In the 18th and 19th centuries, observatories were not only places for observing the heavens, they were also geodetic "lighthouses", because as a result of decades of astronomical measurements, the geographical coordinates of the observatories were usually known with a very high degree of accuracy. But while the observatory in Greenwich, for example, is generally known because of precisely this function, other "lighthouses" have almost been forgotten. Would you have known that, starting from the observatory on the Seeberg near Gotha, large parts of Germany were surveyed and the value for the oblateness of the earth was determined? The Central European Degree Measurement, which was used in the 19th century to establish a mean earth ellipsoid that was valid for a long time, was also initially coordinated from Gotha in the 19th century.
Prof. Dr. Oliver Schwarz, studied physics, astronomy and mathematics in Erfurt and Berlin. After working in Bonn and Landau, he joined the University of Siegen in 2008, where he is head of the University Observatory and the Institute for Physics Education. Numerous publications on astronomy and physics didactics as well as on the history of science, here also publications on the astronomy history of Gotha.
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