Les 350 ans de l'Observatoire de Paris

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The astronomer's office

The popular, romantic image of an astronomer spending his nights glued to his telescope, shivering in the cold of the night, is practically a part of history. Many telescopes are now robotize or under remote control. The instruments on the giant telescopes, or the large radio-telescopes, are now so complex that they are essentially used by specialists who are attached to observatories in distant places where is sky is clear. The astronomer sits in his office and communicates with specialists who ensure that the observations are carried out correctly. He receives the results over the Internet, in the same way as he receives data from space telescopes; he interprets and publishes his conclusions via his computer. This is not so romantic, but much more efficient.