Star’s Terrace of Mount Bondone astronomical observatory
The “Star’s Terrace of Mount Bondone” astronomical observatory is located in the Viote basin of Mount Bondone, an ideal place for observing the starry sky near the city of Trento (Italy). The observatory is equipped with powerful telescopes (the main one is a Newtonian reflector with a diameter of 80 cm) which, thanks to the guidance of expert operators, become privileged instruments to discovery the night and day sky. The astronomical observations are accompanied by music concerts, scientific theater animations, shows, activities for children, multicultural events. The observatory looks like a large dome in polished steel, which creates a surprising mirror effect: the day and night panorama are reflected on the dome, like a metaphor of the relationship between heaven and earth, as old as humanity. Light pollution is limited and the whole area is protected by a regional light pollution law.
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Viote del Monte Bondone – 38123 Trento - Italy
Latitude 46° 01‘ 09“ N
Longitude 11° 02‘ 22“ E
Altitude 1515 m.
The “Star’s Terrace of Mount Bondone” astronomical observatory is located in the Viote basin of Mount Bondone, an ideal place for observing the starry sky near the city of Trento. The observatory is equipped with powerful telescopes (the main one is a Newtonian reflector with a diameter of 80 cm) which, thanks to the guidance of expert operators, become privileged instruments to discovery the night and day sky. The astronomical observations are accompanied by music concerts, scientific theater animations, shows, activities for children, multicultural events.
The observatory looks like a large dome in polished steel, which creates a surprising mirror effect: the day and night panorama are reflected on the dome, like a metaphor of the relationship between heaven and earth, as old as humanity.
Light pollution is limited and the whole area is protected by a regional light pollution law.
The Mount Bondone presents itself as an ideal place for slow tourism, with a low ecological footprint, accessible to all: a "mountain of well-being", "mountain of sport", "reserve of nature", "mountain in the plural".
Newtonian Telescope 80 cm diameter
Computerized telescope in altazimuth mount, in modified newtonian configuration with 80 cm diameter main mirror, 20 cm diameter secondary mirror and 15 cm diameter tertiary mirror. The telescope has a zenith height of 2 meters and a total weight of 200 kg and is designed for both visual observation and with the use of video cameras.
Schmidt Cassegrain telescope 28 cm diameter
Schmidt Cassegrain telescope in altazimuth configuration of 28 cm diameter, mainly used for visual observation
Schmidt Cassegrain telescope 20 cm diameter
Schmidt Cassegrain telescope in altazimuth configuration of 20 cm diametr mainly used for visual observation
Refractor telescope 10 cm diameter
The 10 cm refractor telescope is used mainly during activities with children
H-alfa refractor telescope 10 cm diameter
The H alpha refractor telescope is used for observing the Sun in the H alpha hydrogen line (6563 angstroms) during diurnal observations. The fine tuning of the wavelength allows to observe very well both the protuberances and the faculae on the solar surface.
Amateur astronomers have frequented Monte Bondone for many years for their observations and research: the mountain is located a few kilometers from the city, has a significant altitude and still enjoys a night sky with limited light pollution, even if evident, on the North-East horizon, due to the presence of the city of Trento and neighboring little towns. At the end of the 90s MUSE developed the idea of sharing these "nocturnal moments" in the high mountains with a wider audience, creating a calendar of activities dedicated to astronomical observation. A suitable place for the stationing of the telescopes was soon identified: an old casemate lay right in the Viote basin of Monte Bondone, presenting itself as an artifact made entirely of reinforced concrete which, in some points, was over a meter and a half thick, with a width of 20 meters and a length of 13 meters. It was used until the 1970s for military target shooting exercises which employed some cannons placed inside the structure and a Sherman tank positioned at the west entrance of the building to hit the mobile shapes fixed on trolleys pulled by a small engine that moved on a railway.
Thanks to the work of the MUSE – Science Musem of Trento and the Trento and Sopramonte Forestry Company, with the collaboration of the Trentino Amateur Astronomers Association, this old building was renovated, maintaining as far as possible the peculiar construction characteristics, transforming it into a place for astronomical observation.
Thus the Terrace of the Stars (Terrazza delle Stelle) of Monte Bondone, the territorial section of MUSE was inaugurated in August 2001 under an auspicious shower of shooting stars. The Alpine Botanical Garden, another historic section of the same museum, is nearto the Stars Terrace: they offer togheter a range of top-level cultural activities on the mountain of Trento.
Stars Terrace is managed by MUSE and offers a full year-round calendar of events dedicated to the public and schools: night and day observations of the sky, music and theater performances, excursions in the moonlight, activities for families and children, school offers suitable for all ages. The dark and clear sky of the high mountain allows you to use powerful telescopes to observe in depth the many wonders of the firmament: constellations and planets, colored double stars and clusters, delicate nebulae and imperceptible galaxies. Light pollution is limited and allows you to observe objects otherwise invisible from the city: the Milky Way is always majestic in all seasons and there are thousands of stars visible to the naked eye. With different types of telescopes and tools suitable for both adults and younger audiences, the most striking celestial bodies are reviewed: starting with the Moon and moving on to the planets, observed in great detail thanks to digital technologies. Special cameras are connected to telescopes show the most evanescent characteristics of these objects with very high resolution, which can escape even careful observation. Then, during the day, with special instruments and filters, the spectacular face of the Sun, our star, can be observed in complete safety: majestic protuberances and intricate spots appear as if by magic to our eyes, with a quantity of details that leaves you breathless.
The program activity has many collaborations with other public autorities, cultural associations and local producers.
State of conservation
Main threats or potential threats
The main threat to the observatory is the increased light pollution
The province of Trento has issued a law for the prevention of light pollution in force since 2016.
The text of law can be found at
The implementing regulation can be found at
Bibliography (books and published articles)
Science and architecture in the MUSE – Idesia book – ISBN 9788856100269
Links to external sites
Back to the Astronomical Heritage - Places connected to the Sky
Return to the Places connected to the Sky map/list page.
About the author
Christian lives in Trento (Italy)