Gianluca Masi is an Italian astrophysicist and founder of the Virtual Telescope project (part of Bellatrix Astronomical Observatory), consisting in several robotic telescopes, remotely available in real-time over the Internet. Through this system, real-time, online observing sessions are performed, sharing the universe with the world. More than 1 million individuals each year observe the sky through the Virtual Telescope. Gian started his interest in astronomy at childhood, later becoming a professional astronomer, earning a PhD in astronomy in 2006. At the same time, he devoted a lot of efforts to science communication. The asteroid (21795) is named “Masi” in his honor.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.