Quito Astronomical Observatory

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Quito Astronomical Observatory (Spanish: Observatorio Astronómico de Quito - OAQ) is a research institute of the Escuela Politécnica Nacional in Quito, Ecuador. Its major research fields are astronomy and atmospheric physics.


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 the large refracting telescope Merz and the meridian circle Repsold.

Astronomical Museum[edit]

The Museum of the Quito Astronomical Observatory is located in La Alameda park. The museum explains the vivid history of the instruments used by early astronomers and scientists of the country. The Astronomical Observatory of Quito is one of the oldest in Latin America, which is one of its greatest attractions.

Many of the tools were used by the French Geodesic Mission II who worked in the facilities of the Center between 1902 and 1914. Merz Equatorial Telescope is the most important instrument of the Observatory. This was manufactured in 1875 in the city of Munich, Germany. Its designer and builder was Jacob Merz after which the telescope is named.

Activities and services[edit]

The activities and services currently provided by the OAQ are:

  • Night observations by telescopes
  • Virtual telescope system (TELVA)
  • Astronomical information on the equatorial zone
  • Basic astronomy courses
  • Library
  • Operation of the museum on the premises
  • Annual publications

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 0°12′54″S 78°30′09″W / 0.214886°S 78.502555°W / -0.214886; -78.502555