Astronomical Observatory Visnjan

Fran is the tech lead and main developer for the project of computerizing a large 1-meter (mirror diameter) 24 ton telescope at the astronomical observatory on Tičan, Croatia:

This is an ongoing multi-year effort, and a combination of professional and volunteering work.

The telescope has started working full-time in 2017, and in 2018 and 2019 it has been ranked 3rd worldwide by the number of confirmation and follow-up measurements of all newly discovered asteroids. This is of course due to the efforts of astronomers who perform astrometry almost every day, but Fran is proud to have enabled this from the technical side.

There are many different technologies that form the whole stack needed for the telescope operation. This includes:

  • Custom hardware and electrical wiring
  • Custom firmware for the hardware (based on Arduino)
  • Low-level CLI modules, written in Python, which communicate with hardware directly
  • API modules for each component, written in Flask/Python, RESTful
  • Server configuration and setup, running Debian Linux
  • ASCOM drivers for 3rd party Windows client software, written in C# and .Net framework, which connect to the API to control the hardware
  • AutoIt helper scripts for MaximDl 3rd party software
  • Solution for image storage
  • Image database and query engine (under development)
  • misc… etc… other…


Here are some images of the process over the years, in no particular order: