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National Observatory of Athens (NOA)

The National Observatory of Athens (NOA) was founded in 1842, the first research centre of Modern Greece. Its history is inextricably linked with the evolution of basic and applied research, the development of services provided to the Greek State and society at large, and the promotion and popularisation of science. Its progress was marked by enlightened and renowned scientists who paved the way to knowledge, including D. Eginitis (founder of the Academy of Athens), I. Smit, (created the first topographic map of the Moon), S. Plakidis (founder of the Penteli Astronomical Station), D. Kotsakis (founder of the Kryoneri Observatory), A. Galanopoulos and I. Drakopoulos (renowned Greek seismologists), etc., national benefactors, including S. Sinas, A. Syggros, D. Doridis, S. Korgialenios, etc., as well as leading architects including Theofil Hansen and Ernst Ziller. In the recent past, NOA continued to thrive thanks to the vision and dynamism of former NOA Presidents George Veis, George Kontopoulos, Dimitrios Lalas, Christos Zerefos and Kanaris Tsiganos.

Basic research is at the forefront of NOA’s enduring scientific legacy; it is carried out by the three NOA institutes specializing in different scientific fields: (a) the Institute for Astronomy, Astrophysics, Space Applications and Remote Sensing (IAASARS), specializing in the fields of astronomy, astrophysics, space science and remote sensing; (b) the Institute for Environmental Research and Sustainable Development (IERSD) specializing in the fields of air quality, environmental monitoring, meteorology, climate and climate change; and (c) the Geodynamic Institute (GI) specializing in physics of the Earth’s interior and Earth surface deformation monitoring using remote sensing methods, in seismology, geophysics, volcanology, satellite geodesy and marine seismology.

At the same time, NOA is committed to applied research through participation in international and national research programmes, to acquiring and processing data through measurements and computational tools, conducting relevant studies and enhancing provision of innovative services, and providing information and support to public authorities, the private and public sectors and the general public.

In order to support both basic and applied research, NOA promotes consistently the development of innovative facilities in support of research activities carried out by all its institutes; it currently operates more than 550 land-based measurement stations covering the entire Greek territory, which are equipped with antennae and satellite signal receivers so that they can access numerous satellites for acquiring high-fidelity data.

In this context, NOA has achieved excellence and developed infrastructures of scale for the prevention and management of major natural hazards and disasters through funding from EU Competitive Programmes. Provision of this kind of services is based on the operation of specialized units relying on space science and technology, on NOA terrestrial infrastructure, or both. These services are addressed to the Greek and international community of crisis management bodies and services. More specifically, NOA supports the operational centres of the Greek public services and ministries involved, including the Fire Department Operational Centre, the Ministry of Environment and Energy, local government Civil Protection Services, etc. Moreover, NOA enjoys high international recognition; it participates actively in the global Earth Observation and Monitoring Programme for natural disaster and humanitarian crises management, providing assistance to Civil Protection Services and local government authorities around the world at least once a month.

NOA has become a focal point for the provision of innovative and applied services in the fields of natural hazard and disaster prediction, detection and monitoring, as well as impact management services, in Southeastern Europe, the Balkans, the Middle East and North Africa.

Lastly, NOA has had a major contribution in the popularisation and dissemination of research outcomes and is committed to consistently disseminating knowledge to the general public, with successful Visitor Centres in Penteli, Thission and Kryoneri (Corinthia), through educational programmes addressed to schools, individual families and visitors, as well as vulnerable social groups. More specifically, NOA Visitor Centres are open to groups of refugee children as well as to disabled people of all ages. The National Observatory of Athens is committed to maintaining the outward-looking character of its Centres, by providing not only educational but also cultural activities with a view to becoming both scientific and cultural-archaeological hubs linking science and art.


Contact Details

National Observatory of Athens

Address: Lofos Nymphon - Thissio, Athens

Postal Code:11810  Greece

Tel: 210-3490000, 210 3490104

Fax: 210 - 3490159



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