PHILIPPE PSAILA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PHILIPPE PSAILA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Pic du Midi observatory in the French Pyrenees mountains, long exposure image. The dome houses one of the observatory's optical telescopes. The site's high altitude (over 2800 metres) means that astronomical observations are less affected by atmospheric pollution and air turbulence than they would be at lower altitudes. The observatory was founded in 1882. Apart from astronomy, the site is used for other scientific research, such as meteorology, and houses an important TV, radio and communications transmission centre. It has also become a tourist attraction. Star trails are seen on long exposures due to the Earth's rotation.
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