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Hvar Observatory

This post is also available in: Hrvatski (Croatian)

Hvar Observatory was established in 1972 as a joint endeavor of the Council for Scientific work of the Socialist Republic of Croatia and the Astronomical Institute of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences, Ondrejov. The financial matters and the use of the Observatory are managed by co-founder the Faculty of Geodesy of the University of Zagreb.

It is situated on the southern coast of the island of Hvar just above the town of Hvar, on a steep hill 238 m above sea level, in the historical fortification “Napoljun” built by the French in the 19th century during the Napoleonic wars. Because of its historical looks and idyllic position, the Observatory is often mistaken to be a touristic site, as it offers a beautiful view on the town of Hvar, surrounded by low mediterranean vegetation, which is gradually replaced by pine woods in the lower part of the hill.

The town of Hvar is famous for its high annual average of sunny days and an entirely different climate from that of the mainland coast. According to long term records regularly taken at the meteorological station in the town of Hvar, the annual average is approximately 100 sunny days (Vujnović, 1977). Thus, good weather conditions have not only helped the town of Hvar to become one of the most popular Croatian sea resorts, but also brought to the establishment of the Hvar Observatory and building of the double solar telescope and 65 cm stellar telescope. In 2001 a third telescope was added to the list of the instruments at the Observatory, the 1 m Austro-Croatian telescope. All three telescopes are fully operational and in use. Also a seismological station has been set up within the observatory site, as a part of the international project “seismicity of the Balkan Region” (1971-1976), which is also still fully functional and in use.

The Observatory employs 9 solar and stellar physicist and members of the technical staffs, who manage telescopes and the current issues of the Observatory, but also participate in the national and international scientific projects.  In 1977 a scientific journal called “the Hvar Observatory Bulletin” was founded, which later on became a predominantly astrophysical journal and renamed in 2005 into “Central European Astrophysical Bulletin”. Every two years the Hvar Observatory organizes an international scientific conference „the Hvar colloqium“, in the town of Hvar, where scientists from around the world can present their efforts in the field of solar and stellar astrophysics. The proceedings of the conference are published in the “Central European Astrophysical Bulletin”.

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