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Anders Celsius' contributions to meridian arc measurements and the establishment of an astronomical observatory in Uppsala
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Observational Astronomy.
2011 (English)In: Baltic Astronomy, ISSN 1392-0049, Vol. 20, no 2, 179-185 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Astronomy has been on the curriculum of Uppsala University from at least the middle of the 15th century. However, since Uppsala also was the ecclesiastical centre of Sweden, the acceptance of new ideas, such as the Copernican heliocentric system, was slow. At the same time, more peripheral universities in the Swedish empire, including Dorpat/Tartu, enjoyed a larger freedom. It was not until the early 18th century that a 'modern' astronomy emerged in Uppsala. This effort was to a large extent led by Anders Celsius (1701-1744), who was able to establish good international contacts with astronomers in continental Europe. Celsius participated in De Maupertuis' expedition to the far north of Sweden, in order to measure the meridian arc and determine the shape of the Earth. This paper explores how Celsius became involved in De Maupertuis' expedition, and how this effort paved the way to the establishment of a fully equipped astronomical observatory, including an extensive collection of books and instruments, most of which survives up to this day.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 20, no 2, 179-185 p.
Keyword [en]
history of astronomy
National Category
Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-164454ISI: 000297034900006OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-164454DiVA: diva2:468060
Available from: 2011-12-20 Created: 2011-12-20 Last updated: 2012-10-18Bibliographically approved

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