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Nicole Capitaine (born Nicole Taton on March 14, 1948) is an astronomer at the Paris Observatory who is known as an expert on astrometry and related standards.[1]

Nicole Capitaine
Born (1948-03-14) March 14, 1948 (age 71)
Alma materPierre and Marie Curie University
Known forInternational expert in astrometry and associated standards
AwardsDescartes Prize, Struve Medal
Scientific career
InstitutionsParis Observatory


In 1969, Capitaine received a bachelor's degree ("licence") from the Faculty of Sciences in Paris. (She was thus one of the last graduates of this subdivision of the university before its re-organization in the wake of the Paris disturbances of 1968.) In 1970 she graduated with a degree in astronomy from Pierre and Marie Curie University. The same year she joined the Paris Observatory as an assistant. She then held several positions there before becoming an astronomer in charge of research. In 1972, she received a PhD in astronomy at the Pierre and Marie Curie University. In 1982, she wrote her habilitation thesis, giving her the status of direct researcher. In 1985, she became deputy director of the department of fundamental astronomy at the Paris Observatory. She became the director in 1993. Her scientific activity was carried out mainly within the framework of the Space Geodesy Research Group (GRGS), as well as various working groups of the International Astronomical Union. In 2002, still at the Paris Observatory, she became a full-time astronomer in the SYRTE department (Space Time Reference Systems). In 2013, she retired and became an emeritus astronomer.

Her work, carried out in the framework of a large international cooperation, led to a better definition of reference systems and time scales for astronomy, as well as to a better knowledge of the rotation of the Earth. They have also led to the adoption by the IAU and IUGG (International Geodesic and Geophysical Union) of new parameters and models for astronomy and geodesy, which are essential for many applications to space dynamics and the dynamics of the solar system.


  1. ^ "CV Nicole Capitaine". Paris Observatory. Retrieved December 27, 2018.

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