The Geophysics Institute of the University of Porto, or Meteorological Observatory of Serra do Pilar, depends on the Faculty of Sciences of the U.Porto. Founded in 1833 and linked to the Polytechnic Academy of Porto in 1911, it is used for teaching and research The Institute is part of the National Meteorological Network (Station no. 08546), providing it with daily information on air temperature (dry bulb and wet bulb thermometer), grass temperature, pressure, humidity, precipitation, wind velocity, cloud conditions and sunshine hours.
The main building, with two floors with high ceilings and a built-area of about 300 sq.m, was built in the late 19th century on a hill west of D. Maria Bridge, on Serra do Pilar, Vila Nova de Gaia.
"It has a distinct outer look, with its granite framed windows. Great care was put into its construction and the composition of the façades. The plastered walls painted in light colour have wide identical windows aligned vertically and horizontally. The main door of the building stands out in this repetitive layout, placed half way on the largest façade, topped by a large window linked to it by a granite frame." [Geophysics Institute of the University of Porto: Faculty of Sciences. In Os Edifícios da Universidade do Porto: Projectos. Porto: Universidade, 1987. p. 38-39].
The activities of the Geophysics Institute in areas such as Seismology, Climatology and Meteorology take place in other buildings on the grounds surrounded by a wall along its entire length.
The Observatory tower has the following coordinates: latitude 41º 08' 19'' N, longitude 8 º 36' 09'' W, altitude 93,515 m.