Coordinates: 48°50′11.18″N 2°20′11.42″E / 48.8364389°N 2.3365056°E
The Paris Observatory (in French, Observatoire de Paris or Observatoire de Paris-Meudon) is the foremost astronomical observatory of France, and one of the largest astronomical centers in the world.
Administratively, it is a "great establishment" of the ministry charged with higher education, with a status close to that of a public university. Its missions include:
- research in astronomy and astrophysics;
- education (four graduate programs, Ph.D. studies);
- diffusion of knowledge to the public.
is traced on the floor.]]
It maintains a solar observatory at Meudon (48°48′18.32″N 2°13′51.61″E / 48.8050889°N 2.2310028°E) and a radio astronomy observatory at Nançay.
It was also the home to the International Time Bureau until its dissolution in 1987.
Its foundation lies in the ambitions of Jean-Baptiste Colbert to extend France's maritime power and international trade in the 17th century. Louis XIV promoted its construction starting in 1667, its being completed in 1671. The architect was probably Claude Perrault whose brother, Charles, was secretary to Colbert and superintendent of public works. Optical instruments were supplied by Giuseppe Campani. The buildings were extended in 1730, 1810, 1834, 1850, and 1951. The last extension incorporates the spectacular Meridian Room designed by Jean Prouvé.
The world's first national almanac, the Connaissance des temps was published by the observatory in 1679, using eclipses in Jupiter's satellites to aid sea-fairers in establishing longitude. In 1863, the observatory published the first modern weather maps. In 1882, a 33 cm astrographic lens was constructed, an instrument that catalysed the ill-fated, international Carte du Ciel project.
In November 1913, the Paris Observatory, using the Eiffel Tower as an antenna, exchanged sustained wireless (radio) signals with the United States Naval Observatory to determine the exact difference of longitude between the two institutions.
Also known as the Observatoire du Pic de Château Renard, the Observatoire de Saint-Véran was built in 1974 on top of the Pic de Château Renard (2900 m), on the commune of Saint-Véran in the Haut Queyras (Hautes Alpes département). A coronograph was in operation there for ten years; the dome was moved there from the Perrault building of the Observatoire de Paris.
Nowadays, the AstroQueyras amateur astronomy association operates the facility, using a 60 cm telescope on loan from the Observatoire de Haute Provence. Numerous asteroids have been discovered there.
- ^ a b "The Paris Observatory". l'Observatoire de Paris. http://www.obspm.fr/presentation.en.shtml. Retrieved on 2007-08-27.
- ^ Guinot (2000)
- ^ a b [Anon.] (2001) "Paris Observatory", Encyclopaedia Britannica, Deluxe CDROM edition
- ^ [Anon.] (2001) "Perrault, Claude", Encyclopaedia Britannica, Deluxe CDROM edition
- ^ [Anon.] (2001) "Prouvé, Jean", Encyclopaedia Britannica, Deluxe CDROM edition
- ^ "Paris Time By Wireless," New York Times, Nov 22, 1913, pg 1.
- ^ Released jointly by Observatoire de Paris, CNES and CNRS-INSU (2005-06-30). Completion and delivery of equipment bay and camera to CNES mark major project milestone. Press release. http://www.cnes.fr/web/3820-pr52-2005-joint-press-release-corot-observation-satellite-cnes-mission-completion-and-delivery-of-equipment-bay-and-camera-to-cnes-mark-major-pr.php. Retrieved on 2008-08-03.
- ^ "L'Observatoire du Pic de Château Renard (2900 m)" (in French). Histoire. l'Observatoire de Paris. http://www.obspm.fr/histoire/saintveran/saintveran.fr.shtml. Retrieved on 2007-08-27.
- [Anon.] (2001) "Paris Observatory", Encyclopaedia Britannica, Deluxe CDROM edition
- Aubin, D. (2003). "The fading star of the Paris Observatory in the nineteenth century: astronomers' urban culture of circulation and observation". Osiris 18: 79–100.