The Oldest Astronomical Observatories in the World

By   September 6, 2015

Popular Observatories

When it comes to gaining a better understanding of the cosmos, going to an observatory is one of the most effective things that a person can do. There is a lot to be learned at these observatories, especially the ones that are considered to be state of the art. Having said that, there are a number of ancient observatories that exist around the world. These were the frontrunners to today’s modern facilities. Although many of them are no longer state of the art, and some of them are not even officially used for research any longer, they still hold an important place in the lives of individuals that want to learn more about the stars. Below is a list of some of the oldest observatories in the world. You might be surprised to find out just how long some of these buildings have been standing.

Ancient Knowledge

  1. Armagh Observatory:-  
    Opened in 1790 in what is now Armagh, United Kingdom, this is easily one of the oldest observatories in the world. It is located in Northern Ireland and still sees limited use today. The most interesting thing about it is that it was founded by the archbishop of Armagh, effectively sealing its importance at the time that it was commissioned.
  2. Berlin Observatory:-
    This particular facility was built in 1711, making it one of the oldest in existence, even older than the Armagh Observatory. At the time that it was built, it was comprised of several different buildings and it sat on the outskirts of town. However, as the town became more and more incorporated, it sort of grew up around the observatory. Today, it sits directly in the middle of the city.
  3. Brera Observatory:-  
    This particular establishment was built and 1764 and sits in Milan, Italy. It was built by Ruggero Boscovich, an important Jesuit astronomer. Unfortunately, the peace of the facility was relatively short lived. In 1773, it came under state control when the Jesuits were suppressed. It remains under state control to this day.
  4. Dunsink Observatory:-
    Located in Dublin, Ireland and built and 1785, this was once one of the most important observatories in the world. One of its directors was even a specialist in algebraic equations and developed his own way of solving them. However, this facility suffered much the same fate as the Berlin Observatory. As the city of Dublin grew up around it, it became more and more difficult to see the stars. Eventually, technology surpassed this facility and it became more of a public museum than anything else.

The Continuing Importance of Observatories Around the World

Observatories are one of the most important links that people have for learning more about the cosmos. That is why new facilities are still being built all over the world today. While the newer facilities have more technologically developed equipment, there is definitely something to be said for these older facilities. They have a tremendous amount of history behind them, not to mention a sense of charm that is all their own. That is why they still serve such an important place in the minds of individuals who want to learn more about the galaxies that surround Earth.

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