Observatory

Sharing the best of astronomy

Project of student astronomical observatory, carried by UPS in Space association, from Université Toulouse III – Paul Sabatier – France

Participative financing campaign beginnning by october 12th.

We are launching a campaign from october 12th to november 30th 2021 to collect at least 10,000€ to finance a part of our project. It will help us to complete the raise of funds to pay our main telescope.

  • Press release
  • Observatory press kit
  • Media library
  • Basics

    • Project: student astronomical observatory;
    • Goal: leading scientific surveys in collaboration with scientists and our partners;
    • Observatory management by UPS in Space student organisation, with the help of its partners;
    • For who: students, and pupils from our partner schools;
    • Equipment: 4 m diameter dome, 500 mm diameter telescope, two secondary telescopes, motorized frame able to carry a 150 kg payload;
    • Where: campus of Université Toulouse III – Paul Sabatier, Toulouse, France;
    • Opening date: 2023;
    • Participating financing: 10,000€ (observatory total budget : 250,000€).

    Where and when?

    The observatory will be set up at the top of a future building inside the campus of the university. The dome will be driven from our locale two stages below. The building will be set inside the campus, which reduce its lighting to decrease light pollution.

    The building will be finished at the end of 2022. We take a few months to learn to manipulate the equipment, to calibrate it and to test it. Finally, the observatory should open its doors in 2023.


    What science will we do?

    In France, it is quite difficult for a student to access and use a observatory, if he wants to study an object in the sky to complete a personal work, or for his course. We want to change that and make astronomy more accessible.

    Our semi-pro equipment will show performances hard to compete with in amateur science. Varied astronomy fields:

    • Exoplanet confirmation (transit method);
    • Asteroid, comet and kilonovae detection;
    • Astrophotography (sky objects imagery with special filters);
    • Study of sky objects composition;
    • Study of galaxies velocity, quasars, nebula by photometry or spectroscopy;
    • Expansion of the Universe;
    • Scientific mediation.




    Who will benefit from our observatory?

    The firsts to use our observatory will be students of Toulouse and the members of UPS in Space (the organization is open to everyone, student or not). The observatory will also be open to secondary school students, by partnership. The students not based in Toulouse may use our observatory anyhow, the equipment can be driven remotely. We want to let the youngest potential scientists use our telescope and study the sky. We want them to love space and to present their own studies of the sky!

    The project aims to give proximity between a curious mind and the equipment to satisfy it. You want to make science? We help you to do it!

    The observation sessions will be supervised by our members, and sometimes with the help of researchers and PhD student, especially from IRAP (Institut de Recherche en Astrophysique et Planétologie) and from OMP (Observatoire Midi-Pyrénées). These sessions will help students and young persons to gain skills compatible to their course, and to learn the scientific care.


    Which instrumentation?


    The cupola

    A motorized 3.90 m diameterdome fully automaticable to be synchronised with the telescope(Gardigiano – Venice – Italie via Gambato).




    The telescope

    Dall-Kirkham type with a 500 mm diameter and 3500 mm focal length (Adrian – Michigan – USA via PlaneWave Instruments).


    The main telescope will be joined by two other secondary telescopes, already aquired. The first will dedicated to astrophotography, and te last will be dedicated to solar observations.



    The mount

    10Micron GM4000 HPS II, payload of 150 kg (Caronno Pertusella – Varese – Italie).


    Total budget

    The complete budget is about 250,000€, including:

    • 70,000€ for the dome (taken care by the University);
    • 50,000€ for the telescope;
    • 25,000€ for the mount.

    The remaining budget is for secondary payloads, imagery, automatization, software and accessory equipment. We hope to get 10,000€ by participative financing to cover the end of the purchase of the main telescope. The project is 60% financed!

    The project has already many partners: local autorities, insitutions, laboratories, foudations… UPS in Space keep asking grants from new partners.


    Are we ready?

    Is a student amateur astronomers organisation ready to manage this structure? Yes, we are! The association management is rigorous and the club is getting ready to use the observatory. By a partnership between UPS in Space, the university and OMP, all the members who will use the telescope will be trained at the Observatoire du Pic du Midi de Bigorre by professional astronomers and technicians. Furthermore, the dome is designed to be easy-used. Transfer books and rules and regulations will be established.


    Our institutional partners





    Our scientific partners




    Our supports


    Frédérique Vidal, French Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation;

    Gabriel Attal, French Government spokesperson;

    Sébastien Nadot, Member of the 10th district of Haute-Garonne;

    Claude Raynal, Senator for Haute-Garonne;

    Jean-Luc Moudenc, Mayor of Toulouse;

    Jean-Pierre Vinel, University Toulouse III – Paul Sabatier former President;

    Jean-Baptiste Desbois, Cité de l’Espace of Toulouse CEO;

    Frank De Winne, Head of the European Astronaut Center (EAC) from the European Space Agency (ESA).