The series of brochures about astronomical observatories has been created by several Regions in France: Franche-Comté, Alsace and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur in partnership with University of Science Observatories.
Astronomical observatory in Strasbourg
When Alsace gave in to Germany in 1871 the Emperor Guillaume I decides to make Strasbourg the window of its empire, building a prestigious university, provided for example with an astronomical observatory. All this, realized during the 1880s, is a strategic place in the new neighborhood built by the Germans. In turns, German or French, this observatory, today still a place for university research, is the testimony of scientific and technique evolutions that astronomy has known since the end of the 19th century but also of political history in Alsace.
In response to the demand of the regional watchmakers and the municipality of Besançon, the presidential order on 11 March 1878 creates at Besançon an “Astronomical, meteorological and time science Observatory”. Founding the originality of the establishment, the time science is an essential element and has to allow to the French capital of watches to control the quality and to raise its production level. Three hundred years after, the regional centre Meteo-France in Doubs and the Besançon Observatory carry on the initial missions. Counting about forty researchers this Observatory is active in astrophysics and time-frequency. At the request of producers, they restarted the watch certification.
Astronomical observatories – Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur
The high number of light nights, the transparency of the sky, ports suitable for trips, a coastline where the horizon discovers widely the south – these characteristics particular to Midi region encouraged three hundred years ago astronomers to install observatories at the Mediterranean oceanfront. In the XIXth century the important changes in the techniques of observation and in the quality of instruments have led to investments in new sites situated higher than the old ones. In the XXth century there are new observatories even higher and further from the urban areas which are set up.