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presentation                           Nacional–ON, an institution founded five years after the inde-
                                                                                                                                                                                     In 2012 we celebrated the 185th anniversary of the Observatório

                                                                                                                                                             Sergio Luiz Fontes    pendence of Brazil with the mission of carrying out astronomical
                                                                                                                                                                    Director       and meteorological observations required to determine the time,
                                                                                                                                                                                   demarcation of geographical locations and knowledge of this young
                                                                                                                                                                                   nation’s climate. Throughout this period, both the country and the
                                                                                                                                                                                   areas of astronomy, geophysics and metrology in time and frequency
                                                                                                                                                                                   experienced significant transformations.  Amid these changes are
                                                                                                                                                                                   made, and continues to be made, the history of the Observatório

                                                                                                                                                                                     A  history  that  brings  together  many  achievements  and  some
                                                                                                                                                                                   failures, which features landmarks of perseverance, boldness and
                                                                                                                                                                                   innovation, but also moments of fragility caused by the political-
                                                                                                                                                                                   administrative uncertainties of some epochs.  If today it seems there
                                                                                                                                                                                   is no doubt about the importance of science to the social develop-
                                                                                                                                                                                   ment of the country, this is due to the persistent work of scientific
                                                                                                                                                                                   institutions – among them our Institute is a pioneer - who crossed
                                                                                                                                                                                   the various political regimes and governments in Brazil’s history.
                                                                                                                                                                                   Being part of this history is our pride.

                                                                                                                                                                                     We celebrate the 185 years of ON with the release of this book.
                                                                                                                                                                                   Our aim is to record the trajectory of ON in the scientific-techno-
                                                                                                                                                                                   logical frame, with eyes of whom today is dedicated to the institu-
                                                                                                                                                                                   tion. We, professionals working at the Observatório Nacional, we
                                                                                                                                                                                   mark our presence with projects and daily work, our enthusiasm
                                                                                                                                                                                   for science and our dedication to training new professionals. Thus,
                                                                                                                                                                                   we are sure that our actions will result in the next that also will be
                                                                                                                                                                                   protagonists of scientific, institutional and social transformations
                                                                                                                                                                                   of our country. Our history persists because it is continually built,
                                                                                                                                                                                   preserved and passed on.  New looks are welcome!

     8     OBSERVATÓRIO NACIONAL                                                                                                                                                   PROTAGONISTA DO DESENVOLVIMENTO CIENTÍFICO-TECNOLÓGICO DO BRASIL      9
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