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"Carta del Cielo" Telescope Achievements to be Celebrated
Carta del Cielo telescope, Tonantzintla, Puebla. Photo: Rogelio Ajuria, Taller de Astronomia Carta del Cielo A.C.

MEXICO CITY.- Activities linked to astronomy to take place in archaeological zones, public plazas, parks and cultural centers in our country, will celebrate Mexico participation in the creation of Carta del Cielo, (Sky Chart) in 1887, using a series of firmament photographs that helped determining the position of constellations.

At the 2nd Night of Stars to take place in April 17th 2010, this success will be commemorated: Amedee Ernest Mouchez, then director of Paris Observatory summoned the Astronomic International Congress, and conceived a 22,000 photographs project to chart the sky.

In late 19th century sky photography had achieved great advances in countries like France, England and the United States. Mexican Teodoro Quintana accomplished to take snaps of the Moon with a telescope and sent them to the congress.

His work impacted scientists and the director of the Paris Observatory invited Mexican government to be part of the project that was to create an atlas of the firmament to study stars that cannot be seen with the naked eye.

Mexican compromised to capture images of magnitude 11 stars, more luminous, to 14 (less brilliant), covering the area between -10 and -16 degrees of declination, gathering 1,260 photographs captured after the acquisition of the “Carta del Cielo” telescope in 1889.

Results’ report ought to have Cartesian measurements, constants to transform them into celestial dimensions, exposure time of each picture, atmospheric state, date, and visibility conditions.

French and Mexican governments established important cooperation relations to create Carta del Cielo, which led to important astronomic discoveries, leaving its imprint in science.

A Victorian Telescope
Due to quality needed to take the photographs, Mexico required a new astronomic instrument; Jose Angel Anguiano, then director of the National Astronomic Observatory, asked President Porfirio Diaz to authorize its acquisition.

The Carta del Cielo telescope was bought by Diaz government in 1889, thanks to the excellent results achieved by Quintana, Guillermo Beltran y Puga and Jose Maria Chacon obtained with the “Gran Ecuatorial” telescope.

“Carta del Cielo” was manufactured by Grubb Telescope Company at Dublin, Ireland, considered one of the best telescope makers in the world. It still operates in perfect conditions at Tonantzintla Observatory, Puebla.

Mexico | "Carta del Cielo" | Amedee Ernest Mouchez |

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