> It’s Closer to the Stars...
Having finished his studies in Danzig, Jan Hevelius left for Lejda, a mecca for all types of science, which ignored Rome’s prohibitions. He then went to England, and from there to France. Finally, he returned to Danzig; his father was ill, so young Hevelius looked after the family business.
In 1635, at the age of 24, he married a woman who was quite wealthy. His wife brought three buildings into the marriage, and they stood in the area of today’s monument to the astronomer. Six years after the marriage, he became a city alderman, then a councillor. He was still occupied with his beer business when he opened a printing house. Then, on the roofs of the houses on Korzenna Street, he built his first platform for an observatory.
The telescope (Sternworte) on top of Hevelius’ houses on Korzenno Street (Pie fferstadt); from on engraving in his Machina Coelestis of 1873. The church at the left is Saint Bartholomew (St. Bartholemai/Sw. Bortlomiejo) and is two blocks to the northeast.
Pietr Crueger taught Hevelius how to make instruments for sky observations, and he improved those skills during trips abroad. Instrument builders continued to proliferate thruout Europe, and people of many backgrounds became fascinated with astronomy. Even though the Jesuits were working hard to contradict Copernicus’ theory, not much came out of their struggles.
James E. Gunn, an American specialist of literature from the University of Kansas, writes: “Astronomy became a free science in the middle of the 17th Century, and the looking glass an accessory, unthinkable in social life. The Huygens’ lenses were very famous, as well as the French glass ground by Bouilian. There were so many competitors that, in April 1672, Huygens organized a competition in Paris to find out who could read a poster placed at a distance of 1080 feet on the bell tower of St. Paul’s Church.”
Danzig Report Vol. 1 - Nr. 71 - April - May - June - 1991, Page 8.
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