observatory

[uhb-zur-vuh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee]
noun, plural observatories.
1.
a place or building equipped and used for making observations of astronomical, meteorological, or other natural phenomena, especially a place equipped with a powerful telescope for observing the planets and stars.
2.
an institution that controls or carries on the work of such a place.
3.
a place or structure that provides an extensive view; lookout.

Origin:
1670–80; < Latin observā(re) to observe + -tory2

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World English Dictionary
observatory (əbˈzɜːvətərɪ, -trɪ)
 
n , pl -ries
1.  an institution or building specially designed and equipped for observing meteorological and astronomical phenomena
2.  any building or structure providing an extensive view of its surroundings

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

observatory
1670s (in ref. to Greenwich), from Fr. observatoire, from observer (v.), from O.Fr. (see observe).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
The result is an image that is sharper than what a ground-based observatory could produce.
Maintenance of ocean observatory platforms is extremely expensive and prohibitive to deployment.
Adaptive optics put the observatory at the cutting edge.
The pace of extrasolar planet discovery is about to explode, thanks to a new space-based observatory.
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