Day 160. l’Observatoire de Paris

In January 2013 on January 19, 2013 at 7:10 am


Full of gusto, today I skipped up to the Paris Observatory (shown above) to book in for a tour.

The bewildered-looking man at the door stated that was only possible if I contact them by email, 3 weeks in advance.

Right then. Gusto gone.

By way of replacement, I walked around the periphery of the institution and snapped a few photos.

Here’s a shot of a clock!

atomic clock

It’s not just any old clock though. The text reads*:

The Paris Observatory tracks and sets the official French time.

The official French time is determined by the atomic clock at the national meterology laboratory LNE-SYRTE at the Paris Observatory.

In 2008, the clock was determined to be accurate to within 0.0000001 of a second.

Since 1967, one second has been defined as 9,192,631,770 cycles of microwave light absorbed or emitted by the hyperfine transition of cesium-133 atoms in their ground state undisturbed by external fields.

*Disclaimer: translation by myself with my sister’s help. Please don’t change your household clocks based on this information. For the last sentence we sought a bit of help here.

  1. I love the french, having to email three weeks in advance is sooooo typical.

  2. oh I know! nearly laughed out loud on the spot it was so typical 🙂

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