Tenerife’s fire

Last night the fire in the Island reached the Observatory. As we hear from the Director of IAC, Rafael Rebolo, the situation is not as dire as could have been without measures, but still not completely under control.

Themis webcam on the night of Aug. 20th 2023.

Dear CCI members and User Institutions

We have managed to prevent damage to the OT facilities by the Tenerife
fire. Yesterday, Sunday, August 20, at approximately 3:00 p.m., the fire
that is devastating Tenerife entered the Teide Observatory through the
area that separates us from the Meteorological Observatory. The fire
checkpoints that had been deployed in the OT in anticipation of what
could happen reacted immediately and although the fire progressed
rapidly towards Themis and Stella, between them and the intervention of
helicopters it was possible to avoid damage to these research
facilities. Then the fire surrounded the observatory on the east and
south front, crossing the road that connects us with the meteorological
station and moving towards our main entrance around 9:00 p.m. The action
throughout the night of the fire services, firefighters and brigades
that were reinforced by the Military Emergency Unit and other resources
has managed to prevent the fire from damaging our telescopes.

I want to thank all the personnel of the firefighting services for their
total dedication, generosity and extreme professionalism that has
managed to save our facilities from the fire and, of course, the
authorities for their commitment to protect our Observatory, which are a
Canarian, national and international research facility.

The fire in Tenerife is not yet under control so we cannot fully exclude
any further problems. I will keep you informed on progress with the
extinction activities. With the hope that these circumstances do not
happen again and that the fire in Tenerife does not cause further damage
to our beloved island, we express our solidarity with all Tenerife
affected people in these hard times.

all the best

Rafael Rebolo




INAF and Universidad Tecnica Federico Santa Maria (UTFSM) of Valparaiso for the development of the control software of ASTRI in ACS

UTFSM room with guests. Massimo Turatto is the last to the right of the table


On October 25th, 2022, in Valparaiso (Chile), the kick-off meeting of the new agreement between INAF and the Federico Santa Maria Technical University (UTSFM) has taken place. The agreement is related to the production of the ASTRI Mini-Array control software. Massimo Turatto, INAF researcher and now Italian scientific attaché in Chile, and various Chilean colleagues including Juan Yuz, Rector of the University were present. Other colleagues, including ASTRI Principal Investigator, Giovanni Pareschi, and ASTRI Project Manager Salvatore Scuderi, were connected remotely.

The agreement expands the international partnership of the ASTRI project, which is now in the executive phase, with the first telescope mounted in Tenerife and two others to be delivered in the coming months. Furthermore, the other six telescopes and the detection chambers are now in production. This is therefore the time to prepare the control system of the various telescopes, at the center of which is the control software. Particular standards, based on the Alma Common Software (ACS) IT infrastructure, developed precisely for the management of arrays of telescopes such as in ALMA, have to be followed.

As pointed out by Mauricio Araya, of the Astroinformatics section at the UTFSM and Director of the project for the control software of ASTRI, the Chilean group has a solid specific know-how in the field of control systems for astronomical projects in the ACS environment. In this field, UTFSM has twenty years of experience in Chile, with a legacy of successes including involvement in international projects, such as those led by ESO (European Southern Observatory), or by AUI (Associated Universities, Inc., USA, who manages the American share of ALMA). “The ASTRI project”, adds Araya, “is not in Chile, and therefore if we have been called to this task it is not because we are nearby, but because we know the system that ASTRI will have to use”.

“Working with ASTRI will open a new window because there is a need and the will to do it. But this is only the beginning of a new collaboration between our countries that we hope will last”, says Turatto.

The goals of the ASTRI control software

ASTRI – Mini-Array is now connected to the world!

Caption: Salvatore Scuderi, Alessandro Tacchini, Giuseppe Malaspina, Marcello Lodi, Fulvio Gianotti, Christine Grivel with the monolith m-ICT connected to the world. (Credits: Giuseppe Malaspina)

May 2022 –

This last April, in Izana in Tenerife (Canary Islands, Spain), at the astronomical site of the Teide Observatory, an important result was achieved towards the installation of the ASTRI Mini-Array. Thanks to a coordinated effort of personnel from INAF, the Fundacion Galileo Galilei, the Temis / CNRS Observatory and with the support of IAC (Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias), the m-ICT was born. The m-ICT is the mini Information and Communication Technology infrastructure necessary for the management of ASTRI during the first stages of installation.

