HistoryMay 27, 2020
I shared with my son Marco, for many years, the passion for astronomy and astrophotography. In the years, he has been an invaluable support, especially for the heavier aspects of this hobby. We spent together countless days touring around Italy, looking for dark sites where to take our photographs. A turning point in my astrophotography life was in 2011, when my son was employed, as engineer, at the Air and Space Division of Leonardo in Milan.
For me, remained alone, my Losmandy G11 was too heavy to move around and my poor back suffered a lot the missing of my younger pard help. Therefore I started my research for a lighter and affordable but still reliable mount, to replace the heavy G11. During a visit to an astronomy shop in Rome, I was attracted by a shining, Ferrari red, equatorial mount I never saw before. It was beautiful, light and, as I verified after, very reliable. I, at first glance, felt in love with her (in Italian mount is a feminine name!) and ordered one Avalon Instruments Linear Fast Reverse.
A week after I had the privilege to meet Luciano Dal Sasso, the owner of the Avalon Instruments, when he came to the shop to deliver the mount personally to me.
This was the beginning of a profound friendship that last to date and will continue forever. I have the fortune to live few kilometres away from Avalon Instruments factory, in Aprilia, just south of Rome and, therefore, I started to visit Luciano, at the premises where he got an observatory, and (this is the starting of my love with Merlino) where, on a side of the main observatory, there was a small personal one, build with plywood: the very preliminary prototype of Merlino.
At that time I retired from work and returned the owner of my time. Therefore, I increased the frequency of my visits to the Avalon Instrument observatory, that became soon the host of my Linear. With her we tested the first versions of the StarGO control system right then under development to replace the Skywatcher Synscan, until then, mounted on the first Avalon Instrument mounts (including my Linear). In parallel, the Merlino prototype was growing up and after a couple of year it became mature to be built on order and commercialised.
In 2015 the first Merlino unit was sold to two friends, to be installed at the just born La Svolta Astrocamp, in Tuscany. Before the installation, one of them retired from the purchase and I had the opportunity to replace him in the venture with Alessandro Milani, the other buyer, that I have already mentioned in the Home page. The new born observatory was named Avogadro Observatory.
Few months later Luciano decided to install, for personal use, a second Merlino, on the side of the Avogadro. He asked to me to provide the main telescope and the photographic setup. I provided a Takahashi FSQ 106 ED, an ATIK 11000 CCD and a Starlight Xpress Lodestar, becoming partner of Luciano in the second Merlino.
After a couple of year, Alessandro retired from our partnership and I, acquiring his quote, became the only owner of the Avogadro Observatory and of the related web site.
In that period I and Luciano decided to extend the name Avogadro to include also the second Merlino. Therefore this site show the works produced by the two La Svolta Astrocamp Merlinos that constitute now the new Avogadro Observatory.
Recently I started to update the original site but, as a novice web developer, I was capable to completely cancel it without any possibility of recovering. After few days of despair I decided to build, with the contribution of my son, a completely new site using also many of the pictures saved from the old site. The result of : the site you are reading now!