Camille Flammarion Observatory

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Camille Flammarion Observatory
Observatoire Camille Flammarion à Juvisy sur Orge.jpg
Alternative namesJuvisy Observatory
Named afterCamille Flammarion
OrganizationSociété astronomique de France
Observatory code285
Location32, avenue de la Cour-de-France, Juvisy-sur-Orge, near Paris, France
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
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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. ^ "Notice nécrologique" 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,