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International Astronomical Union


Category of Astronomical Heritage: tangible immovable
Rundetårn, Copenhagen, Denmark

Format: IAU - Outstanding Astronomical Heritage Description

Description

Geographical position 
  • InfoTheme: Astronomy from the Renaissance to the mid-twentieth century
    Entity: 138
    Subentity: 1
    Version: 2
    Status: PUB
    Date: 2018-08-23 14:31:41
    Author(s): Gudrun Wolfschmidt

Rundetårn (Round Tower), Copenhagen

 

 

Location 
  • InfoTheme: Astronomy from the Renaissance to the mid-twentieth century
    Entity: 138
    Subentity: 1
    Version: 4
    Status: PUB
    Date: 2019-06-17 17:02:30
    Author(s): Gudrun Wolfschmidt

Lat. 55° 40′ 52.86″ N, long. 12° 34′ 33.0204″ E, elevation 16m above mean sea level.

 

IAU observatory code 
  • InfoTheme: Astronomy from the Renaissance to the mid-twentieth century
    Entity: 138
    Subentity: 1
    Version: 2
    Status: PUB
    Date: 2019-06-17 12:37:58
    Author(s): Gudrun Wolfschmidt

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Description of (scientific/cultural/natural) heritage 
  • InfoTheme: Astronomy from the Renaissance to the mid-twentieth century
    Entity: 138
    Subentity: 1
    Version: 2
    Status: PUB
    Date: 2018-08-23 14:33:21
    Author(s): Gudrun Wolfschmidt

The new observatory, the ten-storey round tower (Rundetårn), part of the Trinitatis church, was built in 1637/42 by the architect Hans Steenwinkel the Younger (1587--1639). The Rebus on the south facade refers to the patron King Christian IV. (1577--1648), King of Denmark and Norway of 1588 to 1648.

The 209-m Spiral Ramp ("Donkey Stairway", Eselstreppe) is unique in European architecture.

The building was used for scientific purposes by the University of Copenhagen until 1861, as an astronomical observatory, as a student church and as a university library. The platform in 35-m height offers excellent observation conditions. The Round Tower is the oldest observatory in Europe, still in operation, as a Public Observatory.

 

 

History 
  • InfoTheme: Astronomy from the Renaissance to the mid-twentieth century
    Entity: 138
    Subentity: 1
    Version: 2
    Status: PUB
    Date: 2018-08-23 14:34:30
    Author(s): Gudrun Wolfschmidt

The first director

Christian Sørensen Severin, called Longomontanus (1562--1647) began in 1589 as an assistant to Tycho Brahe in Uraniborg, studied from 1597 to 1602 in Breslau (Wrocław), Danzig (Gdańsk), Königsberg (Kaliningrad) and Rostock, and in 1605 was appointed as a first professor at the University of Copenhagen. His work Astronomia Danica (Amsterdam 1622) was dedicated to Christian IV.

He proposed to replace Tycho’s lost observatories Uraniborg and Stjerneborg, which was destroyed in 1601.

In 1929 the platform on the tower was replaced by a dome.

 

 

State of preservation 
  • InfoTheme: Astronomy from the Renaissance to the mid-twentieth century
    Entity: 138
    Subentity: 1
    Version: 2
    Status: PUB
    Date: 2018-08-23 14:35:21
    Author(s): Gudrun Wolfschmidt

The buiding is still in good condition.

 

 

Comparison with related/similar sites 
  • InfoTheme: Astronomy from the Renaissance to the mid-twentieth century
    Entity: 138
    Subentity: 1
    Version: 2
    Status: PUB
    Date: 2018-08-23 14:36:17
    Author(s): Gudrun Wolfschmidt

It is a very unique building at this time, a starting point for tower observatories.

 

Present use 
  • InfoTheme: Astronomy from the Renaissance to the mid-twentieth century
    Entity: 138
    Subentity: 1
    Version: 2
    Status: PUB
    Date: 2018-08-23 14:37:15
    Author(s): Gudrun Wolfschmidt

Used as a public observatory.

 

 

References

Bibliography (books and published articles) 
  • InfoTheme: Astronomy from the Renaissance to the mid-twentieth century
    Entity: 138
    Subentity: 1
    Version: 3
    Status: PUB
    Date: 2019-06-17 15:54:30
    Author(s): Gudrun Wolfschmidt

  • Wolfschmidt, Gudrun (Hg.): Astronomie im Ostseeraum - Astronomy in the Baltic. Proceedings der Tagung des Arbeitskreises Astronomiegeschichte in der Astronomischen Gesellschaft in Kiel 2015. Hamburg: tredition (Nuncius Hamburgensis - Beiträge zur Geschichte der Naturwissenschaften; Band 38) 2018.

 

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