Electronic Newsletter for the History of Astronomy - Number 38

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*      Published by the Working Group for the History of Astronomy        *
*                  in the Astronomische Gesellschaft                      *
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*                      Number 38,  July 30, 1999                          *
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*                     Edited by: Wolfgang R. Dick                         *
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1. Sean McGibbon: Birr Castle Demesne

2. Dimitris Sinachopoulos: Telescope named after Aristarchos of Samos

3. Peter D. Hingley: Exhibitions in Britain for the 1999 Total Eclipse

4. Exhibitions

5. Conferences 1999

6. New Books



Item 1                                           ENHA No. 38, July 30, 1999

Birr Castle Demesne

By Sean McGibbon, Birr, Ireland


Birr Castle Demesne, situated in the middle of Ireland, holds a unique
position in the history of science and technology in both Ireland and
indeed the rest of the world. For over three hundred years, the
generations of the Parsons family who have lived, and still live, in the
castle have made important contributions to the following areas of


William, the Third Earl of Rosse discovered the spiral nature of the
galaxies beyond our own with his 36 inch (0.9 m) and 72 inch (1.8 m)
reflecting telescopes, in addition to making drawings of features on the
Moon and Jupiter. For over 75 years, the 1.8 m telescope remained the
largest in the world. Both mirrors and telescopes, as well as the
observatories, were designed and constructed by the Third Earl within the
grounds of the Birr Castle Demesne. The Fourth Earl used the 0.9 m to
discover the heat of the surface of the Moon. The 1.8 m telescope is
almost fully restored and is now used on a daily basis for demonstration


Mary, Countess of Rosse, and wife of William, the Third Earl, was a pioneer
in the then new technology of photography and the first woman to win the
Silver medal award of the Royal Photographic Society of Ireland for her
work in the 1850's. She experimented with various early photographic
techniques and used them to take excellent photographs of the area and
people around Birr Castle.


Charles Parsons, youngest son of the Third Earl, invented and patented the
multi-stage steam turbine, in the early 1890's. This revolutionised travel
at the turn of the century and provided the power to drive such famous
ocean liners such as the Mauritania and the Queen Elizabeth, as well as
allowing a new method of generating electricity, which is widely used in
power stations throughout the world. Irelands first suspension bridge is
also within the grounds of the Castle.


Rated with five stars in the official list of Gardens of Outstanding
Historic Interest, Birr Castle Demesne is over 100 acres in extent. Among
its main features are the formal gardens, designed around a 17th century
plan, and the tallest Box Hedges in the world. Birr Castle Demesne has one
of the world's greatest collections of trees and shrubs and is particularly
strong in species of Chinese and Himalayan origin.

Ireland's Historic Science Centre

Ireland's Historic Science Centre contains astronomical instruments,
cameras, photographs and photographic equipment used by the Third and
Fourth Earls and Mary, Countess of Rosse, in the middle and late 1800s.
Also on display is electrical and engineering equipment originally
belonging to Charles Parsons and used in his experiments as well as a large
area devoted to the botanical work carried out in the Demesne. The whole
collection is housed in the restored stables of the castle. Details of the
work of prominent Irish scientists is also available here.

Visiting Birr Castle Demesne and archival research

Birr Castle Demesne is open all the year round (0900 to 1800 hours) and
enquires regarding guided tours and research projects can be made in by
post, e-mail or through an electronic booking form on the Birr Castle
Website at http://www.birrcastle.com .

Birr Castle's e-mail address for general enquiries is info@birrcastle.com .

For enquiries regarding the telescope, please contact the autor at
mcgibbon@iol.ie .

You can also contact Birr Castle by post or telephone at:

Birr Castle Demesne, Birr, Co. Offaly, Ireland
Telephone: + 353 509 20336/22154
Fax: +353 509 21583

Item 2                                           ENHA No. 38, July 30, 1999

Telescope named after Aristarchos of Samos

By Dimitris Sinachopoulos, Athens

(From: "Elektronische Mitteilungen zur Astronomiegeschichte" Nr. 41,
27. Mai 1999, Item 3.)

