25 years anniversary of the Zdanicy Observatory

25 years anniversary of the Zdanicy Observatory

In 1991 the Public Observatory of Ždánice exited 25 years.  At this occasion an article was written in the Czech astronomy magazine Říšehvězd (Empire of stars).  The article briefly outlines the history of the observatory.

The construction of the hotel isn't mentioned in the article. 

The plans for the observatory were made by Ing. Marie Kotíková and Rudolf Pavlik.
Since July 1958 a workers brigade prepared the construction of the building by gathering the building material.  The pupils of the  Ždánice school cleaned  more than 60 000 used bricks.

The construction started on 11 October 1958. In 1964 the constructor OSP Hodonin head-quartered in Kyjov, was added to the workers brigade which finished the construction of the observatory in 1965.

On 28 November 1965 the Public Observatory in Ždánice was inaugurated with a regional astronomical workshops.

The names of the people who have most contributed to the construction of the observatory should be honoured. First of all the contractor of the observatory and its long time manager ing. Oldrich Kotik.  Furthermore, members of the astronomical club, of which the best volunteers were involved for more than 100  hours: Miroslav Kincl, Ing. Marie Kotíková, Oldrich Polacek, Francis Hegr, Antonin Balat, Jan Fiala, Oldrich Marta, Jaroslav Leskovská, Anthony Black, Stephen Skokan, Ladislav Stepanek and Ladislav Stork. They did an excellent job.

The creators of astronomical instruments are Ing. William Gajdušek from Ostrava, who was responsible for the optics and Frantisek Kozelský of Stará Bělá at Ostrava who made the telescope mounts.
Both made the following instruments: two refractors with a diameter of 155 mm and 200 mm on equatorial mounts installed in the domes of the observatory, a Schmidt camera, coelostat, two Cassegrain reflectors with a diameter of 250 mm, a refracting telescope with a diameter of 156 mm on portable azimuth mount.
The 10cm coronagraph was  made by JUDr. Karl-Hermann OTAVSKÉ from Černošice, (Prague) with optics made by Vilem Gajdušek.

At its opening the cost of the observatory was 813 thousand. CSK.  The trade unions paid 75% of the cost of the building. The cost for the telescopes and the interior design was 287 thousand. CSK. When the observatory was finished in 1965 the total cost of the observatory was 1.1 million CSK (€40.700)

The Public Observatory of Ždánice was during the first 25 years of it existence very popular with youngsters.  Since 1978 every year there was a summer school “observing variable stars”. This summer schools were not only popular in Czechoslovakia but also abroad.  
In total 26 astronomy youth camps were organized in Ždánice.

The local astronomy club let by Petr Kucera organizes public lectures and every week there was a public observation night.

In the first 25 years of its existence about 250.000 people visited the observatory.

 On the occasion of this jubilee organized by the Public Observatory of  ŽDÁNICE and in collaboration with the Observatory and Planetarium Nicolaus Copernicus from Brno on 1 and 2 December 1990 an astronomical seminar was organized.

For those interested in the observatory can contact Peter Kucera.

At this occasion RNDr. Vladimir Kotik's wrote a booklet "25 years of the People's Observatory in ŽDÁNICE 1965-1990."
It has 92 pages, 52 figures and costs 15 CSK. It describes the  history of the construction and operation of the observatory and in the end also a brief history of the state-owned enterprise Šroubárna Narex Ždánice.

Vladimir Kotik

Říšehvězd, June 1991

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