Saturday, February 26, 2011
Gothard Astrophysical Observatory
"Astronomy is an integral part of our culture and is a powerful expression of mankind's inherent curiosity and desire to better understand our surroundings". This is the first sentence from the book Dr. Jankovics gave us as a memento of our visit to the Gothard Astrophysical Observatory.
I really enjoyed the visit. At the observatory you may see not only the drawings of Jupiter (dated 1883) but also books! Rare books like the one with maps of the moon, yes, I'm talking about the Selenographia: sive Lunae descriptio... by Johannes Hevelius. They also have many negative plates, all dated and waiting for a LIS student (Budapest University) to digitize it! There is a lot of work to do, so if your are interested in helping, you are very welcome! Maybe they won't pay you but you got a nice room for yourself at the observatory! There you can enjoy the 1894 refractor telescope and many other interesting stuff at the Gothard Permanent Exhibition. There you can find not only Gothard's observation logbook from 1881, but also instruments Jeno Gothard made by himself! Gothard got his degree in mechanical engineering in Vienna (Politechnische Hochshcule), so this degree helped him in his career!! He constructed several devices by himself: gas discharge tubes for spectroscopic experiments, electricical generator (they made us a demostration!!) and many more... all this instruments... still work!! ... well, not the refractor, that one has been replaced by a new one. But you can enjoy all this devices at the Gothard permanent exhibition. We also visited the garden of the Observatory! A memorial park dedicated to the Sputnik 1. At the website you see only pictures of the garden (and the wonderful sculptures) in summer, but I visited it in winter... it was great! Loved the garden and the sculptures! Couldn't help joining them and look to the sky for stars! Mission almost impossible in the daylight! We also visited the 600mm Cassegrain telescope! it was fun! I mistook where to look at! I had a wonderful time at the observatory! If you are planning to visit Szombathely, don't miss it! go and take a look to the Gothard exhibition at the observatory!