Berlin Observatory

Berlin, Germany

Berlin Observatory

The Berlin Observatory (Berliner Sternwarte) is a German astronomical institution with a series of observatories and related organizations in and around the city of Berlin in Germany, starting from the 18th century. It has its origins in 1700 when Gottfried Leibniz initiated the "Brandenburg Society of ScienceÔÇ│ (Soziet├Ąt der Wissenschaften) which would later (1744) become the Prussian Academy of Sciences (Preu├čische Akademie der Wissenschaften). The Society had no observatory but nevertheless an astronomer, Gottfried Kirch, who observed from a private observatory in Berlin. A first small observatory was furnished in 1711, financing itself by calendrical computations.

In 1825 Johann Franz Encke was appointed director by King Frederick William III of Prussia. With the support of Alexander von Humboldt, Encke got the King to agree to the financing of a true observatory, but one condition was that the observatory be made accessible to the public two nights per week. The building was designed by the well-known architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel, and began operating in 1835. It now bears the IAU observatory code 548.

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