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 centres in the world.
Its historic main building is to be found on the Left Bank of the Seine in central Paris. Administratively, it is a grand établissement of the French Ministry of National Education, with a status close to that of a public university.
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, and it being completed in 1671. It thus predates the Royal Greenwich Observatory in England which was founded in 1675.
The architect of the Paris Observatory was 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. 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.
The Meudon great refractor (Meudon 33-inch) was a 83 centimetres (33 in) aperture refractor, which with September 20, 1909 observations by E.M. Antoniadi helped disprove the Mars canals theory. It was a double telescope completed in 1891, with secondary having 62 centimetres (24 in) aperture lens for photography. It was one of the largest active telescopes in Europe. 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.
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|Neighbourhood||Montparnasse (14th Arrondissement - l'Observatoire)|
|Geographical coordinates||48.8364390, 2.3365060|
|Address||75014 Paris, Avenue Denfert-Rochereau 77|
|Construction dates||1667 - 1671|
|More information||official website|