Berlin Observatory
The Berlin Observatory ( Berliner Sternwarte in German) is a series of observatories and related organizations in and around the city of Berlin in Germany, starting from the 18th century. It has its origins in 1700 when Gottfried Leibniz initiated the Societät der Wissenschaften (Brandenburgische Science Society) which would later (1744) become the Preußischen Akademie der Wissenschaften ( Prussian Academy of Sciences). The Society had no observatory, but nevertheless had an astronomer, Gottfried Kirch, who observed from a private observatory in Berlin. A first small observatory was furnished in 1711, financing itself through calendrical computations. In 1825 Johann Franz Encke was appointed director by King Frederick William III of Prussia. With the support of Alexander von Humboldt, Encke got the King to agree to the financing of a true observatory, but one condition was that the observatory be made accessible to the public two nights per week. The building was designed by the well-known architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel, and began operating in 1835. It now bears the IAU observatory code 548. Although the original observatory was built in the outskirts of the city, over the course of time the city expanded such that after two centuries the observatory was in the middle of other settlements which made making observations very difficult and a proposal to move the observatory was made. The observatory was moved to Babelsberg in 1913 (IAU observatory code 536). In Berlin remain the Wilhelm Foerster Sternwarte (William Foerster Observatory; IAU code 544), the Archenhold Sternwarte, Berlin-Treptow (Archenhold Observatory; IAU code 604), the Urania Sternwarte (Urania Observatory, IAU code 537), and the Bruno H. Bürgel Sternwarte (Bruno H. Bürgel Observatory). Since 1992 it is managed by the Astrophysical Institute Potsdam, although it has not been used for German astronomical observations since the 20th century.

Selected Directors
Across its many locations and related organizations, there were many Direktoren ("Directors") of the Berlin Observatory.
  • Johann Bernoulli III
  • Johann Elert Bode
  • Johann Franz Encke (1825”“1865)
  • Wilhelm Julius Förster (1865”“1903)
  • Karl Hermann Struve (1904”“1920)

Selected accomplishments
  • Johann Franz Encke observed a broad variation in the brightness of the A Ring of Saturn in 1837. The Encke Division was later named in honor of his observations of Saturn's rings.
  • Johann Gottfried Galle discovered Saturn's C-ring in 1838.
  • Johann Gottfried Galle and his assistant Heinrich Louis d'Arrest discovered Neptune in 1846, near the position computed by Urbain Leverrier.
  • From 1866 to 1900, Arthur Auwers published his fundamental star catalog of 170,000 stars ( Fundamental-Catalog für Zonenbeobachtungen am Südhimmel und südlicher Polar-Catalog für die Epoche 1900).

Directors table

  • A brief History of Astronomy in Berlin and the Wilhelm-Foerster-Observatory
  • Astrophysics Institute Potsdam

Direktoren for Berlin Sternwarte 1. 1700”“1710 Gottfried Kirch (1639”“1710) 9. 1756”“1758 Johann Jakob Huber (1733”“1798) 2. 1710”“1716 Johann Heinrich Hoffmann (1669”“1716) 10. 1758 Johann Albert Euler (1734”“1800) 3. 1716”“1740 Christfried Kirch (1694”“1740) 11. 1764”“1787 Johann III Bernoulli (1744”“1807) 4. 1740”“1745 Johann Wilhelm Wagner (1681”“1745) 12. 1787”“1825 Johann Elert Bode (1747”“1826) 5. 1745”“1749 Augustin Nathanael Grischow (1726”“1760) 13. 1825”“1863 Johann Franz Encke (1791”“1865) 6. 1752 Joseph Jérôme Le Francais de Lalande (1732”“1807) 14. 1865”“1903 Wilhelm Julius Foerster (1832”“1921) 7. 1754 Johann Kies (1713”“1781) 15. 1904”“1920 Karl Hermann von Struve (1854”“1920) 8. 1755 Franz Ulrich Theodosius Aepinus (1724”“1802) 16. 1921”“1946 Paul Guthnick (1879”“1947)

Building Activity

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    about 6 years ago via