Gianluca Masi

Comet NEOWISE and globular star cluster M53

Comet NEOWISE is now heading out of the inner solar system. It probably can’t be seen with the eye now, although large binoculars can still pick it up. Here’s a beautiful telescopic image of the comet, near the globular star cluster M53.

A long exposure photo of a star field. The asteroid, which is moving in front of the stars, appears as a dot. An arrow points to it.

Small asteroid passed extremely close July 28

The Mt. Lemmon survey discovered the asteroid on July 26. It was labeled near-Earth asteroid 2020 OY4. The asteroid then passed at about 11% of the moon’s distance early in the day on July 28. The Virtual Telescope Project in Rome captured its image.

The shattered heart of comet C/2019 Y4 ATLAS

Gianluca Masi in Rome wrote: “Comet C/2019 Y4 ATLAS, the one we were hoping to see putting on a great show, has shattered both its and our hearts. Its nucleus disintegrated and Saturday night I could see 3, possibly 4, main fragments.”

Time-exposure image shows streaks of stars; the asteroid, which is being tracked by the telescope, appears as a point.

Meet 2020 AV2, the 1st asteroid entirely within the orbit of Venus

It’s difficult to see objects whose orbits are within that of Venus, because those objects always stay near the sun in our sky. Now, though, astronomers have spotted one!

Starry streaks, aka "star trails," can be seen in this long-exposure photo. The asteroid meanwhile appears as a single point, because it is so near us, and because the telescope is tracking the asteroid, not the stars.

Asteroid to sweep between moon and Earth tonight: How to watch online

Gianluca Masi of the Virtual Telescope Project in Rome said he just managed to capture an image of a small asteroid – labeled 2019 UB8 – coming very close on October 29, at about half the moon’s distance. Details here.

"Poster" for International Observe the Moon NIght 2019, showing the moon above Rome's skyline.

International Observe the Moon Night is October 5

International Observe the Moon Night is a worldwide celebration of lunar science and exploration, celestial observation, and our cultural and personal connections to the moon. In 2019, it comes on October 5. Here’s how to join in.

Watch online, as asteroid 2018 RC sweeps past

Asteroid 2018 RC will sweep past at about half the moon’s distance during the night of September 8, according to clocks in the Americas. Learn how to see it online.

8 planets in 1 night, from Rome

“I have been thinking for decades about imaging 8 planets of our solar system in 1 night, from sunset to dawn. I imaged all of them from Rome, above the amazing monuments of the Eternal City.”

Moon and Mercury over Rome last night

The moon and Mercury – innermost planet of our solar system – had a great meeting these past hours. Here, Gianluca Masi of the Virtual Telescope Project presents some shots capturing this exclusive show, hanging over the skyline of Rome.

Close pass from asteroid 2017 GM!

Asteroid 2017 GM is one of the 10 closest asteroids known so far to sweep past Earth, and then keep going. At its closest, it was less than 1/20th of the moon’s mean distance.