Electronic Newsletter for the History of Astronomy - Number 16

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*      Published by the Working Group for the History of Astronomy        *
*                  in the Astronomische Gesellschaft                      *
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*                     Number 16, November 3, 1996                         *
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*                           A translation of                              *
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*                        Nr. 16,  17. August 1996                         *
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*          Edited by: Dr. Wolfgang R. Dick           *
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*      Translated by: Mr. Donald Bellunduno <76450.1741@CompuServe.COM>   *
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1. Review of: Doel, Ronald E.: Solar system astronomy in America

2. Memorials

3. Elvira Pfitzner:
   Places relating to the memories of Georg Samuel Doerffel (1643-1688)

4. History of astronomy papers presented at the German Science Historian's 
   Day, Berlin, 26-29 September 1996

5. Conference Calendar 1996/97

Expression of thanks


Addendum by the Translator: Space Calendar

Item 1                                        ENHA No. 16, November 3, 1996

Book Review

Doel, Ronald E.: Solar system astronomy in America: Communities, patronage,
and interdisciplinary science, 1920-1960. Cambridge, New York, Melbourne:
Cambridge University Press, 1996. Pp. xiv + 280, 16 unnumbered pages with
25 photographs, ISBN 0-521-41573-X, GBP 40.00, US$ 59.95 (hardbound)

The first book by the American historian of astronomy Ron Doel is based on
his dissertation at Princeton University. Using a vast number of printed
and archival sources, as well as oral-history interviews, a number of which
he carried out himself, Doel furthers a complete picture of solar system
astronomy in the USA and Canada during the first decade of this century.
Corresponding to the common definition, "solar system astronomy" excludes
solar physics. The book concentrates upon interdisciplinary works in the
overlapping zones of astronomy, geology, geophysics, and meterology. It is
also about the application of geosciences to bodies inside the solar
system, as well as about the importance of astronomical observations, e.g.,
of meteors, for studies of the Earth. Therefore, the book is of interest
not only for astronomers, but also for those working in the geosciences as
well. Astrometric measurements of solar system bodies, celestial
mechanics, cartography, and the examination of the figures of the planets
are discussed rather marginally. Since the dependence of science on social
developments of the period is also depicted, especially with respect to
financial politics, the book would also be of interest to general
historians of science.

The scientific quality of the depiction is outstanding, and the style is
demanding. Foreign readers will find it not quiet easy to comprehend; but
they will find highly interesting insights into the pre-history of the
present American scientific landscape. The interdisciplinarity of the
research described in the book was rather the source of conflicts, instead
of harmonic development, and also the Second World War and the following
Cold War caused breaks in the development.

The most often mentioned protagonists of the book are Walter S. Adams,
Ralp B. Baldwin, Dirk Brouwer, Harrison Scott Brown, Jesse Greenstein,
Gerard P. Kuiper, Armin O. Leuschner, Donald H. Menzel, Henry Norris
Russell, Harlow Shapley, Otto Struve, Harold C. Urey, Fred L. Whipple and
Rupert Wildt. Many of these researchers, as well as other astronomers
mentioned in the book, are rather known through their works in other areas.
An important realization of Ron Doel is that solar system research in no
way played the secondary role, which which was later attributed to it. Up
until the advent of space travel, astronomy was not yet separated into
specialized disciplines, and it was no problem for astronomers to work in
this and in other areas in parallel.

Biographical information is given only a limited description in the book,
and went largely unavailable within the book's index. The index also does
not refer to the footnotes, but is very carefully compiled in all other
respects. The typographical representation is excellent.

The mistakes I noted were few and do not affect the proper contents of the
book: Zoellner's first name is Karl Friedrich, not Johann (pp. 5 and
280). On page 18, it should have been written: "accuracy of fundamental
star catalogues" instead of "accuracy of fundamental star charts".
Bernhard (not Bernhardt) Schmidt was not a Soviet astronomer, but was
instead an Estonian optician and astronomer, who lived in Germany (p. 72).
The number of print errors is refreshingly marginal. Mainly, these are
contained in references to foreign-language sources.

