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Category of Astronomical Heritage: tangible immovable
Fabra Observatory, Barcelona, Spain

Format: IAU - Outstanding Astronomical Heritage Description

Description

Geographical position 
  • InfoTheme: Astronomy from the Renaissance to the mid-twentieth century
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    Author(s): Gudrun Wolfschmidt

Observatori Fabra, Camí de l’Observatori, s/n, 08035 Barcelona

 

Location 
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Latitude 41°25’06’’N, Longitude 2°07’27’’E, Elevation 415m above mean sea level.

 

IAU observatory code 
  • InfoTheme: Astronomy from the Renaissance to the mid-twentieth century
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006

 

Description of (scientific/cultural/natural) heritage 
  • InfoTheme: Astronomy from the Renaissance to the mid-twentieth century
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    Date: 2021-04-02 22:28:16
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The initiative for the creation of the Fabra Observatory arose from the RACAB, which in 1895 presented to the Provincial Council of Barcelona the project to build an observatory at the top of Tibidabo. This first project already contemplated the dual character, astronomical and meteorological, that was intended for the building. This first project, elaborated by doctors Josep Domènech i Estapà and Eduard Fontserè, never came to fruition because the necessary capital was not reached and also, and mainly, because it interfered with other purposes with the same location

Fabra Observatory (Wikipedia 4, H. Raab, WikipediaFabra Observatory (Wikipedia 4, H. Raab, Wikipedia

Fig. 1a,b. Fabra Observatory (Wikipedia 4, H. Raab, Wikipedia 3, Mister No)




Seven years later, the construction of the Observatory building in its final location began thanks to the legacy of Camil Fabra i Fontanills (1833--1902), first Marquis of Alella, who in 1901, according to a testamentary clause, left the amount of 250,000 pesetas at the disposal of the RACAB.

The Fabra Observatory, named after Camil Fabra i Fontanills, was established in 1904 and inaugurated on April 7, 1904 in the presence of King Alfonso XIII. It was designed by the modernist architect Josep Domènech i Estapà (1858--1917) in Art Nouveau style. It is an octagonal building is under the dome. The first director was Josep Comas i Solà (1868--1937).

It belongs to the Royal Academy of Science and Arts of Barcelona (Catalan: Reial Acadèmia de Ciències i Arts de Barcelona).

Since its inception, the Observatory has worked in three areas: Astronomy, Meteorology and Seismology. The Meteorological Section started in 2013 and studies the local climatology in detail. The Seismic Section (since 1907) is involved in global seismology, but is primarily concerned with regional seismicity. The earthquake of Rubí on February 18, 1909, must be considered as the beginning of the Catalan regional seismology. At the Fabra Observatory, around 300 earthquakes are recorded each year, the epicenter of which can be located in any area of the planet. The Seismic Section has also had sensors in the Montseny massif since 1986 in order to improve the level of background and power noise, and to increase its amplification.

The main activity of the Astronomical Section of Fabra Observatory is dedicated to the astrometry of small planets, asteroids and comets, in the framework of international programs. It is one of the oldest observatories in the world that is still functioning. In this observatory, the comet 32P/Comas Solà was discovered by Josep Comas Solà (1868--1937) in 1926.

 

History 
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Observatori Fabra (1920), Servei Meteorològic de

Fig. 2a. Observatori Fabra (1920), Servei Meteorològic de Catalunya (Wikipedia)


Observatori Fabra (1920) (Wikipedia 3, Arnaugir)

Fig. 2b. Observatori Fabra (1920) (Wikipedia 3, Arnaugir)




Observatori Fabra, Refractor Mailhat (Wikipedia 4,

Fig. 3. Observatori Fabra, Refractor Mailhat (Wikipedia 4, H. Raab)




Instruments



  • The double refractor was built by Mailhat, Paris, in 1904. The visual instrument (the lower of the two tubes) has an aperture of 38cm and a focal length of 6m (f/15.8). The photographic instrument also has an aperture of 38 cm, but a shorter focal length of 4m (f/10.5).

  • Refracting telescope

  • Baker-Nunn camera Schmidt telescope

  • Seismographic devices of Italian origin (Cancani, Vicentini and Agamenone)

 

State of preservation 
  • InfoTheme: Astronomy from the Renaissance to the mid-twentieth century
    Entity: 164
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    Version: 2
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    Date: 2021-03-10 04:42:21
    Author(s): Gudrun Wolfschmidt

Protected: Bé Cultural d’Interès Nacional (2014-),
Bienes de Interés Cultural Reference IPA-40478

 

Comparison with related/similar sites 
  • InfoTheme: Astronomy from the Renaissance to the mid-twentieth century
    Entity: 164
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    Date: 2021-04-02 22:12:28
    Author(s): Gudrun Wolfschmidt

This octagonal building is under the dome reminds of many 18th centruy observatories with octagonal shape, going back to the Tower of the Winds in Athens in Antiquity.

 

Threats or potential threats 
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    Entity: 164
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    Date: 2021-04-02 22:13:11
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no threats, but many tourists.

 

Present use 
  • InfoTheme: Astronomy from the Renaissance to the mid-twentieth century
    Entity: 164
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    Author(s): Gudrun Wolfschmidt

still in use as an astronomical observatory.

 

Astronomical relevance today 
  • InfoTheme: Astronomy from the Renaissance to the mid-twentieth century
    Entity: 164
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    Date: 2021-04-02 22:29:55
    Author(s): Gudrun Wolfschmidt

The main activity of the Astronomical Section of the Fabra Observatory is the photographic astrometry of small planets and comets. This work consists of the determination of its astronomical position with great precision by means of the photographic technique. It uses the double refracting telescope, which due to its characteristics is the largest in Spain. For the measurement of the coordinates of the images impressed on the photographic plates he uses a high-precision optical-electronic single-comparator, connected directly to the computer equipment that finally provides the very precise astronomical position of the observed star (asteroid or comet).

 

References

Bibliography (books and published articles) 
  • InfoTheme: Astronomy from the Renaissance to the mid-twentieth century
    Entity: 164
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  • Kronk, Gary W.: 32P/Comas Solá. In: Gary W. Kronk’s Cometography (http://cometography.com/pcomets/032p.html).

 

Links to external sites 
  • InfoTheme: Astronomy from the Renaissance to the mid-twentieth century
    Entity: 164
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    Date: 2021-04-02 22:30:52
    Author(s): Gudrun Wolfschmidt


  • Observatori Fabra, Reial Acadèmia de Ciències i Arts de Barcelona, Homepage
    http://www.fabra.cat/en_index.html
  • Josep Comas i Solà,
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josep_Comas_i_Solà

 

Links to external on-line pictures 
  • InfoTheme: Astronomy from the Renaissance to the mid-twentieth century
    Entity: 164
    Subentity: 1
    Version: 1
    Status: PUB
    Date: 2021-03-10 00:51:04
    Author(s): Gudrun Wolfschmidt

no information available

 

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