Historical photographs

Of the Navy. Spanish observatories

Of the Navy. Spanish observatories


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In the 18th century, and more exactly in the year 1753, the Royal Institute and Navy Observatory was launched in San Fernando, in Cádiz, the oldest in Spain. Its constitution was due to the proposal that the sailor and scientist Jorge Juan made to Marques de la Ensenada, which consisted of the creation of an astronomical observatory in the Castle of the Villa, headquarters of the Academy of Marine Guards.

Jorge Juan considered it necessary that the future sailors of the Spanish Navy had the necessary knowledge of a science as vital for navigation as astronomy is. Thus was born the then called Royal Observatory of Cádiz, which was located in a unit attached to the academy.

In 1798, after acquiring a well-deserved reputation at European level, the observatory was moved to a new location located on the Cerro Alta Tower of the Island of León, what is now known as San Fernando. It was a magnificent neoclassical building, where the Royal Navy Observatory still maintains its headquarters, although with various modifications and incorporations experienced over time.

During its 260 years of existence, distinguished scientists have passed through the observatory facilities, such as Luis Godin, Vicente Tofiño, José Sánchez Cerquero or Cecilio Pujazón, and currently performs the functions of astronomical, geophysical, meteorological, seismic or magnetic observatory, besides determining the time scientifically or being the depository of the official Spanish metric measures.

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