Definition of observatory in English:



  • 1A room or building housing an astronomical telescope or other scientific equipment for the study of natural phenomena.

    • ‘Then it instantaneously e-mails the news to astronomers, observatories and automated telescopes around the world.’
    • ‘Set up in 1923, the historical Bosscha Observatory is the closest observatory in the world to the equator.’
    • ‘During National Astronomy Week, astronomical societies will be opening private observatories and rigging up telescopes to let members of the public join in the Mars experience.’
    • ‘The mine was chosen as the observatory's location so that the rock would shield the observatory from cosmic radiation.’
    • ‘In 1806 he accepted the post of assistant at the Lilienthal Observatory, a private observatory near Bremen.’
    • ‘There are also plans to open a national observatory with an automated telescope dedicated solely to high-school observers.’
    • ‘The same outburst was also observed by the Hubble Space Telescope and several ground observatories.’
    • ‘The summit of dormant volcano Mauna Kea is home to the world's largest astronomical observatory and most powerful telescope.’
    • ‘These space and Moon-based astronomical observatories will be the successors to the Hubble Space Telescope, which has been used to discover planets in distant solar systems.’
    • ‘He scanned the images and radio data from telescopes at solar observatories in Australia, Puerto Rico, Massachusetts, Italy, and New Mexico.’
    • ‘Accompanied by several other astronomers he established a temporary observatory on Pikes Peak, the summit of which is over 14,000 feet above sea level.’
    • ‘He now had more time than before to devote to his study of astronomy, having an observatory in the rooms in which he lived in one of the towers in the town's fortifications.’
    • ‘Such observatories allow astronomers to observe the universe in ways not possible from the surface of Earth, usually because of interference from our planet's atmosphere.’
    • ‘Britain's foremost radio astronomy observatory at Jodrell Bank celebrates its 45th anniversary this month.’
    • ‘If tracks of totality were so considerate as to pass across well-established observatories, then astronomers' lives would be simpler.’
    • ‘Because we are familiar with major astronomical observatories being sited atop remote mountain peaks, it seems peculiar that Nantucket has so many connections with astronomy.’
    • ‘Because Earth's atmosphere is transparent to optical and infrared radiation and to radio waves, these types of radiation can be studied from ground-based observatories.’
    • ‘Astronomical observatories use Archimedean domes to cover their telescopes.’
    • ‘The privately funded SETI Institute uses radio telescopes owned by observatories around the world to sweep the sky for signals broadcast by advanced civilizations.’
    • ‘Among the phenomena that permanent observatories can study are climate variability and volcanic activity.’
    1. 1.1 A position or building that gives an extensive view.
      • ‘The Kushiro National Park, a beautiful 27,000 hectare marshland area with a well laid out observatory, was next on our itinerary.’
      • ‘Shrubs could be cleared away from around the observatory, for example - and views could be created down to the river.’
      • ‘From the observatory you can view Mt. Fuji and Tokyo Bay.’
      • ‘A bridge links the classroom and dormitory blocks and allows access to the outdoor ramps and observatory tower.’
      • ‘The 60th floor observatory has been permanently closed for security reasons.’
      • ‘The Arc also features an observatory to take in surrounding views.’
      • ‘An aquatic plant observatory was created, and a greenhouse was purchased for use as art classrooms.’
      • ‘The designs for the carvings at the top of the building based their design on an ancient Greek observatory built for Andronicus.’
      • ‘Before heading down to the falls, the trail first leads into a huge butterfly observatory.’
      • ‘The tower featured a belfry and observatory, topped with a cupola and a golden statue of an angel flying in a horizontal position!’


Late 17th century; from modern Latin observatorium, from Latin observat- ‘watched’, from the verb observare (see observe).