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Pic du Midi

The Observatory of Pic du Midi is located in the French Pyrenees and holds the largest telescope of France.

Construction of the observatory began in 1878, it went to the possession of the French state in 1882. A 106-centimetre (42-inch) telescope was installed in 1963 funded by NASA and was used to take detailed photographs of the surface of the Moon in preparation for the Apollo missions. A 2 metre telescope, known as the Bernard Lyot Telescope was placed at the observatory in 1980 on top of a 28 metre column built off to the side to avoid wind turbulence affecting the seeing of the other telescopes. Saturn's moon Helene (Saturn VII or Dione B), was discovered by Pierre Laques and Jean Lecacheux in 1980 from ground-based observations at Pic du Midi Observatory, and named Helene in 1988.

Pic du Midi 1 reversePic du Midi 1 obverse

A tourist token depicts the observatory on its obverse. The dome and and the setting Sun dominates the scene. Legend around is: "PIC DU MIDI" and "ALT 2877 m". This latest refers to its altitude above the sea level. The revers shows the emblem of the issuer: MONNAIE DE PARIS. The year of issue, 2005 is also marked.