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Astronomic Observatory Professor Manuel de Barros


The Astronomic Observatory Professor Manuel de Barros of Faculty of Sciences of University of Porto shall promote R&D activities in Astronomy, in Space and Earth Sciences and in Geographic Engineering, within an integrated strategy with the research units of University of Porto that operate in these areas, as well as to provide support to the graduate and post-graduate training of FCUP in these domains. It shall also develop actions oriented to the promotion of the scientific and technological culture, particularly near the basic and secondary scholar levels, as well as other initiatives oriented to the dissemination of its activity looking for the national and international recognition of FCUP and of University of Porto.

The Astronomic Observatory “Professor Manuel de Barros” (OAPMB) of Faculty of Sciences of University of Porto (FCUP), located in Monte da Virgem in Vila Nova de Gaia, was founded in 1948 by Manuel de Barros, professor of Astronomy and Geodesy in the Faculty, who recognized the need of an Observatory to complement the teaching and theoretical studies in Astronomy. With a notable insight, he had the conviction that the Observatory would not only be important to support the training in Astronomy, but it could also ground the development of a research centre in this area. Professor Manuel de Barros had a rare skill to project and supervise the construction of astronomic instrumentation, as it is demonstrated by the build up of a Mirror based Meridian Circle, one of the few equipments of this type installed in the World and used to perform astronomical observations up to the seventies of last century. This equipment was integrally projected in OAPMB after the challenge addressed to Professor Manuel de Barros by the astronomer R. d´E. Atkinson from the Greenwich observatory. His profound knowledge of the fundamental problems of astronomy, linked to his enterprise attitude and enthusiasm, turned possible the implementation of the project Observatory Astronomic in a difficult period of the history of FCUP. It is a mark of the Portuguese research in Astronomy and along the years gathered a diversified equipment park, nowadays of substantial historic and museologic importance.
The OAPMB was considered by the Management Institute of Architectural and Archaeological Heritage “(…) as material testimony of the history and investigation of Astronomy in Portugal, as well as of the involvement and professional dedication of a scientist of national and international calibre as was Prof. Manuel de Barros (…)”, and for these reasons it was approved the establishment of an urban protection zone surrounding the Observatory.
Nowadays in the Astronomic Observatory are on-going research activities in the areas of Space and Earth Sciences, in particular in the following domains:
  • Positioning and Satellite Navigation (with applications to Remote Detection, Geodynamics, Areal Gravimetry and Coast Monitoring);
  • (ii) Space Meteorology, with applications to the study of events involving energetic particles, supported by data gathered from space instrumentation as well as by the Observatory Radiospectrograph, instrument built locally with the collaboration of engineers from the Observatory of Nançay, France.

Along its history the Observatory has promoted activities of training, research, consultancy and general dissemination of knowledge in Astronomy and Geographic Engineering, supported by on-going R&D and the Observatory infrastructure.

Within the framework of the Astronomic Observatory Strategic Plan 2011-2015, it will be developed an ambitious activity plan with guidelines that follow from its mission.

Executive Council
Director Maria Luísa Bastos
Members Helena Maria Sant'ovaia
Mário João P. F. G. Monteiro
Dalmiro Jorge Filipe Maia


Person in Charge: Maria Luísa Bastos

Phone: +351 22 786 12 90

Fax: +351 22 786 12 99

Address: Alameda do Monte da Virgem

Código postal: 4430-146 Vila Nova de Gaia
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Last update: 2012-06-26 I  Page created on: 2022-01-29 at 08:49:30