Vilnius University Astronomical Observatory, founded in 1753, is one of the oldest in Europe. It was founded on the initiative of mathematician and astronomer Tomas Žebrauskas and with the support of the founder Elizabeth Oginskaitė-Puzinienė. The Observatory was especially prosperous when it was headed by Martyns Pocobutas (1728 - 1810), a mathematician and astronomer, a correspondent member of the Paris Academy of Sciences, a member of the Royal Society of London, rector of Vilnius University (1780-1799).
In 1876, the Astronomical Observatory in Vilnius was devastated by fire. It was closed by order of Tsar Alexander III, and many devices were distributed to various institutions of the Russian Empire.
Until 2018, employees of the Astronomical Observatory of the Faculty of Physics of Vilnius University have been honoured to indicate the Astronomical Observatory of Vilnius University as an affiliation in their scientific publications. Nowadays, this honour is granted to the staff of the Institute of Theoretical Physics and Astronomy of Vilnius University.