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Helsinki Observatory, Helsinki

#32 of 51 in Museums in Helsinki
Specialty Museum · Hidden Gem · Museum
Helsinki University Observatory housed the Department of Astronomy at the University of Helsinki, south Finland until end of 2009. It is now an astronomy-themed visitor centre and museum.
The Helsinki astronomical observatory was designed in cooperation by professor Friedrich Wilhelm Argelander and architect Carl Ludvig Engel. The building was finished in 1834. The instruments and astronomical books that had escaped the great fire in Turku were transferred to Helsinki. The observatory was among the most modern astronomical observatories of its time, and served as an example for several European observatories that were built afterwards.
A separate tower was built in the observatory garden for the telescope designed for astrophotography. This building was finished in 1890. It houses the double refractor, two 0.33 meter refractor telescopes mounted together. One of the telescopes is built to be fitted with an eyepiece and the other with a photographic plate.
The observatory is located in the city centre and has not been in active use since the mid-20th century. Another observatory with a 60-centimeter telescope was built in Metsähovi, Kirkkonummi in the 1970s. The Metsähovi Radio Observatory was built around the same time and is the centre for the radio astronomical research of Aalto University.
The Department of Astronomy was merged into the Department of Physics at the beginning of 2010 and the astronomers moved to the Kumpula campus. The observatory building was thoroughly renovated and re-opened as a museum and visitor centre in 2012. The building also now houses the amateur astronomy association Ursa.
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19 reviews
  • Helsinki Observatory is located on the top of Tähtitorninmäki Hill. The building is designed by Carl Ludvig Engel. It was completed in 1834. Helsinki Observatory was ahead of its time and served as a....  more »
  • I went not knowing what to expect. The €8 fee is good value, I also paid for a tour, that too was well worth it. They have a great range of vintage instruments on show and in the observatory...  more »
  • Great atmosphere along with historical astronomical devices and a little cafe in the courtyard. Not a long time needed to see the museum but sitting outside enjoying a beverage is very relaxing providing the weather is nice.
  • A great guide and insight into finnish astronomy :)

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