Cesar Brollo (b. 1967) developed an interest in astronomy during his youth while following the Apollo Moon exploration program, watching Carl Sagan's Cosmos television series, and delving into literature about the great observatories. During his teenage years, he became particularly captivated by the fabrication and testing of optics. While attending technical high school, he also pursued studies in ophthalmic optics.
The turning point in Cesar's astronomical journey came when he borrowed a friend's Newtonian telescope, and accidentally broke the six-inch primary mirror. In a commitment to his friend, he pledged to create a new mirror. Employing improved techniques learned from reading Jean Texereau's classic book, "How to Make a Telescope," Brollo successfully crafted and tested a new 6-inch primary mirror through grinding and polishing. The first light was observed on the double star Rigel Kentaurus. This experience solidified his interest in optical instruments, with a particular focus on astronomical telescopes.
While still attending school, Cesar visited the Universidad de la Plata Astronomy Optics Laboratory, where he engaged in crafting numerous optical mirrors and deepened his understanding of astronomical observations. Immersed in the wealth of astronomy books housed in the university library, he, like many young individuals, pondered about the possibilities of space travel and the life of an astronaut.
Upon completing his technical school education, Brollo served in the Engineering Army branch of the military from 1985 to 1986, focusing on the care and repair of the latest optical instruments. Following his military service, Cesar shifted his focus to infrared laser communications and pursued studies at the Universidad Technologica Nacional (UTN), majoring in optics fabrication. In 1992, he commenced work at the family-owned business, Optica Saracco, specializing in ophthalmological optics. Noticing the potential for growth in the telescope sector, he worked to enhance the business, expanding the telescope showroom and implementing educational initiatives such as star parties and an after-sales service program. Through these efforts, Cesar significantly contributed to transforming Optica Saracco into one of the largest and most reputable telescope retailers in South America.
In the 1990s, Cesar Brollo initiated the organization of some of Argentina's inaugural star parties. As astronomy clubs began to take shape, Optica Saracco transitioned into a supportive role, acting as sponsors while actively participating in organizational aspects and furnishing educational materials. At these events, Cesar emerged as a sought-after speaker, delivering insights on optics, the history of telescopes, and their diverse types.