Observatory of Saint-Véran

November 06, 2019


Photographer: Jean-François Gely 
Summary Authors: Jean-François Gely; Jim Foster

Featured above is the Observatory of Saint-Véran in the Hautes-Alpes of eastern France. This 180-degree panoramic view was captured in late summer, on August 19, 2019. The Sun is rising at left, and at far right, the Belt of Venus can be detected. Note that the new season’s first snow has already fallen here. Mountain peaks in the vicinity of the observatory reach over 13,120 ft (4,000 m) so summer snowfalls are not unusual.

One of the first major discoveries made from the Observatory of Saint-Véran was asteroid 48159 Saint-Véran. At an altitude of 9,613 ft (2,930 m), the observatory’s telescopes are high enough (it’s the second-highest observatory in Europe) and far enough removed from city lights to offer near optimum seeing conditions. The nearby hamlet of Saint-Véran is the highest village in all of France.