The Astronomical Institute of the National Observatory of Athens (AI-NOA)
decided to call "Aristarchos" its new 2.3m RC telescope, in honor of the
big astronomer Aristarchos of Samos. The new 2.3m telescope has been under
construction by Zeiss-Jena since last summer. We intend to install it at a
new European site on the top of the mountain Aroaneia (Chelmos) at an
altitude of 2350m, north Peloponnesus, southern Greece.

Author's address: Dr. Dimitris Sinachopoulos, e-mail: ds@astro.noa.gr

Item 3                                           ENHA No. 38, July 30, 1999

Exhibitions in Britain for the 1999 Total Eclipse

By Peter D. Hingley, London

(From: "Elektronische Mitteilungen zur Astronomiegeschichte" Nr. 42,
21. Juli 1999, Item 3.)

Are you visiting Britain / the West Country / the Channel Islands around
the time of the Solar Eclipse on 1999 August 11? If so you may like to
visit one or more of the following exhibitions which have been put on to
coincide with it. All the exhibitions listed contain some material from
the RAS collections and I have described this, but of course they all
include much material from other sources. If contacting any of the Museums
you may like to mention this message. If anyone is producing TV, Radio or
Press coverage of the Eclipse, I am sure the museums in question would be
very pleased to have a mention to give publicity for their exhibitions. I
can provide personal contact details at any of the Museums on request, but
thought it better not to put these in a general message.


The Royal Cornwall Museum has mounted an exhibition `The Story of
Astronomy in Cornwall', which opened on 10th July. The opening was
attended by Professor Tony Hewish, himself born in Fowey, and the
exhibition features various aspects of astronomy and of eclipses, the
discovery of Pulsars, and the work of other Cornish-born astronomers such
as Edwin Dunkin and John Couch Adams. The RAS Library has lent various
rare book and archive material, notably the manuscript Autobiography of
Edwin Dunkin, an edition of which is to be published by the Royal
Institution of Cornwall during the run of the exhibition. The exhibition
is open from 10am to 5pm, Monday to Saturday, until 11th September, and the
charge for admission to the Museum is pounds 2.50 (with concessions). For
further information please telephone the Museum (01872 272205).


The Guernsey Museum and Art Gallery in Candie Gardens, St Peter Port, has
an exhibition `Eclipse 99', which was opened on 17th June by Dr Patrick
Moore. The exhibition covers both the history of astronomy and of eclipse
observation, and includes much modern information on the Sun, including
interactive computer displays. The display also includes a piece of Moon
rock lent by NASA, and outside the Gallery a coelostat projects a real-
time image of the Sun when the latter is visible. (It usually is in
Guernsey). The RAS Library has supplied various images for the exhibition
and loaned a watercolour of an Eclipse in 1870 by the Guernsey born artist
P J Naftel. The exhibition also features prominently the work of the
pioneer astrophotographer Warren de la Rue, born in Guernsey in 1815. The
exhibition is open daily until 26th September 1999, and admission to the
Museum costs pounds 2.50 for adults, 1.25 for senior citizens, children and
students free. For further information please telephone the Museum (01481


The City of Plymouth Museum and Art Gallery's exhibition `The Dark Side of
the Sun', opened on 8th May. It covers a wide range of the history of
Astronomy and of navigation, as well as `just' eclipses. A considerable
number of significant books and artefacts, not normally on public display,
have been lent from the RAS collection, including the first editions of
Newton's `Principia' and of Copernicus' `De Revolutionibus', Flamsteed's
`Atlas Coelestis', and various other rare books, and several instruments
including a sextant said to have been used by Captain Cook. The exhibition
has received support from the University of Plymouth, European Space
Agency, PPARC, and Orchid Technologies, as well as the RAS. It runs until
23 October and the Museum is open Tuesday to Saturday, and Bank Holiday
Mondays, 10.00 - 17.00. Admission is free. For further infomation please
telephone the Museum (01752 304774).