In fact, every observing facility needs IT support both for operating the instruments on site and to handle the remote connections. This result was also achieved with the precious collaboration of local firms.

The joint effort made it possible to move from the initial paper sketches to a well-coded project and, finally, to this small, somewhat noisy monolith that is the m-ICT.

The m-ICT consists of various parts: the control system of the telescopes, the data acquisition system, which also allows the temporary storage of the acquired data, the monitoring of both the acquisition process and the status of the telescopes, the network that connects the telescopes to the site but also the connection with the outside world via Internet, and finally the temporal characterization system of the data which must assign a label to each datum with the precise indication of the instant of acquisition.

As Fulvio Gianotti, ICT manager for ASTRI on-site recalls: “m-ICT represents a temporary system in a reduced version, suitable for supporting the first phases of the program and in particular the installation of the first 3 telescopes before the final ICT is ready.” The m-ICT was installed in the premises of the CNRS Themis Solar Observatory, also intended to house the control room of ASTRI.

For technical experts, the system operation diagram is described in this figure:

Lo schema dei collegamenti del m-ICT


The existence of this small data center has already made it possible to create the first network connection of what will be the public network of ASTRI: astrima.iac.es. With this it will be possible to remotely control the observatory through sophisticated interfaces and transfer data to Italy. For the more curious of you, it is possible to connect to the network at the address: http://www.astrima.iac.es. For now, m-ICT will answer you by presenting some slides that tell about its birth!


Con la collaborazione di Fulvio Gianotti

ASTRI is an INAF gamma-ray experiment with the collaboration of other international institutions (P.I. G. Pareschi) with the aim of observing the gamma ray sky from a few to hundreds of TeV by building a Mini-Array of 9 telescopes in Tenerife (Canarie, Spain – thanks to the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canaria, IAC hospitality). The Mini-Array telescopes are similar to those that will be constructed for the CTA project in the south.

Social: Facebook ASTRIgamma; Instagram @astrigamma

ASTRI Mini-Array and CTA: four hundred new “tiles” from Media Lario


Fotografia di uno specchio con alcuni dei protagonisti di ASTRI Mini-Array

In the image above: a completed mirror with some team people: from left to right, Giovanni Pareschi (ASTRI Mini-Array Project PI), Salvatore Scuderi (Program Manager) and Nicola La palombara (Product Assurance Manager). Credit: Inaf Brera.
Image information: shooted with a Manfrotto 055XPROB tripod and Arca-Swiss d4 geared pan FlipLock head, UV filter.
Lighting: two LED Walimex PRO Nova 900 Plus Daylight panels.

February 2022 – Under a contract awarded by the INAF Astronomical Observatory of Brera, Media Lario has completed the production of the first block of mirrors for the ASTRI Mini-Array telescopes and for the medium-sized telescopes of the Cherenkov Telescope Array.

Of the four hundred hexagonal panels, two hundred will be used to construct the large primary mirrors of the nine ASTRI Mini-Array telescopes, the gamma-ray astronomy facility under construction at the Teide Observatory (Tenerife) in the Canary Islands.

The other two hundred will form the reflecting surface of two of the nine medium-sized telescopes (Medium Size Telescopes, MSTs) of the Cherenkov Telescope Array (Cta), which will be installed at the La Palma Observatory, the Northern site of CTA, also in the Canary Islands.

The production of the hexagonal mirrors is described in an article published today in the Journal of Astronomical Telescopes, Instruments, and System.

With the delivery of the segments and the next installation on the respective telescopes, the National Institute of Astrophysics (INAF) adds another important “tile” to the construction of the future large arrays of Cherenkov telescopes for the very high energies.

«The technology of making Cherenkov mirrors based on cold glass replica was developed in 2006 thanks to the very close and fruitful collaboration between researchers and technicians from INAF and Media Lario and has now become the reference technology for CTA» underlines Giovanni Pareschi, Principal Investigator of the ASTRI Mini-Array project. «With this activity we have shown how the production can be industrialized while at the same time maintaining the quality high. This is a great success of the Italian technical and scientific community».

A mirror in the laboratory

The laboratory with one of the hexagonal panel just completed.

Scientific article:Mirror production for the Cherenkov telescopes of the ASTRI mini-array and the MST project for the Cherenkov Telescope Array” by Nicola La Palombara, Giorgia Sironi, Enrico Giro, Salvatore Scuderi, Rodolfo Canestrari, Simone Iovenitti, Markus Garczarczyk, Maria Krause, Sebastian Diebold, Rachele Millul, Fabio Marioni, Nadia Missaglia, Matteo Redaelli, Giuseppe Valsecchi, Fabio Zocchi, Adelfio Zanoni and Giovanni Pareschi, Journal of Astronomical Telescopes, Instruments, and Systems, 2022.

Article on MediaINAF: Quattrocento specchi per Astri e Cta

ASTRI is a INAF gamma ray experiment with the collaboration of other international institutions (P.I. G. Pareschi) with the aim of observing the gamma ray sky from a few to hundreds of Tev by building a Mini-Array of 9 telescopes in Tenerife (Canarie, Spain – thanks to the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canaria, IAC hospitality). The Mini-Array telescopes are similar to those that will be constructed for the CTA project in the south.

Social: Facebook ASTRIgamma; Instagram @astrigamma

In collaboration with Giuseppe Fiasconaro.

A new eye for ASTRI-HORN

On 25th November 2021, the new camera was installed on the ASTRI-Horn prototype telescope at the Serra la Nave Observatory. The deep refurbishment of the instrument and the new aluminization of the mirror put the telescope back into focus. It will be used also to test the new ASTRI Mini-Array cameras and, possibily, also those of CTA, in the future.

Meet a few of the leading figures: Giuseppe Sottile, Osvaldo Catalano and Giuseppe Leto, interviewed by Giuseppe Fiasconaro with the collaboration of MediaINAF, describe each their point of view:

One photon, two photons …

A new observational technique to identify the finest details of celestial sources: after long nights of experiments, stellar intensity interferometry has given its first results.

With a base between the two telescopes on the Asiago plateau of almost 4 kilometers, Luca Zampieri and collaborators target the brightest stars with instruments capable of counting single optical photons and of tagging their arrival time with the precision of the order of a few hundred picoseconds (one ten-billionth of a second).

If applied to ASTRI Mini-Array, this technique could give even more spectacular results.

Asiago upland: the telescopes used in the experiment

Asiago upland: the telescopes used in the experiment


Read the details both in the article published by the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: “Stellar intensity interferometry of Vega in photon counting mode”, by Luca Zampieri, Giampiero Naletto, Aleksandr Burtovoi, Michele Fiori and Cesare Barbieri and in the in-depth study published by MediaINAF.

Contract signed for ASTRI Mini-Array cameras

On July, 13th 2021 at INAF-IASF in Palermo, the contract for the production of the ASTRI Mini-Array cameras has been signed by the ASTRI PI Giovanni Pareschi and delegates for choseon companies – CAEN spa and EIE group in addition to other smaller companies. The cameras will be fitted to the 9 ASTRI Mini-Array telescopes in Tenerife (Canary Islands, Spain). Two extra cameras will serve for tests and substitutions.

Look at some of the highlights and comments in the video realized by Giuseppe Fiasconaro together with MediaInaf (in Italian):

Search for the most energetic photon – Gamma rays open a window

For the first time, the Gamma-ray sky at PeV energies was opened to observations. The Chinese experiment Lhaaso (Large High Altitude Air Shower Observatory), after almost a year of observations, found 12 cosmic accelerators in our Galaxy. The recorded photon energy exceeds the “psychological threshold” of the 1 PeV (Petaelettronvolt = 10^15 eV, that is, a quadrillion of electronvolt, or ~1000 erg), reaching the value of 1.4 PeV. The first results, published a few days ago in Nature, are a resounding testimony of the potential of this research infrastructure.

LHAASO sky map at energies above 100 TeV. The circles indicate the positions of known very-high-energy γ-ray sources. Credits: LHAASO

Until now it was thought that very few celestial objects could emit Gamma-ray radiation at such extreme energies.” explains Martina Cardillo of INAF. “The sources must in fact be able to accelerate particles to energies of 1 PeV (hence the name PeVatrons), that is energies up to 100 times greater than those reached by the most powerful accelerators ever built on Earth. The Lhaaso experiment has shown that they are not rare.

