7 Major Astronomical Observatories in Europe

An Astronomical Observatory is a place for many telescopes to observe outer space. The Astronomical observatories, they built utilizing various technologies. The telescopes fixed in the ground, not able to move to another place.  The observatories have co-operated by astronomical research institutes, and staffed by different countries. Many countries merged their technology to build advanced Telescopes. There are 7 notable and operating Astronomical observatories in Europe.

Observatory NameLocationEstablishedType
Gornergrat ObservatoryGornergrat, Switzerland1967Infrared, submillimeter
Sphinx ObservatoryBernese Alps, Switzerland1937Optical telescope
Pic du Midi ObservatoryPyrenees, France1878Optical, solar
Roque de los Muchachos ObservatoryLa Palma, Canary Islands, Spain1979Optical, infrared, solar, gamma ray
Teide ObservatoryTenerife, Spain1964Optical, solar, microwave
Calar Alto ObservatoryAlmeria, Spain1975Optical telescope
Special Astrophysical ObservatoryCaucasus Mountains, Russia1966Optical telescope

Gornergrat Observatory

There are two telescopes, it is installed in the Gornergrat Hotel, KOSMA telescope installed on the southern part of the Building and Infrared telescope installed on the northern part.
Coordinates: 45°59′00″N 7°47′01″E
Altitude: 3,135 m (10,285 ft)

Image by Martin Moser from Pixabay

Sphinx Observatory

Sphinx Observatory is the highest observatory in Europe and established in 1937 (one of the oldest astronomical observatory in the world). The Observatory equipped with the 76cm telescope and involved in the long-term experiment. The open viewing deck adjacent to the observatory is accessible to the public and is a popular destination.
Coordinates: 46°32′51″N 7°59′6″E
Altitude: 3,571 m (11,716 ft)

Image by Erich Westendarp from Pixabay

Pic du Midi Observatory

As the name suggests, the Observatory named after the mountain Pic du Midi de. Pic du Midi Observatory is the second oldest Astronomical Observatory after National Astronomical Observatory (established in 1878), located in Colombia. It has been a notable site for astronomy-related research.

The Telescopes at the top:

  • 0.55-metre telescope (Robley Dome)
  • 0.60-metre telescope (T60 Dome)
  • 1.06-metre telescope (Gentilli D
  • 2-metre telescope (Bernard Lyot Telescope)

Coordinates 42°56′11″N 0°08′34″E
Altitude: 2,877 m (9,439 ft)

Roque de Los Muchachos Observatory

Roque de Los Muchachos Observatory is located in Canary Island. There are many telescopes installed in La Palma Island, the Gran Telescopio Canarias (10.4m reflecting telescope) is one of the largest single-aperture optical telescopes in the world, the William Herschel Telescope(4.20-metre optical reflecting telescope) is the second largest in Europe. The observatory operation started in 1984 with Isaac Newton Telescope.

Telescopes list in the Observatory:

  • Carlsberg Meridian Telescope
  • Dutch Open Telescope
  • Galileo National Telescope
  • Gran Telescopio Canarias
  • High-Energy-Gamma-Ray Astronomy
  • Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes
  • Isaac Newton Telescope
  • Jacobus Kapteyn Telescope
  • Liverpool Telescope
  • Major Atmospheric Gamma Imaging Cherenkov Telescopes
  • Mercator Telescope
  • Nordic Optical Telescope
  • Swedish Solar Telescope
  • SuperWASP
  • William Herschel Telescope

Coordinates: 28°45′49″N 17°53′41″W
Altitude: 2,396 m (7,861 ft)

Photo by Alice Wang via Flickr

Teide Observatory

Teide Observatory is the major international observatory located on the island of Tenerife in Spain, spread in 50 hectares and 2,390 metres above sea level. The Observatory with 3 types of operational telescopes, 4 Solar Telescopes, 8 Nocturnal Telescopes and 4 Radio Telescopes. Several Planets discovered by Teide Observatory in 1998 and 2002.
Coordinates: 28°18′00″N 16°30′35″W
Altitude: 2,390 m (7,840 ft)

Image by Mammiya from Pixabay

Calar Alto Observatory

Calar Alto Observatory placed on the Calar Alto (2,168 m) mountain in Spain, established in 1975, developed and owned by Max Planck Institute for Astronomy of Germany and Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia of Spain. The five unnamed telescopes, namely 138-inch, 87-inch, 48 inch and 31-inch reflector. The 138-inch reflector telescope is the largest in Europe.
Coordinates: 37°13′25″N 2°32′46″W
Altitude: 2,168 m (7,113 ft)

Special Astrophysical Observatory

This Observatory operated by the Russian Academy of Sciences located in Russia. The Special Astrophysical Observatory houses Radio Astronomical Telescope Academy Nauk 600 and BTA-6 Telescope. There are two small telescopes nearby BTA-6 which built by Carl Zeiss ( German Scientific instrument maker 1816-1888).
Coordinates: 43°38′49″N 41°26′26″E
Altitude: 2,070 m (6,790 ft)

Photo by Vas Zhigalov via Flickr

Note: different size of telescopes can be found inside the reserved astronomical observatory area except some observatories.