The Tate Gallery, St. Ives, has mounted an exhibition entitled `As Dark as
Light', mainly of contemporary works of art by Yuko Shiraishi, Gia
Edzveradze, and Garry Fabian Miller. There are also relevant works by
Turner and Whistler. There is a small section of older material and items
lent by the RAS include diagrams and drawings of eclipses, one of Halley's
eclipse maps, and, notably, an album of original photographs of the 1860
eclipse expedition to Spain, probably collected by Warren de la Rue, which
contains both the first concerted attempts at eclipse photography and what
are probably the earliest photos of the participants in an eclipse
expedition. The exhibition is open on Tuesdays to Sundays (and Mondays,
including Bank Holiday Mondays, in July and August) from 10.30 to 17.30 ,
and runs until 30th October. There is a charge for admission, but the Tate
Gallery has asked me not to specify how much it is. For further
information please telephone the Gallery (01736 796226).

There are also two exhibitions outside the area of totality:


The Science Museum, South Kensington, has an exhibition `Eclipse99' which
includes artefacts and images on the theme of eclipse observation over the
centuries. Further information can be found on their Web site


The Liverpool Museum, William Brown St., Liverpool has a small exhibition
of photographs and other material; mainly of current eclipse information
but including some interesting ephemera relating to the 1927 Total Eclipse.
The Museum is open daily, 10 am (Sundays 12) to 5 pm. The charge for
admission is pounds 3.50 but this gives admission to eight museums for a
whole year!

Author's address:
Peter D. Hingley, Librarian
Royal Astronomical Society
Burlington House
London W1V 0NL
Tel.:   0171 734 4582 / 3307
Fax:    0171 494 0166
e-mail: pdh@ras.org.uk

Item 4                                           ENHA No. 38, July 30, 1999


(From: "Elektronische Mitteilungen zur Astronomiegeschichte" Nr. 42,
21. Juli 1999, Item 4. Partial translations by the editor.)

A small exhibition focusing on astrological concepts in Islam, especially
the zodiac, constellations, planets and lunar mansions, has just be opened
in the Islamic galleries of the British Museum. Stunning objects of every
day life with astrological iconography have been displayed next to coins,
manuscripts and scientific instruments, including the two Abd al-Karim
astrolabes, here shown together for the first time.
"Heavenly Houses", British Museum, London, gallery 34, until
3 October 1999.
Information: Silke Ackermann, British Museum MLA, Great Russell Street,
London WC1B 3DG, e-mail: sackermann@British-museum.ac.uk

The special exhibition "Eclipse! The history of eclipse watching to the
present day" in the Science Museum, London, uses telescopes,
spectroscopes, orreries and other scientific instruments to explain solar
eclipses and how they have been viewed past and present. The centrepoint
of the display is the Kew Photoheliograph, used in northern Spain at the
1860 eclipse to show that prominences were part of the Sun.
6 May - 3 September 1999, open daily from 10.00 to 18.00
URL: http://www.nmsi.ac.uk/eclipse/exhibition/museum.html

The exhibition "Cosmos: From Romanticism to the Avant-garde, 1801 to
2001", presented by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts from June 17 to
October 17, 1999, deals with the theme of infinity as expressed by the
human imagination. Cosmos reveals its discoveries chronologically, from
Romanticism's contemplation of the Moon to NASA's breathtaking photos of
Earth taken from beyond the Moon. It is not so much a checklist of
scientific discoveries and the conquest of the space as it is an attempt
to explore the ever-expanding visual frontiers that artists bring within
the grasp of our senses through their visionary creations.
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Jean-Noel Desmarais Pavilion,
1380 Sherbrooke Street West, Montreal, Canada, Tel. (514) 285-1600
Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday and Holiday Mondays, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
URL: http://www.mbam.qc.ca/en_cours/a-cosmos.html

Item 5                                           ENHA No. 38, July 30, 1999

Conferences 1999

(From: "Elektronische Mitteilungen zur Astronomiegeschichte" Nr. 41,
27. Mai 1999, Item 6 [considerably abridged], and Nr. 42, 21. Juli 1999,
Item 6.)

Further conferences in the year 1999 were reported in previous issues
of ENHA. For a complete list of all conferences announced see the
following URL:


August 6-7, 1999, St. Jakob im Walde, Steiermark, Austria
International interdisciplinary scientific Symposium "Lucifer's Rock
(Teufelstein), a prehistoric landmark of astronomical background?"
Registration: Tourismusbuero, A-8255 St. Jakob im Walde, Austria,
Tel. 0049 3336/8212, Fax 0049 3336/8214,
email: gde@st-jakob-walde.steiermark.at
URLs: http://web.vip.at/calendersign/english/symposion.htm (English)
      http://web.vip.at/calendersign/deutsch/symposion.htm (German)

September 24-25, 1999, Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy
National meeting of the Italian Astronomical Society devoted to
the history of the Internationa Latitude Service and other initiatives of
astronomical cooperation at the end of the 19th century, such as the Carte
du Ciel, the AG zone catalogue, and others.
Contacts: Prof. Edoardo Proverbio, Osservatorio di Brera, Milano,
fax 39 27200 1600, e-mail proverbio@astrco.astro.it

Item 6                                           ENHA No. 38, July 30, 1999

New Books

(From: "Elektronische Mitteilungen zur Astronomiegeschichte" Nr. 42,
21. Juli 1999, Item 7. Partial translations by the editor.)

Andrewes, William J.H. (Ed.): The quest for longitude. The proceedings of
the Longitude Symposium, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts,
November 4-6, 1993. Cambridge, Mass.: Collection of Historical Scientific
Instruments, Harvard University, 1996. 437 p., ill. (some col.), maps
(some col.), 29 cm, ISBN 0-9644329-0-0, $ 75.00
[Contributions by historical experts on the history of the determination
of longitude. "The Longitude Symposium was organized under the auspices
of the Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments in connection with
the Fourteenth Annual Seminar of the National Association of Watch and
Clock Collectors." World maps on endpapers. Includes bibliographical
references (p. 406-421) and index.]

Birkmaier, Martin (Hrsg.): Totale Sonnenfinsternis 11. August 1999
The total solar eclipse of 11 August 1999. - In German].
Augsburg: Intercon, 1999. 94 p., 15 x 21 cm, numerous ill.,
ISBN 3-9805116-1-8, paperback DM 9,80
[p. 9-22: Karl August Keil, Zur Geschichte der Sonnenfinsternisse (mit
Schwerpunkt Augsburg) [On the history of solar eclipses (with emphasis on
Augsburg)]. Distribution: Intercon GmbH, Gablinger Weg 9,
D-8615 Augsburg, Germany, Tel.: 0821-414081, Fax: 0821-414085]

Bruno H. Buergel : Zum 50. Todestag des Potsdamer Astronomen und
Schriftstellers [Bruno H. Buergel : To the 50th anniversary of the death
of the Potsdam astronomer and writer. - In German].
Potsdam: Astronomisches Zentrum "Bruno H. Buergel",
Stadt- und Landesbibliothek Potsdam, 1998. 44 p.,
paperback DM 3.00 + DM 2.00 postage
[Appeared on occasion of the Buergel exhibition, 8 July - 1 August 1998,
in the "Stadt- und Landesbibliothek Potsdam". With contributions on Buergel
and the "Astronomisches Zentrum" by Rolf Koenig and Arnold Zenkert, a
Buergel bibliography, as well as excerpts and citations from Buergel's
books. Distribution: Astronomisches Zentrum, Im Neuen Garten 6,
D-14469 Potsdam, Germany, Tel.: 0331/2702724 or 2702721, Fax: 0331/292447.]

Helfricht, Juergen: Hexenmeister und Bauernastronomen in Sachsen
[Wizards and country astronomers in Saxony. - In German].
[Taucha]: Tauchaer Verlag, 1999. 80 p., 7,6 x 10,7 cm, 19 ill., ISBN
3-910074-97-9, hardbound DM 16.80 (Tatsachen ; Nr. 14)
[On Nikolaus Schmidt[-Kuenzel], Christoph Arnold, Johannes Ludewig,
Peter Anich, Christian Gaertner and Johann Georg Palitzsch.]

