Camille Flammarion Observatory

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Camille Flammarion Observatory
Juvisy-sur-Orge - Observatoire.jpg
Alternative namesJuvisy Observatory
Named afterCamille Flammarion
OrganizationSociété astronomique de France
Observatory code285
LocationJuvisy-sur-Orge, Seine-et-Oise
Coordinates48°41′23″N 2°23′55″E / 48.6898°N 2.3986°E / 48.6898; 2.3986Coordinates: 48°41′23″N 2°23′55″E / 48.6898°N 2.3986°E / 48.6898; 2.3986
Altitude100 m
Bardou Refractor Telescope
Camille Flammarion Observatory is located in France
Camille Flammarion Observatory
Location of Camille Flammarion Observatory
Commons page Related media on Wikimedia Commons

The observatory was established in Juvisy-sur-Orge in 1883 by the French astronomer and author Camille Flammarion. In March 2010, the structure was classified as a historical monument by the French Ministry of Culture. The observatory belongs to the Société astronomique de France.

Building and grounds[edit]

The observatory is located on Route nationale 7 (formerly the avenue de la Cour de France), close to the downtown of Juvisy. The site, which is on a prominent hilltop location, is a large parcel of land that contains several buildings, a monumental gate, gardens, and a small forest.

Observatory’s sundial

The building housing the observatory was originally a post house constructed in 1730. In 1883–1884, Flammarion transformed the structure into an astronomical observatory by adding a large equatorial room for the telescope, a library, a scientific museum, a meteorological station and an agricultural research station.[1]

In 1899, the architect François Giamarchi was commissioned to transform the east façade of the building (garden side) by adding a decorative relief of ionic columns supporting a cornice.[2]

In 1910, Flammarion installed a vertical sundial on the upper level of the observatory. The sundial was restored in 1998 and 1972.[3]

In March 2010, the French Ministry of Culture classified the building and the large gate as protected historical monuments.[4]

Flammarion's second wife, Gabrielle Renaudot Flammarion, bequeathed the entire site to the Société Astronomique de France upon her death in 1962. In 1971, the society signed a 99-year lease with the municipality of Juvisy to ensure the site's maintenance, preservation and accessibility. Today, the society organises regular observations at the observatory for the general public.[5]


Observatory's telescope in 2012

The 5 meter dome was constructed by the engineer Adolphe Gilon. It houses Camille Flammarion's equatorial mount refracting telescope, which has a diameter of 240 mm and a focal length of 3600 mm. The telescope was built by Denis Albert Bardou, a Parisian optics manufacturer. Flammarion's choice of the telescope was inspired by a similar instrument in the west tower of the Paris Observatory.[6]

Scientific contribution[edit]

Flammarion in the observatory circa 1893.

Astronomers who conducted research at the observatory included:

The results of their research at the observatory were published in numerous articles and photographs in L'Astronomie, the journal of the Société astronomique de France.

605 Juvisia[edit]

In 1906, German astronomer Max Wolf discovered a minor planet orbiting the Sun and named it 605 Juvisia in honor of the location of Flammarion's observatory.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Base Mérimée: Observatoire Camille Flammarion, Ministère français de la Culture. (in French)
  2. ^ Base Mérimée: Ferme de Fromenteau ; auberge de la Cour de France ; relais de poste ; observatoire Camille-Flammarion ; demeure de Camille Flammarion ; musée, Ministère français de la Culture. (in French)
  3. ^ Mélanie Desmeules. "Camille Flammarion (1842-1925), le cadranier d'un seul cadran."Le Gnomoniste (La Commission des Cadrans solaires du Québec), Vol. 9, No. 1, Mars 2002, page 6.
  4. ^ "Liste des immeubles protégés au titre des monuments historiques en 2009," Journal officiel de la République française, n°0084, 10 April 2010, page 6840.
  5. ^ Mairie de Juvisy-sur-Orge, "L’observatoire Camille Flammarion,", consulted 15 March 2018.
  6. ^ Colette Aymard et Laurence-Anne Mayeur, « L’observatoire de Juvisy-sur-Orge, l’« univers d’un chercheur » à sauvegarder », In Situ [online], 29 | 2016, published 13 July 2016, consulted 16 June 2017.
  7. ^ Touchet, E. “La Vie et L'Oeuvre de Camille Flammarion. L'Astronomie 1925, vol. 39, p. 354.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Carnets d'observations. “Archives et manuscrits de l'Observatoire de Paris : Fonds Eugène Michel Antoniadi : Ms 1138”, Alidade
  9. ^ L'Astronomie 1951, vol. 65, p. 356.
  10. ^ “BENOIT, Antonin.” P. Véron, Dictionnaire des astronomes français 1850-1950.,
  11. ^ P. Véron, dictionnaire des astronomes français 1850-1950,