News directory

24.10.2018 (IEEC)

10 years of operations of the Montsec Astronomical Observatory

This October 24th, 2018, it is 10 years since the inauguration of the Montsec Astronomical Observatory (OAdM), located in Sant Esteve de la Sarga (Lleida, Catalunya). The scientific facilities of the OAdM have yielded important findings in the field of exoplanets, supernovae or solar system research. Moreover, they have contributed to the tracking of satellites and the monitoring of the atmospheric quality in the Montsec area. Since 2009, the OAdM is managed by the Institute of Space Studies of Catalonia (IEEC).

The origins of the project of placing an astronomical observatory at the Montsec emerged in the early 90’s, being the biochemist from Lleida, Joan Oró, together with the foundation that bears his name among the main ideologists. The main equipment of the OAdM began operations in 2008, and the first telescopes installed have been fully operational since 2010. Joan Oró is the name given to that first telescope, which is still one of the most technologically advanced in the world.

Ten years after its inauguration, the Montsec Astronomical Observatory has become a key research infrastructure in the Catalan network. Currently, the observatory has three more astronomical facilities: the Fabra-ROA Montsec telescope, which started operations in 2010 and is jointly managed by the Reial Acadèmia de Ciències i Arts de Barcelona and the Real Observatorio de la Armada; the XO-Montsec telescope, installed in 2012 by the Space Telescope Science Institute (NASA) and currently owned by the IEEC; and an all-sky camera installed by the IEEC for the detection and monitoring of meteors. Also, the observatory hosts an automatic station of the Servei Meteorològic de Catalunya, an environmental quality measurement station of the XVPCA network (Institut de Diagnosi Ambiental I Estudis de l’Aigua – CSIC) and several antennas for low orbit satellites communications installed and managed by the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya and the IEEC.