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Victor Hugo observes the Moon at the Observatory

The famous visitors of the Observatory included the writer Victor Hugo (1802-1885), who came to observe the Moon, and produced a prose poem as a consequence, the Promontorium somnii. It begins: “I still remember that a long time ago, on a summer night in 1834, I went to the Observatory. This was in Paris, where I was living. The night was fine, the air pure, the sky calm with a crescent Moon: one could see with the naked eye the shape of the dark roundness, the ashen light. Arago was at home, he invited me to the platform. There was a telescope which enlarged four hundred times. Arago set up the telescope and said: look.” For the full text and other details, see

caption : Victor Hugo’s portrait - credits : Observatoire de Paris