The Astronomical Observatory of Trieste (OATs) is one of the 17 Italian institutes that form the National Institute for Astrophysics (INAF). Besides being involved in frontier research in Astrophysics, OATs also carries out intense outreach and educational activities.

Active areas of current research include many of the main international astrophysics research fields: galaxies and cosmology, stars, stellar populations and Intergalactic Medium, the Sun and the solar system, astrobiology and exoplanets, relativistic and particle physics, new technologies and instrumentation.  The number of research staff involved in the single research fields varies and there is considerable involvement in cross-disciplinary research.

The development of research programmes largely depend on funding sources external to the Institute, and therefore most active research areas may alternate  in time as a result of successful applications to EU and international research calls.

OATs shares projects, facilities, activities, and students’ tutoring with the Department of Physics of the University of Trieste. In addition, OATs has established tight collaborations with Research Institutes located in the Trieste area such as SISSA, ICTP and INFN.

The core of  outreach and educational activities is the educational observatory of the dome dedicated to Margherita Hack which is  located at Basovizza Observing Station. Several telescopes are hosted at the station, among them is the 60cm Marcon telescope designed with the purpose of didactic observations for the general public. An interactive multimedia laboratory is also located in Basovizza. In addition to activities at the Observing Station, several didactic activities are carried out at schools, and  public conferences are organized.

24 technical administrative staff, 73 Researchers
Other facts and figures: 

 Project Funding (2017-2020): € 1.327.939,84

N° EU Projects (2017-2020):

FP7 : 2,  1 of which MARIE CURIE IIF Fellowship

H2020 : 18, 1 of which ERC St, 2 of which PEOPLE fellowships and 1 of which MSCA IIF Fellowship.

Other international projects: 9

Research Outputs (2020): 

N° of scientific production : 173 refereed publications

N° of scientific meetings & public events (2020): 16 scientific seminars, 8 of which were virtual, and 4 outreach conferences within NEXT, SHARPER, and ESOF.


The OATs main building (Castello Basevi) hosts the Director’s office, the Administrative Central offices, the Computing and IT Service, the library and offices of research staff,  meeting rooms and a video-conference room for a total surface of sqm 1,394.57. A separate building (Villa Bazzoni), located at a distance of about 100 meters, is shared with researchers of the Astronomy Section of the Department of Physics of the University of Trieste and covers a total of  sqm 933,75. Moreover, it includes the Basovizza Observing Station which totals up a surface of sqm 4,315.35.

N° of Laboratories: 1 electronics laboratory located at Basovizza Observing Station.

Research Infrastructures:  Esploracosmo; Specola Margherita Hack, all facilities dedicated to outreach purposes.

Libraries and n° of available publications/journals:  1 library, located in Castello Basevi (OATs main building) counts about 14,000 printed volumes including approximately 7,200 monographs and more than 280 journals, and a vast collection of publications and contributions from other national and international scientific institutes operating in the field of astronomy. A substantial collection of electronic resources (e.g. IEEE Xplore Digital Library, SPIE-DL, Optics Infobase, Springer Physics and Astronomy Collection, ASP Conference Series, IAU Proceedings, ect.) has been added to all this print heritage. OATs library is one of the libraries of the National Institute of Astrophysics  whose resources and activities can be consulted through the INAF Cultural Heritage Portal .  The library also participates in the ACNP and NILDE  library services.

Other structures: Computing center hosting LINUX cluster with about thousand cores + LINUX cluster for Planck data processing center + number of disc servers + servers of the IA2 Italian Astronomical Archives Service.

Fellowships, PhD Courses, Master, Summer School, etc.: 

During 2020, 7 scholarships and 24 research grants have been provided. Further, 8 PhD students have been supervised by OATs researchers (7 students from UNITS, 1 from UNIUD).

Information for international researchers and students: 

OATs central office helps international students with pre-arrival and arrival procedures.

OATs is also partner of the Welcome Office Friuli Venezia Giulia office that offers support to researchers arriving in Trieste.

International Partnerships: 

OATs is involved in many large International Collaborations.

Building on the expertise developed with the key-role participation in the ESA Planck mission, our Institute has now a strong involvement in the future ESA Euclid mission, holding the coordination of the Science Ground Segment, an intense participation to the activities of several Science Working Groups, also hosting the Italian Euclid Science Data Centre.

OATs researchers have been involved in the design, development and installation of the ESPRESSO spectrograph, currently in operations at ESO Paranal Observatory located in Chile.  ESPRESSO is the leading instrument in the world for exoplanets search and characterization and OATs researchers can now benefit of state-of-the-art observations in this field. OATs researcher have been moreover involved both in the upgrade of the FORS2 instrument for the ESO VLT - Very Large Telescope and in the design activities of the HIRES spectrograph for the forthcoming 39-meter ESO giant  telescope, named ELT - Extremely Large Telescope, in particular for the definition of the science cases, development of control electronics, control software and data analysis software.

Furthermore, OATs researchers have a growing interest in the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) project, with participation to the activities of pre-construction phase and definition of the key science goals. 

Contacts and Social Media/Network: 

Director: prof. Fabrizio Fiore

Simonetta Fabrizio 

Fabio Fontanot

Gabriella Schiulaz -


Central Office: Via G.B. Tiepolo 11, 34143 Trieste (Italy) - Tel. +39 040 3199 111

Basovizza Observing Station: Basovizza 302, 34149 Trieste (Italy) - Tel. 040 3199 111



Social media / social network: Referente dott. Massimo Ramella

Attività divulgative: Referente dott.ssa Giulia Iafrate