For European readers who are not fully familiar with American history, some
of the positions in the book will only be well understood after additional
reading from other sources. One example of this is on page 152, where the
"Scopes trial" is mentioned. This was the trial of 1925 against the
teacher J. T. Scopes, who taught Darwin's theory of evolution.

All in all, the book is very worth recommending, as its price matches its

                                                  Wolfgang R. Dick, Potsdam

Item 2                                        ENHA No. 16, November 3, 1996


In ENHA No. 11 the unveiling of a commemorative plaque for Peter Andreas
Hansen on the mountain Grosser Inselsberg in the Thuringian Forest was
reported. This report was based upon an incorrect announcement in a
journal. In fact, the Hansen jubilee was only the occasion. The
inscription of the memorial unveiled on the 17th of June, 1995, reads:
"Grosser Inselsberg. First order trigonometric point for surveying. Since
the second decade of the 19th century the Grosser Inselsberg, because of
its exposed position in the central areas of Germany, has been used for
large-scale surveying measurements: for the Hanover arc measurement, the
surveyings of the Kingdom of Prussia, of the Electorate Hessen, of the
Duchies of Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha and Sachsen-Meiningen, and of the territory
of Schmalkalden, as well as for the Middle European arc measurements. With
these works, such outstanding personalities such as Carl Friedrich Gauss,
Christian Ludwig Gerling and Peter Andreas Hansen are tied together.
Deutscher Verein fuer Vermessungswesen [German Society for Surveying],
Division of Thuringia. Bund der Oeffentlich bestellten
Vermessungsingenieure [Society of German Chartered Surveyors], Division of
Thuringia. June 1995." Unfortunately, the earlier works of Franz Xaver
von Zach at the Grosser Inselberg are not mentioned. The stone is made of
black marble, and the location is marked by a stylized triginometric signal
of high-grade steel. The unveiling drew about 70 interested onlookers to
the event.
[Source: Zeitschrift fuer Vermessungswesen 120 (1995) 9, p. VII;
personal communications by G. Lencer and M. Strumpf (Gotha)]

In memory of the 250th birthday of Johann Hieronymus Schroeter (1745-1816)
a newly built street in Dresden was dedicated with his name in 1995. The
street parallel to that was given the name of Herschel. Both
recommendations came from the Heimat- und Palitzsch-Museum (Gamigstr. 24,
D-01239 Dresden, Germany). Dieter Gerdes (Lilienthal) praised Schroeters
work in an address. The street lies in the "Astronomy quarter", a section
that already comprises the Palitzschstrasse, Besselplatz, Keplerstrasse and

On the 29th of May 1996, on the former director's house next to the
observatory in Tartu (Estonia; formerly Dorpat) a commemorative plaque for
Johann Heinrich Maedler was unveiled. The tablet was donated by StD Arno
Langkavel, member of the Working Group for the History of Astronomy.

Item 3                                        ENHA No. 16, November 3, 1996

Places relating to the memories of Georg Samuel Doerffel (1643-1688)

By Elvira Pfitzner, Chemnitz

The places of activity of the theologian and astronomer Georg Samuel
Doerffel were situated in Plauen and Weida. Three streets and two objects
off our planet carry his name. In addition, there is a whole row of areas
which remind one of Doerffels achievements.

Plauen and its surroundings

The house in which Doerffel was born was located in the area of the modern
estate between the church Johanniskirche and the Topfmarkt (market place),
with one front bordering the yard of the church, and a small garden towards
the Topfmarkt. The house, situated between the Kantorgaesschen street and
a neighboring house towards Kirchgasse street, was the property of the
parents -- and went to the son after the parents died. It has not been

The Johanniskirche, in which he was baptized, and later became one of his
working estates, changed over the years. The baptismal font stems from the
life-span of Doerffel.

In the address book of 1877/78 the first mentioning of a street named after
Doerffel can be found. At the place of this street destroyed by bombs
during the Second World War on Aril 10, 1945, there is a street consisting
of two parts with new buildings. This new street has got the old name
in 1973. A small plaque is on hand to inform passers-by.

The small Doerffel Observatory on the Nussberg mountain was built by
valuntaries in the framework of the Nationales Aufbauwerk of the former
GDR. Its 3m-dome has been constructed by the Astronomy Division of the
former Kulturbund in Plauen. During the dedication of the observatory in
January of 1963 Prof. Cuno Hoffmeister took part in the ceremony.
Unfortunately, it has not been operable now for many years.

In the Vogtlandmuseum (Vogtland Museum) there exists a small showcase
reminding of Doerffel.

Since 1988 a memorial to Doerffel has stood in the Stadtpark (city park) on
the Baerenstein mountain near the train station "Oberer Bahnhof".  It was
carved by the present mayor, Dr. R. Magerkord. Besides depictions of
Doerffels life and works on five stones, there is a 5 meter tall stele with
the sculpture of a comet on top.

In Strassberg the original church has survived, in which Doerffel remained
active between 1668 to 1684. His term in office saw the consecration of
the first, i.e. the middle of the bells (ca. 1673). The chambers above
the churchs halls portray a picture from the time period as well. As in
Plauen, in Strassberg and in Oberlosa the old parish registers remained,
printed with the fine ink-draft entries from the second deacon Magister
(master of arts) Georg Samuel Doerffel (M.G.S.D.). Services in Oberlosa
were held in a small chapel, which up until 1780, remained standing on the
exact same spot as the present-day church.


Doerffel lived here in the dean's rooms up until his death. The house was
located on the ground where the present building stands today, not far from
the Stadtkirche (town church), where the ensemble's door leads up to the
edge of the river. This church also underwent renovations, but the
original altar and pulpit have been retained. Doerffel's grave lies
underneath, in the altar room. A wall epitaph with his likeness was
donated by his dependants, and can be seen hanging in the church. A look
into the parish registers clearly denotes a considerable change in quality
beginning with the year 1685. Doerffel as the new dean started registers,
and the conscientious entries made by him set an example for others. In
1988, on the ocassion of the Second Doerffel Colloqium in Plauen and Weida
in celebration of his 300th birthday, a memorial tablet was commemorated on
the front of the church.

At the Kaffee-Museum (Coffee Museum) in the street Graefenbruecker Strasse,
built between 1902 and 1904, and extended in 1914, on the side facing the
river Weida a group of reliefs can be seen, whose left side is dedicated to
Doerffel. The text is controversial.

Since 1922 Weida has had a street named Doerffelstrasse, which bends to the
right, away from the former Bismarkstrasse in the direction of river Auma.

The museum in the Osterburg castle remembered about Doerffel in the
framework of exhibits.

Since the 20th of June, 1992 the school in street Thaelmannstrasse 23 has
been known as the "Georg-Samuel-Doerffel-Gymnasium Weida". Its logo
contains a stylized comet and the name of the institution. Yearly school
festivals are given in remembrance of Doerffel.

Other places 

In Berlin, in the community of Lichtenrade, street number 27 was named
Doerfelweg on August 31, 1949. The circumstances of this naming are under

Since May 1996, in the newly refurbished permanent exhibition of the
Lutherhaus (Martin Luther House) in Eisenach, George Samuel Doerffel's life
in words and pictures can also be seen. Also, the Deutsches Evangelisches
Pfarrhaus-Archiv (German Protestant Parsonage Archives), which is located
in the Lutherhaus, holds material on Doerffel's life.


On the far side of the moon there is a crater at coordinates: 69.1 degrees
S, by 107.9 degrees W, which carries the name of Samuel Doerffel. In 1979,
the name was given it by the IAU, because the moon-mountain which was named
after Doerffel by J. H. Schroeter in 1791 could not be localized.

On the suggestion of Dr. Freimut Boerngen, an astronomer at Tautenburg, on
May 20, 1989 the IAU also named the asteroid No. 4076 discovered by him
after Doerffel.

It is possible, that there are other features which carry his name. The
research about Doerffel should also pay attention to this fact.

Additions by the editor:

Because of extensive reconstruction, the Vogtlandmuseum in Plauen (Phone:
03741-2912401) will be able to display its material about Doerffel only
after some years.

