Astronomy exhibition at Rosenborg Castle – Niels Bohr Institute - University of Copenhagen

Niels Bohr Institute > News > News 2009 > Astronomy exhibition a...

14 January 2009

Astronomy exhibition at Rosenborg Castle

“It is really a national treasure,” exclaimed conservator Søren Andersen excited, enthusiastic and almost pious when he saw a unique old clock at the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen. Now the rare astronomical clock, together with others of its kind, makes up an exhibition at Rosenborg Castle in Copenhagen.

The exhibition “Where am I – from the sundial to GPS” tells the history of Danish astronomy research throughout the ages to mark the International Year of Astronomy 2009.

“For squinting at a seaman's chart - is not the whole of steering”, as Holberg put it. But what about using the stars and the universe to “navigate safely into port”. In this context there has throughout the ages been a need for highly sensitive astronomical clocks. Right from sundials to the precise GPS equipment of our time. But time also has a place, as a concept and framework for life, in our everyday, which is reflected in the art in the exhibition.


Pendulum clock by Fredrik
Jürgensen (1785-1843)
one of the most important
clockmakers in Denmark.
Photo: Søren Andersen

Unique astronomical clocks
This is the essence of the exhibition ‘Where am I – from the sundial to GPS’, which brings the audience on a journey through time and astronomy and can seen at Rosenborg Castle through April 13th. The exhibition is a collaboration between Rosenborg Castle, the University of Copenhagen and Statens Museum for Kunst.

It is not only the International Year of Astronomy 2009 that serves as a backdrop for the exhibition, but also the ‘rediscovery’ of a number of unique astronomical clocks. These rare and valuable clocks had for example been used in the now defunct observatory on Østervold – just opposite to Rosenborg - which is a part of the University of Copenhagen. Since then the clocks have lived ‘a quiet existence’ in the hallways of the Niels Bohr Institute, where only the staff members enjoyed them.

Thanks to financial support from Villum Kann Rasmussen Fonden the old clocks have once again come to life and are now presented to the public for the first time in recent times.

But the exhibition is not only retrospect and a presentation of current astronomy research. The exhibition also gives examples of where Danish astronomical research is going and how, for instance, the atomic clock – the ultimate timepiece – plays a key role for missions to the farthest reaches of our solar system.

For those interested in art and philosophy the exhibition offers a number of works of art including works by Dürer, Kessel and various other Dutch painters who embrace the concepts ‘time, space and life’.

His Royal Highness Crown Prince Frederik, protector for the year of astronomy in Denmark will open the exhibition at Rosenborg Castle, Friday, January 16, 10.00.

The public will be admitted the following day, Saturday, January 17.