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Escolas de Minas Observatory, Ouro Preto, Brazil

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About this observation
Observer
Mike Frost
Time of observation
26/03/2017 - 11:00
Observing location
Ouro Preto, Minas Gerais, Brazil
Equipment
Microsoft Surface Tablet
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I spent most of the month of March working in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. On one of my few days off, I and my colleagues drove to Ouro Preto, a world heritage site to the south of Belo. Ouro Preto ("black gold" in Portuguese) was a goldrush town in the eighteenth century - in 1750 it was the most populous town in the Americas, twice as big as New York. These days it is a popular tourist destination because of its history and its many ornate baroque buildings, particularly its churches. A highlight is the Escolas de Minas or school of mining; a working university with an excellent science museum. The most impressive part of the museum is the extensive collection of gemstones (under guard!) but there is also an observatory on the top of the building. It dates from 1926 and features a german-built refractor, one of the largest in Brazil. Unfortunately I can't tell you any more because the observatory was closed to the public until mid-April. I have contacted the school of mining to ask for more information and will be letting the historical section know more, no doubt, in our next newsletter.

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