News | Published:

Amateur Astronomy in Czechoslovakia

Nature volume 158, page 661 (09 November 1946) | Download Citation



ZIENEK KOPAL has an article on this subject in Shy and Telescope of July, in which he discusses the developement of amateur astronomy in Czechoslovakia since its D innings in the second half of the nineteenth ceMB ry. A large portion of the article is devoted to a survey of the careers of Josef and Jan Fric who, late in the last century, were among the first in Central Europe to photograph celestial objects systematically. The Ondrejov Observatory, on a hill about 1,700 ft. above sea-level and thirty miles south-east of Praha, was erected by Josef Fric as a memorial to his younger brother Jan, who died in 1897. It is interesting to know that one dome of the Observatory houses an 8-in. refractor, the lens of which was made nearly a century ago by the then unknown amateur optician, Alvan Clark. The Rev. W. R. Dawes, the well-known British amateur astronomer, purchased the lens from Clark, and after his death it was purchased by Prof. Safarik and eventually reached Praha. After the death of Safarik it came into the possession of the Fric brothers and was later mounted at Ondrejov. In 1917, the increase of astronomers in the country justified the founding of an astronomical society in Praha, and in 1928 the Czechoslovak Astronomical Society erected its own Observatory at Petrin Hill overlooking Praha. At present the membership numbers more than 2,400, and as there are only about eleven million Czechoslovaks living in Central Europe, this is probably the highest percentage of amateur astronomers in any country in the world. The article describes the activities of the Society at length, and forms very useful reading for those who are interested in the work of the amateur astronomer.

About this article

Publication history





    By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.

    Newsletter Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing