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The Institute

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Click here to download OAB Report in pdf format.

The Astronomical Observatory of Brera (OAB) is one of the top level research institutes in the world and it is the most ancient scientific institution in Milan. In 1946 it became part of the scientific institutions of the new born Italian Republic and since 2001 it has become part of the National Institute of Astrophysics (INAF).
The OAB was founded in 1764 by Luigi La Grange and Giuseppe Ruggiero Boscovich and since then it is located in the Palazzo Brera, in Milan. A second site, located at Villa San Rocco in Merate, Brianza, present since 1923 but active instrumentally since the end of 1926 - arrival of the first telescope in 1926 and first observation on 20 September 1926 - with inauguration on 30 May 1927.

We like to remember as main directors in our history Barnaba Oriani, Giovanni Virginio Schiaparelli and Giovanni Celoria. The OAB has been the workplace of lots of astronomers, one of them is the famous Margherita Hack, that worked in Merate from 1954 to 1964, when became full professor of the Institute of Physics of the Trieste University.

The Director, since January First 2021, is Roberto Della Ceca.

icona On Wednesday 7, 2012 a cerimony for the Civic Merit - Gold medal "Ambrogino d’Oro" - to our Institute by the city of Milano (read on Media Inaf). The same award in the 2011 by the city of Merate.

To know more about OAB history go to the italian web site OAB history from its astronomical instruments by M. Carpino and go to Brera Astronomical Museum


The two sites

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In the historical site of the Brera Astronomical Observatory (OAB) in Milano there is the precious historical archive, an ancient library with more than 30000 books and a modern library with more than a thousand books.
Two completely renewed domes, the Zagar dome and the Schiaperelli dome, are devoted to public conferences, press conferences, workshops, public visits and didactical laboratories.

Astronomical Museum

In the entrance corridor there is the museum of ancient astronomical instruments.
For all info about opening times, guided visits and events go to the link: Brera Astronomical Museum

immagine sede Merate

The site in Merate are provided with two historical domes open to the public for nighttime observations and to the schools for diurnal and nighttime guided visits and a multimedia room for public lectures, press conferences, conferences and didactic laboratories. On January 31, 2024 the multimedia room was dedicated to our colleague Tomaso M. Belloni who passed away unexpectedly on August 26, 2023. Moreover, in Merate there is a library of more than 6000 books and related subjects mostly of the twentieth century.

To know more about guided visits in OAB go to the web page guided visits by POE.


Staff & research

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The OAB staff counts more than a hundred people, divided in research staff, tecnical-scientific staff, administrative staff, short-term staff and students.
The research area of the astronomers of the OAB span a large range of fields from planets to stars, from black holes to galaxies, from gamma-ray bursts to cosmlogy. The main projects are collaborations with national and international institutes.
The OAB is active also in the tecnological research applied to the astronomical instrumentation and it is one of the world leaders in the developement of X-ray astronomy optics and, more in general, of light instrumentation for space missions.

Moreover, in the headquarters in Merate there is data analysis center of the Swift satellite.

In both the headquarters the research staff cooperate with Universties both for degree theses and for PhDs.

See the following links:
Triennial and Master’s Thesis
PhD Thesis



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The OAB is one of the first talian research institutes that, since 1999, are provided with staff specialized in science communication.
In both sites there is professional staff that not only organize visits to the institute for the public and the schools, but also organize didactic laboratories and multisubjects expositions also in collaboration with and with the advice of teachers and experts of the specific fiels.
These activities are supported by grants from ESA, NASA, MIUR, ASI and Fondazione Cariplo.

To find out more about the events organized by the OAB go to the page: Outreach & Education (choose in the menu on the left) by our office POE.