History of Hessian Astronomy
Our research in history of astronomy is concentrating on the beginning of astronomical research in Hesse and its international connections: on the development and improvement of star catalogs, the discovery of asteroids and the beginning of studies of variable stars.
Two of the ﬁrst modern catalogs of the Southern sky, J.M. Gilliss (1850) and C.W. Moesta (1860). Both were reduced from data taken at the National Observatory of Chile, Santiago.
Some highlights of Hessian astronomy are:
- 1586, Wilhelm IV, ﬁrst modern European observatory in Kassel
- early 17th century, Philipp III, Butzbach, sun spot observations
- 1841, Ch.L. Gerling, observatory at Marburg University, star catalogs, asteroids and other solar system bodies
- 1849 – 1852, U.S. Naval expedition to the Southern Hemisphere in order to determine the solar parallax from observations at Washington and Santiago, initiated by Gerling
- 1852, C.W. Moesta, former student of Gerling, ﬁrst director of the Chilean National Observatory, Santiago