The Urania Observatory

in Copenhagen (1897-1988) and in Aalborg (from 1988)


These pages give a description (far from exaustive) of the history of the Urania Observatory (or rather: Urania Observatories). Victor Nielsen, a senior telegraph employee, built the first observatory on the uppermost floor of his house in Frederiksberg, then a suburb of Copenhagen. The main instrument was (and is to this date) a 270 mm Merz refractor, the lenses of which were superbly crafted by Max Pauly, afterwards an optician at Carl Zeiss. The Danish astronomers Ejnar Hertzsprung and H.E.Lau worked at the observatory for several years. Nielsen worked here with scientific tasks and public demonstrations until his death in 1918. The house and the observatory with is were then aquired by Carl Luplau Janssen, who had studied astronomy at the University of Copenhagen. After his death in 1971, on the initiative of "Nordjysk Astronomisk Forening for Amatører" ("NAFA"), the great refractor was taken over by the Northjutland town of Aalborg. The city paid for the building of a new observatory, which kept the old name. As of 1989 members of NAFA have shown objects in the sky to the public three days a week from September to April. In appreciation of this effort, NAFA was awarded the "Tycho Brahe Gold Medal" in 2003.

The text on these pages for a large part has been taken from the jubilee book "Urania Kikkerten 1897-1997 - og menneskene bag den" by Ole Fastrup. The illustrations are also in part taken from that book. Some of them come from old photographic plates which were found in the archives of the former observatory. Most of the color photographs were taken by Torben Christensen. The writing og these web pages, the image processing and the translations were carried out by Holger Nielsen.



Carl Luplau Janssen at the refracting telescope of the Urania Observatory in Copenhagen Per Rieffestahl at the refracting telescope of the Urania Observatory in Aalborg
An observer (C. Luplau Janssen) in the Urania Observatory,
25 Dronning Olgasvej, Copenhagen, year unknown.
Photo from the observatory's archive.
An observer (Per Rieffestahl) in the Urania Observatory,
13 Borgmester Jørgensensvej, Aalborg in 1997.
Photo: Torben Christensen


Site view

English Pages in English
Deutsch Pages in German
Deutsch Unmarked pages in Danish.

The Urania Observatory in the Golf Park of Aalborg
The Urania Observatory in the Golf Park of Aalborg before the establishment of the planets path. The observatory has resided here since 1988 and is visited yearly by about 2500 persons. Admission is possible from the parking lot seen at the upper right. The cylindrical tower adjecent to the observatory building contains a spiral staircase leading from the basement (where visitors enter the building) to the observation floor with the Urania refractor.
Photo: N.N.



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Opdateret den 25.08.2006