Urania Observatory in Vienna
Photo by Thomas Binderhofer & Robert Paprstein
On Friday, October 21, Editor David J. Eicher will fly to Munich, Germany, with a group of Astronomy magazine readers to tour astronomical sites in Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic. The group's tour leader, Melita Thorpe of MWT Associates, will direct the event that will take them across lots of space and time until they return to the United States on October 31.
The tour will shadow three great personalities in the astronomy world: Tycho Brahe (1546–1601), the great Danish astronomer who spent the last period of his life in Prague; German astronomer Johannes Kepler (1571–1630), who served as Tycho’s assistant and carried on his work in Prague; and German optician Carl Zeiss (1816–1888), the master lens maker who produced the finest telescopes in the world for some decades.
The group will start in Stuttgart, Germany, home to the Mercedes-Benz Museum, before seeing Kepler’s birthplace and museum in nearby Weil der Stadt. After checking out the Zeiss Optical Museum in Oberkochen, they'll motor on to spend three nights in Prague and walk in the footsteps of Tycho and Kepler. They’ll enjoy the Old Town, the city’s famous astronomical clock, and the Klementinium, the seminary that today houses the Astronomical Tower and Baroque Library. They’ll also visit Štefánik’s Observatory, meet with local astronomers, and enjoy the double Zeiss refractor there before catching a concert at St. Nicholas Church.
Following Prague, Eicher and the other tourists will move on to Vienna to see the House of Hapsburg, who ruled as Holy Roman Emperors from the city’s palace. They’ll see the United Nations Office in Vienna, the Vienna State Opera, the Danube River, Hofburg Palace, and St. Stephen’s Cathedral before taking in Urania Observatory. They’ll also check out the Beethoven Museum and the Viennese Heurgen (wine bar) at Heiligenstadt before moving on.
Back in Germany, the group will encounter Munich, capitol of Bavaria. They'll see the Olympic Area of 1972 fame; the largest palace in Germany, Nymphenburg; and the celebrated Old Town District with its Frauenkirche and famous City Hall. And finally, before returning back to the United States, they'll attend Mineralientage München (the Munich World of Minerals, Gems, Jewelry, and Fossils), the largest gem show in the world, with more than 1,250 exhibitors from 56 countries.
Check out all of Editor David J. Eicher's blogs about the trip.