Ince, Martin: Dictionary of astronomy. Teddington: Peter Collins
Publishing, 1997. ii, 195 p., 21.5 x 13 cm, ISBN 0-948549-43-2,
GBP 10.95 (pb)
[About 1500 entries, a substantial number of which are biographical notes;
"lacks focus and authority" (J. Mitton); "I have the feeling that is has
been written by someone who does not have a deep knowledge of astronomy"
   Review:  J.Mitton: J. Brit. Astron. Assoc. 107 (1997) 5, 289
   Review:  R.M.Catchpole: The Observatory 118 (1998) 1143, 112-113

Karrow, Robert W.: Mapmakers of the Sixteenth century and their maps.
Chicago: Speculum Orbis Press for the Newberry Library, 1993.
xxx, 846 p., $ 110.00
[Includes complete annotated bibliographies of all publications (and not
just maps) for astronomers such as Peter Apian, Philipp Apian, Oronce
Fine, Gemma Frisius and Bartholomaeus Scultetus, and many others.]

Keszthelyi, Sandor: Magyarorszag naporai. A rogzitett naporak katalogusa.
Budapest: Magyar Csillagaszati Egyesulet, 1998. 128 p., 14.5 x 20 cm,
ill., bibliogr. ref., ISBN 963-03-5048-3
[Catalogue of the fixed sundials in Hungary. In Hungarian.]

Mazal, Otto: Die Sternenwelt des Mittelalters [The Medieval heavenly
world. - In German]. Graz: Akademische Druck- und Verlagsanstalt, 1993.
144 p., ill., 21 x 30 cm, ISBN 3-201-01590-3, hardbound DM 185.00
[On the cultural and Biblical background of astrology.
Contents: Ueber kulturelle und biblische Hintergruende der Astrologie.
Der Kosmos des Mittelalters. Die Sterne und das Goettliche. Die
Sphaerenharmonie der Planeten. Sternbilder und Sternsagen. Die Macht der
Sterne. Der Rhythmus des Lebens.]

Novikov, Igor D.: The river of time. Cambridge: Cambridge University
Press, 1998. 275 p., ISBN 0-521-46177-4, GBP 30.00 (hb);
ISBN 0-521-46737-3, GBP 9.95 (pb)
["This book is a popular-level introduction to some of the most exciting
recent work in modern physics [and astronomy], and especially developments
in the concept of time. ... A particular enjoyable aspect of this book is
the large number of personal anecdotes about other leading researchers in
the field, especially in the former USSR." (Ian Crawford)]
   Review:  I.Crawford: The Observatory 119 (1999) 1149, 97-98

Pfitzner, Elvira: Die astronomischen Beobachtungen des Geistlichen Georg
Samuel Doerffel 1643 - 1688 [The astronomical observations of the
clergyman Georg Samuel Doerffel 1643 - 1688. - In German]. Weissbach:
Beier & Beran. Archaeologische Fachliteratur, 1998. 55 p., 21 x 29.5 cm,
ISBN 3-930036-32-0, paperback DM 15.00

Schenkel, Peter Michael: Johannes Kepler, Gesammelte Werke. Register zu
Band XIII, Briefe 1590 - 1599 [Johannes Kepler, Collected works. Index
tp Vol. XIII, Letters 1590 - 1599. - In German]. Munich: Bayerische
Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1999. 40 p.
(Berichte der Keplerkommission ; Heft 10)

Schmeidler, Felix: Kommentar zu "De revolutionibus" [Commentary on
"De revolutionibus". - In German]. Berlin: Akademie-Verlag, 1998.
X, 209 p., 20.5 x 30 cm, ISBN 3-05-003123-9, hardbound DM 298.00
(Nicolaus Copernicus Gesamtausgabe. Hrsg. von Heribert M. Nobis
und Menso Folkerts. Bd. III/1)
[Explanations for the modern reader of the main work of Copernicus on
its history, editions and contents.]

