Popularization of Astronomy: From Models of the Cosmos to Stargazing
“Raritäten- und Wunderkammern” of the Baroque period were a microscopic image of the macroscopic world, in which astronomical instruments, orreries and celestial globes played an important role. The Gottorf globe in the ducal castle in Schleswig (1664) and, much later, the Atwood sphere in Chicago (1913) allowed demonstration of star rising and setting for several people sitting inside. An improved version of this idea, a more sophisticated device, was the projection planetarium, invented by Zeiss of Jena and inaugurated in 1925 in Munich. The “Urania” had already opened in Berlin in 1888, showing the real sky from a public observatory, as well as giving theatrical performances about the origin and evolution of the universe. And, since 1909, visitors to Berlin’s Archenhold Observatory have enjoyed stargazing with its impressive “20-m-long” refractor. All these models and instruments were successfully used for the public understanding of science and astronomy, and always created a strong attraction.