Fabra Observatory, the light of the stars.
The Fabra Observatory stands near the top of Tibidabo and boasts wonderful views of the city. It is the world's fourth oldest astronomical observatory still in operation and one of the iconic buildings you should include on your night-time trail through Barcelona.
It belongs to the Reial Acadèmia de Ciències i Arts de Barcelona (RACAB) and was named in honour of the patron who made it possible: the industrialist Camil Fabra, the Marquis of Alella. The RACAB built two observatories at its headquarters on La Rambla, but they couldn't be used due to light pollution. This led to the launch of the project for the new observatory on Tibidabo in 1894. It opened in 1904.
Since its inception, the observatory has studied and gathered data about meteorology, astronomy and seismology. Its scientific endeavours focus on observing double stars and studying asteroids and comets. It also takes part in international programmes coordinated by the Minor Planet Center and the Pulkovo Observatory.
In the Fabra Observatory's great hall with the dome you'll be able to see distant constellations, stars and a large swathe of the solar system through a telescope dating from 1904. It is one of the largest and oldest in Europe that is still in use.
In recent years, the observatory has returned to its role as an educational facility, giving talks on astronomy and running daytime and night-time guided tours of the observatory, the museum and the terrace on the dome. It also gives you the opportunity to see how its two telescopes, dating back more than a century, work.
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