Quito Astronomical Observatory

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Quito Astronomical Observatory
Quito Observatory.JPG
One of the Oldest Observatories in South America is the Quito Astronomical Observatory.
Observatory code 781 Edit this on Wikidata
Location La Alameda Park, Quito, Ecuador Edit this at Wikidata
Coordinates 0°12′54″S 78°30′09″W / 0.21494°S 78.50258°W / -0.21494; -78.50258Coordinates: 0°12′54″S 78°30′09″W / 0.21494°S 78.50258°W / -0.21494; -78.50258
Website oaq.epn.edu.ec Edit this at Wikidata
Quito Astronomical Observatory is located in Ecuador
Quito Astronomical Observatory
Location of Quito Astronomical Observatory
Commons page Related media on Wikimedia Commons

The Quito Astronomical Observatory (Spanish: Observatorio Astronómico de Quito – OAQ) is a research institute of EPN, the National Polytechnic School in Quito, Ecuador. Its major research fields are astronomy and atmospheric physics.[1][1]

The Quito Astronomical Observatory is one of the oldest observatories in South America and was founded in 1873; in 1963, The Government of Ecuador transferred title of the Observatory to the National Polytechnic School. The Quito Astronomical Observatory is the National Observatory of Ecuador and is located 12 minutes south of the Equator in the Historic Center of Quito.[2]


Artist Concepception, Quito Astronomical Observatory, artist Ludwig Dressel (1873).

The Quito Astronomical Observatory was founded in 1873, its first director was Juan Bautista Menten, who directed and planned the construction of the Center, modeled on the Observatory of Bonn (Germany). The building was finished in 1878 and completely restored in 2009. Contained with it is one of the most important collections of nineteenth-century scientific instruments, featuring a refracting telescope and a meridian circle manufactureed by Repsold.[3] The 24 cm Merz Equatorial Telescope is the most important instrument of the Observatory. It was manufactured in 1875 in Munich, Germany and is mounted on an equatorial mount.

Ecuador is located in a strategic geographical position where solar-physics studies can be performed year-round, providing data for the scientific community working to understand Sun-Earth interactions. We invite leaders from other scientific projects to deploy their instruments in Quito and to join us in supporting our new strategic research center.

Astronomical Museum[edit]

The Museum of the Quito Astronomical Observatory is located in La Alameda park and gives each visitor a vivid history of the various scientific instruments that were used by early astronomers and scientists, the Astronomical Observatory of Quito is one of the oldest in Latin America, and is a major attraction for scientists, students and tourists in Ecuador.[4]

The Quito Astronomical Observatory has been perfectly restored and is open for tourists.

Many of the tools were used by the French Geodesic Mission II who worked in the facilities of the Center between 1902 and 1914.

Activities and services[edit]

Antique Telescope at the Quito Astronomical Observatory 002.JPG

The activities and services currently provided by the OAQ are:

  • Night observations by telescopes
  • Astronomical information on the equatorial zone
  • Basic astronomy courses
  • Library
  • Operation of the museum on the premises
  • Annual publications
  • Antique seismometers

See also[edit]


External links[edit]