The importance of finding these accelerators lies in the fact that we know that the spectrum of Galactic cosmic rays extends at least to the energies of the PeV. Direct observation of sources where such particles are present can then help researchers to identify which astrophysical phenomena are capable of accelerating particles so efficiently. The candidate sources proposed so far are supernova remnants, “pulsar wind nebulae” and young stellar associations. In fact, some of these objects are found in the uncertainty regions of the Lhaaso sources.

Lhaaso is the most important experiment for the study of galactic cosmic rays currently underway. It can study both charged particles (determining their energy distribution, chemical composition and anisotropy with an unprecedented resolution) and photons from the most disparate galactic and extra-galactic sources.

Detection of an astonishing 1.4 PeV Gamma-ray emission from the Cygnus Cocoon not only makes the last unexplored window of the electromagnetic spectrum experimentally accessible, but also unquestionably demonstrates the existence of the PeVatrons.” adds Giuseppe di Sciascio of INFN, and visiting professor of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The current paradigm that wants the supernova remnants responsible for the production and acceleration of most galactic cosmic rays is undermined. In fact, the Cygnus Cocoon is a superbubble, containing young and massive stars (newly formed OB2 star associations), sources of cosmic rays alternative to supernova remnants.

These northern hemisphere sources are a perfect target for observation with the Cherenkov telescopes of the ASTRI Mini-Array, that will study the emission and morphology of the sources in depth and will improve on the identification of the PeV emission counterparts.

In fact, both the ASTRI Mini-Array and the future CTA, currently under construction by an international collaboration of which INAF is one of the main partners, will have a better angular resolution than Lhaaso and will allow us to clearly pinpoint the object responsible for the PeV emissions. Observations in the next years will also make it possible the identification of the different classes of cosmic ray sources as a function of their energy.

These results are crucial also for the detection of astrophysical neutrinos. If protons (i.e. an adronic mechanisms) are involved in the production of such energetic photons, at least the three brightest sources could be, in fact, within range of the neutrino detectors currently in operation or under design” concludes Giuseppe di Sciascio.

Articolo scientifico: Ultrahigh-energy photons up to 1.4 petaelectronvolts from 12 γ-ray Galactic sources Cao et al. 2021, Nature

LHAASO (PI Zhen Cao) is a complex instrument: at 4410 m it is one of the instruments at higher altitude ever built: the lower thickness of atmosphere allows “a little better” view of the sky, in particular in some energy bands. Its size (> 2 Km), the detector density for measuring the different secondary components of cosmic radiation and its sensitivity, make it the undisputed protagonist to finally solve the major problems still open in the physics of galactic cosmic rays, more than a century after their discovery.

ASTRI  (P.I. G. Pareschi) is a Gamma-ray experiment led by INAF with the collaboration of other international partners with the aim of observing the Gamma-ray sky from a few to hundreds of TeV by building a Mini-Array of 9 telescopes in Tenerife (Canary Islands, Spain – thanks to the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canaria, IAC hospitality). The Mini-Array telescopes are similar to those that will be constructed for the CTA project in the south.

Social: Facebook ASTRIgamma; Instagram @astrigamma

Translation by Giuseppe Fiasconaro and Anna Wolter

Marco Tavani is the new Inaf President.

October, 12 2020 – After the sudden and very sad departure away of Nichi d’Amico on 16 September, the Italian Government appointed Marco Tavani as the new Inaf President.

Marco spent his career as scientist in the field of relativistic astrophysics (obtaining many outstanding results), and is the PI of the AGILE mission.

To Marco, who is member of the ASTRI collaboration, go our congratulations and wishes for his work.

Go to the dedicated INAF web page: Marco Tavani is the new Inaf President

A great loss for Astronomy

September, 15 2020 – Dear all,

Nichi d’Amico, President of the National Institute of Astrophysics, passed away.
We mourn the loss for Astronomy of a researcher of great value and rigor, and for Italy in particular of a competent, tenacious and honest person.

The ASTRI community owes him his continuous support.

“Nichi was a President forthcoming to every person. This is why so many had learned to love him.”

Comments in grief Giovanni Pareschi, ASTRI PI.

We gather around our President’s family aware of the void he left, to continue our projects with the help of his memory.

Image caption: Nichi d’Amico, on the left, with Rafael Rebolo of IAC for the ASTRI Mini-Array construction in Tenerife.