L'observatoire de Paris (Paris Observatory)

  • Print

Paris, France.

November 6, 2015

Thailand's astronomical archives centre stampeding at a fast pace

A visit to l'observatoire de Paris has been made official today by Prof. Boonrucksar Soonthornthum, Executive Director of NARIT and his team. The effort in establishing a national centre for archives in astronomy has long been his passion since the beginning of his career. The attempt has been work in process since NARIT saw the first light. "We at NARIT have always been driven by the fact that our great history and heritage in astronomy of our nation have driven us to where we are today" says Prof. Boonrucksar.

        The visit is part of Prof. Boonrucksar's mission to convene at the UNESCO's 38th session General Conference in Paris, France as the Category 2 International Training Centre in Astronomy under the Auspices of UNESCO shall be officially endorsed.



        Prof.Dr. Suzanne D├ębarbat, a world renowned astronomer renders a warm reception together with informative inspection of the whole observatory compound. Chambers dedicated to laboratories where Giovanni Cassini - the first director of l'observatoire de Paris and other late directors performed their experiments and observations are on display as Prof.Dr. D├ębarbat explains how the available instruments were used back then to accommodate their experimental purposes. All equipment and instruments are kept intact in good condition - some are still actively operational and some are currently treated as artefacts.



        L'observatoire de Paris was established in 1671 with the ambitions of King Louis XIV to extend France's maritime power and international trade. Astronomy then came at a very crucial time to expand France's horizons. Jesuits were sent sailing across the globe with a mission of scientific and geodesic purposes to locate stars to map the world. The first jesuits sent to Siam was led by Chevalier de Chaumont during the reign of King Narai in 1685 when the King of Siam displayed an utmost interest in astronomy and soon after the first official French embassy to Siam, Wat San Paulo was erected serving as Siam's first observatory merely 18 years Paris Obervatory's junior . The trace of Wat San Paulo can be seen today only in ruins and debris in Lopburi Province.


        A talk on future collaboration between NARIT and l'obsevatoire de Paris in establishing Thailand's national archives in astronomy centre has also been discussed as the need for in-depth studies of astronomical history of Thailand can be found here. "Thailand is in need of the right mechanisms to preserve our history and heritage as you can see a progressive future is built upon the great past" remarks Prof. Boonrucksar.


        Stay tuned for updates on the National Archives in Astronomy Centre by NARIT and other news on the endorsement of Category 2 International Training Centre under the Auspices of UNESCO from Paris, France.