19 January 2009

Tick Tock - Time and the stars

The University of Copenhagen will be celebrating the International Year of Astronomy (IYA) 2009 with an exhibition at Rosenborg Castle.

The exhibition, "Where am I - from the sundial to GPS" details, among other things, the development of Danish astronomical research through the ages.

As Holberg said: "For squinting at a seaman's chart - is not the whole of steering." Both the stars and the universe can also be used to navigate safely into harbour. As a consequence there has been a need for finely tuned astronomical clocks throughout the ages, from sundials to today's precision GPS equipment.

That is the essence of the exhibition "Where am I - from the sundial to GPS". It will take visitors on a journey through time and astronomy. The exhibition is the result of collaboration between Rosenborg Castle, The University of Copenhagen and the National Gallery and can be seen from 17 January - 13 April.

The exhibition has come about not only because of the IYA 2009, but also due to the "rediscovery" of a number of unique astronomical clocks. These rare and invaluable clocks were used in the now decommissioned observatory at Østervold, not far from Rosenborg Castle. Since then the clocks have led a quiet life in the halls of the Niels Bohr Institute, where only the staff had the pleasure of them.

Thanks to financial support from the Villum Kann Rasmussen Foundation the old clocks have been given a new lease of life and are now presented to the public for the first time in recent history.

The exhibition looks not only to the past. It also explains where Danish astronomical research is heading today and looks at topics such as the role of the atomic clock, the ultimate timepiece, and the part it plays in missions to the outermost reaches of our solar system.

For those interested in art and philosophy the exhibition also offers works of art by artists such as Dürer, Kessel and other Dutch painters who embrace the concepts of humanity and time.