Les 350 ans de l'Observatoire de Paris

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The white room

Astronomers do not simply observe or calculate: they work with engineers and technicians to construct observational instruments, more often than not within the framework of major international institutions such as the European Southern Observatory or the European Space Agency. These instruments are increasingly complex and fragile, and certain optical and electronic components must be studied and built in special dust-free, pressurized and extremely clean environments, usually referred to as white rooms, that can only be entered wearing special protective clothing.