates. The Asiago Digital Archive is recognized as one of the leading projects in this field.

Photometry and Astrometry of Quasi Stellar Objects and AGNs. In the past, we discovered many quasar candidates, in particular by the two-color and objective prism techniques, and we derived one of the first luminosity functions at the bright end. In recent years, this activity has been carried out by digitizing the huge photographic archive of Asiago Observatory, and implementing automatic searches of the archives of other observatories (ASTROVIRTEL Project of ESO).

Astronomical Telescopes and Instrumentation for ground and Space
The 182cm telescope at Cima Ekar
External flat metal mirror and baffle for the Halley Multicolour Camera on board the ESA GIOTTO Mission
ESA Faint Object Camera for the Hubble Space Telescope
New dome of the Schmidt Telescope at Cima Ekar (Asiago)
The 3.5m Telescopio Nazionale Galileo (TNG Project Page)
The Wide Angle Camera of OSIRIS (see above)
Very High Time Resolution photometers Aqueye and Iqueye (see above)

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