The building of the Astronomical Observatory outside Sofia near to the modern Maria Luisa basin started at the initiative of Prof. Dr.Sc.(Econ.) Buchevarov, the first instructor in Astrophysics at the Higher School (as the University was initially known). The Borisova Garden of today is a meadow in the town of Slatina that has reached Orlov Most. The ancient structure and the huge dome were finished in 1897, 30 years before the Rector’s foundations were laid.
The first observation apparatus of the new observatory is the vision tube of Dr. Peter Beron, a notable Bulgarian Renaissance scientist. His nephew Stefan Beron presented it to the Bulgarian Literary Society in 1886, who then handed it to the Higher School in 1892. This is the first astronomical observation gadget used for training. The visual tube, along with other astronomical equipment from the Observatory’s early days, is now on exhibit at the National Polytechnic Museum in Sofia’s permanent exposition.
Prof. Buchevarov has been supplying several astronomical equipment for many years, the most notable of which is an equatorial fit Grubb telescope with a 6 inch lens (15.2 cm). This is Bulgaria’s first permanent foundation telescope. It has been utilized for astronomy instruction at the University since 1897. The telescope is still operational today, having been refurbished in 2004.
The University Astronomical Observatory was one of the Balkans’ earliest observatories. Its primary activity throughout its initial few years of existence is educational. Rarely have scientific observations been undertaken. Prof. Buchevarov saw Halley’s comet in 1910, and student A. Kunchev estimated the comet’s ephemerals. Kiril Popov, a youthful assistant, presented his observations of Halley’s Comet at the Observatory in two pieces in the Comptes Rendus of the French Academy. Buckevarov’s observations and recalculations of the eclipse conditions of the Sun and Moon, as well as the occultations of stars by the moon, have been recorded.
Academician Nikola Bonev (from 1928 to 1965), the second director of the Astronomical Observatory and the Department, modernized the observatory to European standards. The yard is growing; a new structure with an audience for training sessions and a terrace for astronomical views, as well as another smaller dome, has been constructed. The observatory has been a legal Service of the Right Time since 1942. This essential effort was completed till 1986.
The Observatory was actively engaged in the monitoring of the first artificial satellites launched on Earth.
The Observatory now has a contemporary toolbox for training in the bachelor’s and master’s programs in astronomy — telescopes, CCD cameras, spectrographs, and so forth.