Astronomical dating 19th century
The accordance between an instrument and a site (fixed tangible heritage) and between an instrument and its scientific uses and results (intangible heritage) are essential issues if the aim is to develop a definition of a property with a view to a viable nomination.Researched and written around 1530, De revolutionibus orbium cœlestium, the reference book by Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543), was published in the year of his death.It involves several different categories of heritage simultaneously: moveable instruments, fixed instruments, observatories, and records of original observational data.
A new epoch began in the middle of the 17th century following the development of reliable and efficient refracting telescopes.
Historically, this was often the essential reason for the creation of the observatory itself, so that a remarkable instrument is considered the core part of the place, giving it all its value.
The scientific requirements and the technical capacities at a given moment come together to create a high-performance instrument: in scientific/technological terms this, rather than its architectural context, is the real work of genius.
Giordano Bruno’s (1548-1600) concept of the infinite universe illustrates the general flowering of ideas in science and cosmology during the Humanist period and also the difficulties hindering their social and cultural recognition.
Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) continued Tycho Brahe’s work, using the results to support Copernicus’s propositions concerning the celestial movements by means of his famous three laws: that planetary orbits are elliptical, that the line from the Sun to a planet sweeps out equal areas in equal times, and that a simple formula links the period of revolution to the dimensions of the orbit.
The five case studies included in the first Thematic Study—namely Royal Observatory, Greenwich, UK; the Royal Observatory, Cape of Good Hope, South Africa; the Observatory of Paris-Meudon, France; the Mount Wilson Observatory, California, USA; and the Einstein Tower in Potsdam, Germany—were chosen as far as possible to complement rather than to reproduce the information available in the Hamburg book.