Geneva Observatory Visit

23 Oct. 2010

24 hearty souls arrived at the Auberge du Lion d’Or in Versoix for a lovely luncheon before joining another 10 at the Observatoire de l’Université de Genève à Sauverny.

The Geneva Observatory has two main telescopes on site and is connected to several other telescopes which are managed by the University; some located halfway round the world in Chile, among others. Our guide, Amaury Triaud, goes to Chile about twice a year for settings and direct observations. Data and instructions go between the two sites regularly by satellite. We also had a close-up look at one of the telescopes in the Observatory. We were given an introduction to modern astronomy by way of a collection of Hubble Telescope views of lots of bodies out there. The main thrust however of the work in Geneva is the identification of exo-planets – planets orbiting other stars which might have conditions similar to those in our solar system and maybe similar to those on earth. Geneva’s astronomers discovered the first of these and about half of the 450 or so now known. The Q&A was very active. Overall the day was extra-terrestrial!

Howard Hornfeld