"Bellatrix" Astronomical Observatory

M42 - Orion nebula

Gianluca Masi, Ceccano (FR) Italy

Center for Backyard Astrophysics - Italian Station

Italian version
Last update: 21 September 2005

  The Planetary Society awards Gianluca Masi with the Shoemaker NEO Grant!


First  image and movie from a small scope of 2003 UB313,  the just-discovered object larger than Pluto!

Deep Impact hits the Tempel 1: the comet rebrightnens !!!

The Rosetta fly by movie wins the  second ESA prize!

What's new today ?


Rosetta spacecraft: movie and image

Comet C/2004 Q2 (Machholz): movie!

(4179) Toutatis movies!

(25143) Itokawa photometry!

Comets C/2001 Q4 (NEAT) and  C/2002 T7 (LINEAR) !

Asteroid 1999 KW4 movie and lightcurve!!!

Asteroid (21795) Masi !



! McNeil's Nebula and a few new variable stars close to M78 !

WZ Sge extremely rare superoutburst!

Masi's variable star near M27


1 Virtual Meeting on Amateur Astronomy


    Welcome to the site of the "Bellatrix" Astronomical Observatory, managed by Gianluca Masi (note about the author). Here you will find a lot of astronomical images, services and information about our activities. Very remarkable is the Hale-Bopp image gallery. The observatory is also the Italian station of the Center for Backyard Astrophysics (Columbia University, New York - USA), a network of telescopes dedicated to cataclysmic variable stars' photometry. Also, the observatory is member of the VSNET Collaboration Team (Kyoto University, Japan), mainly related to cataclysmic variables. Your suggestions or comments about this site will be very much appreciated.

What time is it (Universal Time)?

US Naval Observatory

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    The main telescope installed at the observatory is a Celestron/Losmandy CG-11, a 280 mm SC telescope, used at several focal lenghts (f/20, f/10, f/6.3, f/3.3). It is mainly used for the research activities (astrometry and CCD photometry). To image the Hale-Bopp (and other objects), a smaller, 6-inch Vixen SP R-150S f/5 newtonian reflector has been used. A SBIG ST-7 CCD camera is employed as detector, and completes the principal instrumentation.
For data acquisition, elaboration and analysis several software packages are used: CCDOPS (SBIG), CCDSoft (Software Bisque), QMiPS32 (by Christian Buil), Astrometrica (by Herbert Raab) and IDL (RSI). TheSky (Software Bisque) is used to program the observing sessions and to control the main telescope with an encoder system.
The observing site (Ceccano) is heavily affected by light pollution.

Hale-Bopp images

    Images are posted here in inverse chronological order. They are in JPG format, with no high resolution. Info about taking astronomical images are available. If you need high resolution images, please ask me for them by e-mail. Click on the image to see the full version. Please, contact me if you wish to publish one of them. This is valid for all the images presented in this site.

Copyright © Gianluca Masi

Read me !

Animations ! Look at the Hale-Bopp proper motion and dust waves

These sixtheen images of the Hale-Bopp show the evolution of the inner region of the coma, around the nucleus. They have been taken on 3, 9, 11, 12, 20, 21, 26, 31 March; 4, 6, 8, 10, 17, 19, 24 April; 3 May 1997. It is visible how the nucleus appearance has changed with the time. Reflector 15 cm f/5, CCD SBIG ST-7, elaboration: QMiPS32.

All together

May '97 April '97 March '97 February '97


Other Comet Links

    If you want more information about Hale-Bopp and comets in general, you can visit the sites below: many of them post images of mine.

International Comet Quarterly (ICQ)
JPL Hale-Bopp Home Page (mirror)
Near Live Comet Watching System
Ulysses Comet Watch Network
Comet Observation Home Page
S&T Online's Comet Page
Cometography web site
UAI comet section

Other astronomical images by Gianluca Masi

    Here you will find other astronomical images taken by Gianluca Masi about nebulae, clusters, galaxies, comets and the Moon.They have been taken with the instruments discussed above.

Minor Planets             Supernovae            Other images

Nebulae Clusters Galaxies Comets Moon


Other General Links

    You will find here indications about sources of astronomical information, weather forecasts, time and so on.


Send your name to Mars!

The Sky of the Month

Planetary and Sun data

Moon-phase Calendar

Constellation Mythology

Weather in Europe

Weather in the world


Astro Chat

Picture of the week

Astronomy News

Where's nightime?

Poetry in the night

Other links


Article "CCDs, small scopes and the urban amateur"
by G. Masi (Published on Sky and Telescope)

Story of the month

Click to subscribe to CCD-astrometry-photometry: mailing list
devoted to CCD astrometry and photometry


Sky and Telescope
Astro Web index
Nasa Home Page
Hubble Space Telescope
Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)
Digitized Sky Survey (DSS)
Center for Backyard Astrophysics
International Dark-Sky Association
American Association of Variable Star Observers
VSNET: Variable Stars, Novae, and Supernovae
Astrophysical Data System (Astronomical Journals and more)
Astronomical Headlines (The last discoveries)
Universal Time (US Naval Observatory)

Special thanks to: SBIG, Software Bisque and  Auriga.

For every question or comment:
write me!

You are the visitor number  since 30 April 1997.
I hope you will visit this site again in the future!

Graphics design: Gianluca Masi 1997
Copyright © 1997-2005
Best in 800x600 resolution mode