The Astronomical Observatory of University of Coimbra carries out scientific activities, research and teaching in astronomy. It was created following the reforms of the Marquis of Pombal, a complicated process only successfully completed at the end of the 18th century.
The original design, for a majestic building, was abandoned in September 1775, probably due to its high cost. Another building was erected in the Patio of the University in 1790. The setting up of the Astronomy Observatory of University of Coimbra was of unquestionable value for the development of studies in astronomy in Portugal. It was the first large observatory in the country and demonstrated the contemporary urge to link theoretical studies with practical observation, in this way bringing actual advantages for science in Portugal.
The University Observatory functioned on its first site for nearly 150 years. In the 20th century, in the early forties , the new plan for the University campus envisaged the demolition of the Observatório Terreiro, with the aim of assigning new and more consistent facilities to it, so that space could be liberated in the University square.
As part of its attributions, the Astronomy Observatory organises many events, some of a scientific nature such as conferences and lectures, for specialists, and others, for the general public, such as astronomical observations and school visits.