Welcome to the University of Athens Observatory

 

At the dawn of the new millenium, the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens got its own window to the Universe; an astronomical observatory, built at the University Campus, at Zografos, Athens. In 1994 a 5-m dome rests on the roof of the Physics Department, housing the 0.4 m f/8 telescope since 1999. The observatory, apart from the dome, includes a control room and a small apartment, used for overnight accommodation for the observer and for the occasional foreign visitors.

University of Athens Observatory - 0.4 m telescope

History of the University of Athens Observatory

The telescope at the University of Athens Observatory (UOAO) was installed in March 1999 and was a donation by the chairman of the construction company DYNAMIKI S.A., the late L. Gerostathopoulos, in memory of his mother. The total cost of the telescope and its scientific accessories was estimated at that time to be about $140.000.

Photos from the 5-m dome installation can be found here.

The inauguration of the Gerostathopoulio University of Athens Observatory took place on Thursday 13 January 2000. The ceremony was attended by faculty members, astronomers from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and other institutes, students and members of the general public. Among the speakers were the Vice Rector of Financial Planning and Development, Professor G. Philokyprou, and the Dean of School Sciences, Prof. M. Dermitzakis. The Head of the Physics Department, at the time, Prof. P. Laskarides, gave a short introduction regarding the founding of the University of Athens Observatory and the status of relevant installations. Then, the Director of the Section of Astronomy, Astrophysics and Mechanics, at the time, Prof. P. Niarchos, gave a talk entitled "The role of small telescopes in the 21st century - The new 0.4-m telescope of the University of Athens". The donor of the telescope, Mr L. Gerostathopoulos, was subsequently presented with an honorary plaque by the Head of the Faculty of Physics. We should note that this donation was made possible thanks to Prof. P. Laskarides, whose contribution to the completion of this undertaking has been crucial. Prof. P. Niarchos, was primarily responsible for the installation of the telescope in 1999 and for its subsequent operations, while he was the instigator of the public events "Open nights - Astronomy for all", which continue successfully since the opening of the observatory (2000). At the end of the inauguration ceremony, three students who scored top marks in Astrophysics in 1999 received an award. The ceremony was followed by a small reception and a tour at the installations of the new telescope.

Photos from the inauguration ceremony can be found here.

The telescope and its existing equipment obtained their first light in November 1999, while scientific observations followed the first days of operation, under the efforts of Prof. Panagiotis Niarchos and Dr. Kosmas Gazeas. Since then, hundreds of targets have been observed photometrically and spectroscopically, while observations continue up to date in an almost daily basis. In parallel, public nights, astronomical events and school visits are organized every month at the University facilities, offering a unique opportunity for visual observations through a modern scientific instrument.

Since the beginning of operations, the following served as Directors of the University of Athens Observatory:

  • 2000-2012: Professor Panagiotis G. Niarchos
  • 2012-2014: Professor Xenofon D. Moussas
  • 2014-today: Professor Ioannis A. Daglis


  • The observatory Control Room, with the Telescope Control System (TCS), and the CCD control computer.
     
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    Background Image: Rogelio Bernal Andreo (DeepSkyColors.com), Lunar phase: http://www.moonconnection.com/, Solar images: https://sdo.gsfc.nasa.gov/, Sky map: http://www.astroviewer.com/