Quito Astronomical Observatory

The Quito Astronomical Observatory (Spanish: Observatorio Astronómico de Quito – OAQ) is a research institute of EPN, the National Polytechnic School in Quito, Ecuador. Its major research fields are astronomy and atmospheric physics.[1][1]

Quito Astronomical Observatory
Quito Observatory.JPG
Quito Astronomical Observatory
Observatory code 781 Edit this on Wikidata
LocationLa Alameda Park, Quito, Ecuador Edit this at Wikidata
Coordinates0°12′54″S 78°30′09″W / 0.21494°S 78.50258°W / -0.21494; -78.50258Coordinates: 0°12′54″S 78°30′09″W / 0.21494°S 78.50258°W / -0.21494; -78.50258
Altitude2,823 m (9,262 ft) Edit this at Wikidata
Websitehttp://oaq.epn.edu.ec,%20https://oaq.epn.edu.ec/ Edit this at Wikidata
Quito Astronomical Observatory is located in Ecuador
Quito Astronomical Observatory
Location of Quito Astronomical Observatory
Commons page Related media on Wikimedia Commons

The Quito Astronomical Observatory is one of the oldest observatories in South America and was founded in 1873. In 1963, The Government of Ecuador transferred title of the Observatory to the National Polytechnic School. The Quito Astronomical Observatory is the National Observatory of Ecuador and is located 12 minutes south of the Equator in the Historic Center of Quito.[2]


Architectural rendering of the Quito Astronomical Observatory, artist by Ludwig Dressel (1873).

The Quito Astronomical Observatory was founded in 1873. The first director was Juan Bautista Menten, who directed and planned the construction of the Center, modeled on the Observatory of Bonn (Germany). The building was finished in 1878. Contained within it is one of the most important collections of nineteenth-century scientific instruments, featuring a refracting telescope and a meridian circle manufactured by Repsold.[3] The 24 cm Merz Equatorial Telescope is the most important instrument of the Observatory. It was manufactured in 1875 in Munich, Germany and is mounted on an equatorial mount.

Ecuador is located in a strategic geographical position where solar-physics studies can be performed year-round, providing data for the scientific community working to understand Sun-Earth interactions. The Observatory invites leaders from other scientific projects to deploy their instruments in Quito and to join us in supporting our new strategic research center.

The Quito Astronomical Observatory was completely renovated and fully restored in 2009.

Astronomical MuseumEdit

The Museum of the Quito Astronomical Observatory is located in La Alameda park and gives each visitor a vivid history of the various scientific instruments that were used by early astronomers and scientists. The Astronomical Observatory of Quito is one of the oldest in Latin America, and is a major attraction for scientists, students and tourists in Ecuador.[4]

The Quito Astronomical Observatory has been perfectly restored and is open for tourists.

Many of the tools were used by the French Geodesic Mission II who worked in the facilities of the Center between 1902 and 1914.

Activities and servicesEdit

Pictured above is a 1875 Georg Merz and Sons, 24cm (9.4 inch) vintage refracting telescope on an Equatorial mount.

The activities and services currently provided by the OAQ are:

  • Night observations by telescopes
  • Astronomical information on the equatorial zone
  • Tour inside the entire Quito Astronomical Observatory.
  • Basic astronomy courses
  • Library
  • Operation of the museum on the premises
  • Annual publications
  • Antique seismometers
Replica of the second reflecting telescope, by Isaac Newton which he presented to the Royal Society in 1672[5]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ One of the Oldest Observatories in South America is the Quito Astronomical Observatory
  2. ^ Hans J. Haubold (19 April 2014). "Ecuador Establishes Division of Solar Physics Phenomena". American Astronomical Society. Retrieved 25 May 2015.
  3. ^ American Astronomical Society, National Polytechnic School Establishes Division of Solar Physics Phenomena
  4. ^ https://oaq.epn.edu.ec
  5. ^ King, Henry C (2003). The History of the Telescope. p. 74. ISBN 978-0-486-43265-6.

External linksEdit