The Johanniskirche in Plauen is, dependent on weather conditions, open from
9am to 4pm. If the church is closed, one can call at the parsonage (Phone:
03741-226957). One can also inquire there as to the times for services.

The church in Plauen's district Strassberg is only open for services each
two weeks. Prospective visitors can inquire with Mrs. Christine Seeling
(Moorengasse 12, in the vicinity of the church) or call ahead to the office
at the parsonage (Phone:  03741-33241). Special Note: The parsonage is
seldom occupied, so, please call on Monday and Tuesday afternoon for the
best chance of finding someone to speak with.

The Stadtkirche in Weida is also only open for services. Prospective
visitors can either ask for admission at the neighboring church office, or
inquire for the times of services at the parsonage (Kirchplatz 4, Phone:

The medieval Osterburg castle in Weida, which is worth seeing, holds
material on Doerffel, but this is currently not on display (Phone:

The Lutherhaus with the German Protestant Parsonage Archives (Lutherplatz
8, 99817 Eisenach, Tel.:  03691-29830) is open daily 9am-5pm.

Item 4                                        ENHA No. 16, November 3, 1996

History of astronomy papers presented at the German Science Historian's 
Day, Berlin, 26-29 September 1996

Friday, 27 September 1996

Morning sessions (9am-1pm )

Changing times - and new orientations in science and society around 1600

*  Eberhard Knobloch (Berlin)
"Die gesamte Philosophie ist eine Neuerung in alter Unkenntnis" -
Keplers new orientation of astronomy around 1600

Afternoon sessions (2pm-6pm)

The new astronomy, and the order of knowledge
Organizer: Herzog August Library Wolfenbuettel

*  Barbara Bauer (Marburg)
1600 as a threshold of epochs in the dispute on the new astronomy
*  Bernd Roeck (Bonn)
Astronomy and astrology in Aby Warburg's science of cultur
*  Discussion

Saturday, 28. September 1996

Afternoon sessions (2pm-6pm)

Fin de siecle - awakening and decadence, 2nd session
Organizer: Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Geschichte der Medizin, 
Naturwissenschaft und Technik


*  Wolfgang R. Dick (Potsdam)
The transfer of the Berliner observatory to Babelsberg - a conservative
new beginning 

To find more information of the entire program, please visit this 
World Wide Web site:

Item 5                                        ENHA No. 16, November 3, 1996

Conference Calendar 1996/97

20 - 21 September 1996, Tuebingen
Meeting of the Working Group for the History of Astronomy
during the fall meeting of the Astronomische Gesellschaft
Information: W.R.Dick (For address, please see the Imprint)

21 - 28 September 1996, Great Britain
National Astronomy Week 1996
Theme: the 150th anniversary of the discovery of the planet Neptune
Information: Jodrell Bank Science Centre, Macclesfield, Cheshire,
SK11 9DL, Great Britain, Telephone Hot Line: 01477 571874,
Fax: 01477 571875
URL: http://www.ast.cam.ac.uk/~naw96/

27 - 28 September 1996, Toronto, Canada
2nd Annual Conference of the North American Sundial Society
Please submit title and an abstract of not more than 250 words to
Frederick W. Sawyer III, 8 Sachem Drive, Glastonbury CT 06033 USA (fax:
203-275-5295, email: 71541.1662@compuserve.com) no later than June 15,
For information on the conference, address inquiries to: 1996 NASS
Conference, Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and
Technology, Victoria College, 73 Queen's Park Crescent, Toronto, Ontario
M5S 1K7, Canada, or to the conference coordinator Phyllis Rose at
URL: http://glen-ellyn.iit.edu/~clocks/clocks/sundial/nass/ann2conf.html

1 July 1997, Birr, Co. Offaly, Ireland
Royal Astronomical Society Regional Meeting to celebrate the
reconstruction of the 72 inch telescope built by the 3rd Earl of Rosse in
the mid 19th century.
Information: Royal Astronomical Society, Burlington House, London W1V 0NL,
Great Britain, Tel: (0171) 734-4582 or (0171) 734-3307,
Fax: (0171) 494-0166


Expression of thanks

For information we thank: 

Christine and Rudolf Dick (Elsterberg), Heino Eelsalu (Tartu), Siegfried
Koge (Dresden), Gunter Lencer (Gotha), Oliver Schwarz (Gotha), Manfred
Strumpf (Gotha), Lutherhaus Eisenach, Museum der Osterburg Weida, Pfarramt
der Johanniskirche Plauen, Pfarramt Plauen-Strassberg, Pfarramt Weida,
Vogtlandmuseum Plauen.



Electronic Newsletter for the History of Astronomy (ENHA)

A translation of "Elektronische Mitteilungen zur Astronomiegeschichte"

Published by the Working Group for the History of Astronomy in the
Astronomische Gesellschaft

Editor: Dr. Wolfgang R. Dick 

Translated and Co-Edited by: Mr. Donald Bellunduno 

All news which is not quoted by name are editorial contributions.
Articles as well as information for the several sections will be gladly

Subscription for the ENHA is free.

Astronomische Gesellschaft / Astronomical Society:

Chairman: Prof. Dr. Hanns Ruder, University of Tuebingen, Theoretical
Astrophysics and Computational Physics, Auf der Morgenstelle 10, D-72076

Secretary: Dr. G. Klare, Landessternwarte, Koenigstuhl, 
D-69117 Heidelberg

Arbeitskreis Astronomiegeschichte / Working Group for the History of

URL: http://aibn55.astro.uni-bonn.de:8000/~pbrosche/aa/aa.html

Chairman: Prof. Dr. Peter Brosche, Observatorium Hoher List der
Sternwarte der Universitaet Bonn, D-54550 Daun, Germany, 
Tel.: (+6592) 2150, Fax: (+6592) 2937

Secretary: Dr. Wolfgang R. Dick, Institut fuer Angewandte Geodaesie,
Aussenstelle Potsdam, Postfach 60 08 08, D-14408 Potsdam, Germany,
Tel.: (+331) 316 619, E-mail: wdi@potsdam.ifag.de

Secretary for Public Relations: Dr. Gudrun Wolfschmidt, Deutsches
Museum, Museumsinsel 1, D-80538 Muenchen, Germany, Tel.: (+89) 2179 277, 
Fax: (+89) 2179 324, E-mail: kdq01ag@sunmail.lrz-muenchen.de

Treasurer: Dr. Reinhard Schielicke, Universitaetssternwarte,
Schillergaesschen 2, D-07745 Jena, Tel.: (+3641) 63 03 36,
E-mail: schie@georg.astro.uni-jena.de

Bank Acct. of the Working Group of the Astronomische Gesellschaft:
Acct # 333 410 41, Sparkasse Bochum (BLZ 430 500 01)
Contributions from foreign countries: acct # 162 18-203, Postgiroamt
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Please sign with: "Fuer Arbeitskreis Astronomiegeschichte" 


Addendum by the Translator: Space Calendar

The Space Calendar covers space-related activities and anniversaries
for the upcoming year. It is also available on the World Wide Web at:


The WWW version of the Space Calendar includes over 300 links to other
home pages that have additional information on that subject.

This calendar is compiled and maintained by Ron Baalke. Please send any
updates or corrections to baalke@kelvin.jpl.nasa.gov. Note that 
anniversary dates are listed in 5 year increments only.

Non-historical items have been deleted from the original calendar.
Anniversaries from January 1996 to May 1997 have already been given in
ENHA 13 and 14. Here only additions and corrections will be presented.

November 1996
  Nov 05 - Fred Whipple's 90th Birthday
  Nov 12 - 15th Anniversary (1981), STS-2 Launch (Columbia)
  Nov 16 - 30th Anniversary (1966), Leonids Meteor Storm
  Nov 29 - 35th Anniversary (1961), Mercury Atlas 5 Launch (Enos the Chimp)

December 1996
  Dec 21 - 30th Anniversary (1966), Luna 13 Launch (Soviet Moon Lander)

March 1997
  Mar 05 - 15th Anniversary (1982), Venera 14 Venus Flyby/Landing (USSR)
  Mar 10 - 20th Anniversary (1977), Discovery of Rings Around Uranus
  Mar 16 - 35th Anniversary (1962), Maiden Launch of the Titan 2 Rocket
  Mar 22 - 15th Anniversary (1982), STS-3 Launch (Columbia)
  Mar 28 - 195th Anniversary (1802), Wilhelm Olber's Discovery of the
           2nd Asteroid, Pallas
  Mar 29 - 190th Anniversary (1807), Wilhelm Olber's Discovery of 
           Asteroid 4 Vesta

April 1997
  Apr 15 - Wilbur Wright's 130th Birthday (1867)
  Apr 16 - 25th Anniversary (1972), Apollo 16 Launch (Manned Moon Landing)
  Apr 24 - 30th Anniversary (1967), Soyuz 1 Accident, Cosmonaut Killed

June 1997
  Jun 12 - 30th Anniversary (1967), Venera 4 Launch (Soviet Venus Lander)
  Jun 14 - 30th Anniversary (1967), Mariner 5 Launch (Venus Flyby)

July 1997
  Jul 01 - 150th Anniversary (1847), Hind's Discovery of the Asteroid 6 Hebe
  Jul 06 - 310th Anniversary (1687), Isaac Newton's Principia Published
  Jul 10 - Alvan Clark's 165th Birthday (1832)
  Jul 10 - 35th Anniversary (1962), Telstar 1 Launch, First Active 
           Real-Time Communications Satellite
  Jul 13 - Langley Research Center's 80th Birthday (1917)
  Jul 19 - 30th Anniversary (1967), Explorer 35 Launch (Moon Orbiter)
  Jul 22 - 25th Anniversary (1972), Venera 8 Venus Landing

August 1997
  Aug 01 - 30th Anniversary (1967), Lunar Orbiter 5 Launch
  Aug 10 - 25th Anniversary (1972), Observation of Only Known Meteor Known
           to Enter and Leave Earth's Atmosphere (Utah, Canada)
  Aug 11 - 35th Anniversary (1962), Vostok 3 Launch
  Aug 11 - 120th Anniversary (1877), Asaph Hall's Discovery of Mars Moon 
  Aug 12 - 35th Anniversary (1962), Vostok 4 Launch
  Aug 13 - 150th Anniversary (1847), Hind's Discovery of Asteroid 7 Iris
  Aug 17 - 120th Anniversary (1877), Asaph Hall's Discovery of Mars Moon Phobos
  Aug 20 - 20th Anniversary (1977), Voyager 2 Launch
  Aug 27 - 35th Anniversary (1962), Mariner 2 Launch (Venus Flyby Mission)

September 1997
  Sep 05 - 20th Anniversary (1977), Voyager 1 Launch
  Sep 08 - 30th Anniversary (1967), Surveyor 5 Launch (Moon Lander)
  Sep 09 - 105th Anniversary (1892), Edward Barnard's Discovery of Jupiter Moon Amalthea
  Sep 17 - Konstantin Tsiolkovsky's 140th Birthday (1857)

October 1997
  Oct 03 - 35th Anniversary (1962), Zagami Meteorite Fall (Mars Meteorite)
  Oct 03 - 35th Anniversary (1962), Sigma 7 Launch (Walter Schirra)
  Oct 04 - 40th Anniversary (1957), Sputnik 1 Launch
  Oct 05 - Robert Goddard's 115th Birthday (1882)
  Oct 10 - 35th Anniversary (1962), Mariner 2 Discovery of Solar Winds
  Oct 14 - 50th Anniversary (1947), Chuck Yeager Breaks the Sound Barrier
  Oct 18 - 150th Anniversary (1847), Hind's Discovery of Asteroid Flora
  Oct 18 - 30th Anniversary (1967), Venera 4, Venus Landing
  Oct 18 - 20th Anniversary (1977), Kowall's Discovery of Chiron
  Oct 19 - 30th Anniversary (1967), Mariner 5, Venus Flyby
  Oct 20 - Sir Christopher Wren's 365th Birthday (1632)
  Oct 21 - Yerkes Observatory's 100th Birthday (1897)
  Oct 25 - Henry Russell's 120th Birthday (1877)

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