Schroeder, Wilfried: Naturwissenschaft und Religion [Science and
religion. - In German]. Bremen-Roennebeck: Science edition, 1999.
68 p., 2 ill., paperback DM 14.00
[About the examples of Max Planck and Werner Heisenberg.
Distribution: W.Schroeder, Science Edition, Hechelstr. 8,
D-28777 Bremen-Roennebeck, Germany]

Schwarz, Oliver; Hopf, Cornelia; Stein, Hans: Quellen zur Astronomie in
der Forschungs- und Landesbibliothek Gotha unter besonderer
Beruecksichtigung der Gothaer Sternwarten [Sources on astronomy in
the Research and State Library Gotha, with special consideration of the
Gotha observatories. - In German]. Gotha: Forschungs- und
Landesbibliothek, 1998. 119 p., 14.5 x 21 cm, 10 ill., partially in colour,
ISBN 3-910027-13-X, paperback DM 18.00
(Veroeffentlichungen der Forschungs- und Landesbibliothek Gotha ; H. 36)
[Inventory of the archival holdings of the library on astronomy,
including occidental (by Tycho Brahe, Georg von Peuerbach, Johannes Carion,
Hevelius and others) and oriental manuscripts.
Distribution: Forschungs- und Landesbibliothek Gotha,
Postfach 30, D-99851 Gotha, Germany.]

Shimony, Abner: Tibaldo and the hole in the calendar.
New York: Copernicus / Springer-Verlag, 1998. 165 p.,
ISBN 0-387-94935-6, $ 21.00 (hb)
[Juvenile book on the Gregorian calendar reform.
Selected for The Scientific American Young Readers Book Award (1998).]
   Review:  N.D.Mermin: Phys. Today 51 (1998) 6, 63
   Review:  P.Morrison: Sci. Amer. 279 (1998) 6, 87-88

Solomey, Nickolas: The elusive neutrino - a subatomic detective story.
New York: W.H.Freeman and Co., 1997. 206 p., 24 x 22.5 cm,
ISBN 0-716-75080-5, $ 34.95 (hb) (Scientific American Library)
["The story of the neutrino is told in a semi-historical way, but with
concepts introduced as they are needed rather than waiting for the
chronology to be correct ..." (Barry Kent)]
   Review:  B.Kent: The Observatory 118 (1998) 1142, 44-45

Swerdlow, Noel M.: The Babylonian theory of planets. Princeton (New
Jersey, USA): Princeton University Press, 1998. xv, 246 p., 24 x 16 cm,
ISBN 0-691-01196-6, GBP 27.50 (hb)
   Review:  J.H.Rogers: J. Brit. Astron. Assoc. 108 (1998) 4, 226-227
   Review:  L.J.Fatoohi: The Observatory 118 (1998) 1147, 383

Willey, R.R.: The Tucson Meteorites: their history from frontier Arizona
to the Smithsonian. Tucson: The University of Arizona Press, 1997.
47 p., 28 x 22 cm, ISBN 0-816-51816-5, $ 10.95 (pb)
   Review:  R.Hutchison: The Observatory 118 (1998) 1145, 233-234

Yau, Kevin K.C.; Stephenson, F. Richard; Willis, David M.: A catalogue of
auroral observations from China, Korea and Japan (193 B.C. - A.D. 1770).
Chilton (UK): Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, 1995. IV, 82 p.
(RAL-TR-95-073 (ISSN 1358-6254))



For information we thank all authors and in addition: 

Silke Ackermann, Volker Bialas, Juergen Helfricht, Inge and Karl-August
Keil, Sandor Keszthelyi, Rolf Koenig, Elvira Pfitzner, Felix Schmeidler,
Wilfried Schroeder, Oliver Schwarz, Sepp Rothwangl, Oliver Schwarz.



Electronic Newsletter for the History of Astronomy (ENHA)

Published by the Working Group for the History of Astronomy in the
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Editor: Dr. Wolfgang R. Dick 

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