zdanice observatory (14)

Official documents from the City of Zdanice

Two other official documents from the City of Zdanice about the observatory.
The documents are dated 1999 and 2000

To understand this documents there is some history needed.
In 1958 the idea was launched to build the observatory in the town of Zdanice.  Zdanice is in South Moravia, between Brno and Vienna.
At that time Zdanice was a small town.  The national communist party agreed with the observatory project under condition that the people of Zdanice build the observatory themselves.
The labor unions paid 75% of the building material.  
It wasn’t a Public Observatory but a Peoples Observatory and cultural center.  The only library and movie theater in a region of about 25km.
After the revolution the 1989 the direction of the observatory and the later build hotel was done by the local astronomy club.
In 1999 the city took over the observatory because there were to much problems with the management and the finance of the big observatory.
Theft and neglect were the main problems.
In 2001 the observatory was closed for the public.  In 2002 the city sold the observatory to a private investment company.
The city sold the observatory because of a lack of budget for maintenance.  The biggest cost was the big hotel who was build In the 1970’s.
The construction of the hotel is of bad quality.  The main building with the observatories and the planetarium is in good condition.
My idea was to demolish the hotel and only keep the observatory building.  The city didn’t agree, for nostalgic reasons, and it was impossible to get a building permit.
On the Czech Astronomy Forum there is a lot of discussion about the closure of the building and me buying the inventory.
The discussion is how it comes that the Czech State and the City of Zdanice didn’t took care of the observatory?
This documents prove that the city did everything they could but the observatory and the hotel were to big for a small city as Zdanice.
The observatory is the victim of the transition from communism to capitalism.  
Also there are a lot of observatories in the Czech Republic with more modern equipment.  Nearby there is the beautiful observatory of Brno.
The old Observatory of Zdanice didn’t have any added value.

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The Heliostat by Frantisec Kozelsky

The archive of the Zdanice is about 90 large cardboard boxes full of documents.
When I filled the boxes at the observatory I didn’t have the time to select or to look at the documents.  My time was so limited that I only could empty the cabinets ad fill the boxes
Now I have some more time and I discover box by box.  Not all the documents are interesting.  I don’t throw away any document.  I try to find some order and logic.
I don’t speak, write or read Czech.  I recognize some words. 
First I have to scan the documents with OCR soft and then I use Google Translate.  This is enough to get an idea what the document is about.
If it is interesting I rewrite the text. 

I think it will take a couple of years before the complete archive will be inventoried. 

Some documents are very relevant such as a letter by Frantisec Kozelsky about the motorization of the heliostat. 
The letter dates from 1998.  The observatory opened in 1963 and closed in 2002.  So it’s at the end of the observatory.
The project was to use the heliostat to project the solar disc on the roof of the planetarium.
The planetarium was never finished because of financial troubles.  Only the dome existed.  The Zeiss instrument was never installed.

I didn’t find the heliostat.  Only the unfinished optical system to enter the sunlight in the planetarium.

The letter and the plans illustrate very well the way Kozelsky prepared his projects.

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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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Other telescopes by František Kozelský

In my research for more background information about the Gajdusek-Kozelsky telescopes from the Zdanice Observatory I found an article in the Slovak astronomy magazine about a similar 20cm refractor build by Kozelsky.

After more than two years of hard work, the famous telescope builder František Kozelský from Old Běleja (Ostrava) build a refractor for observatories in his workshop.  The telescope will be installed in the observatoriy of Kysucké Nové Mesto.

It is the largest device of this type made by  František Kozelský and one of the  largest refractors in the Slovak Republic, dedicated to  amateur astronomy. We asked  the telescope designer a more detailed description of the new apparatus. He is willing and show the huge telescope. The telescope was completely setup in the hall of his house.  It’s the only place where he can mount the telescope.
In the next editions of our magazine we will report on the further installation of the telescope in the observatory

The device is built on a strong conical steel frame which ensures the stability of the telescope. The lens is from Zeiss Jena (type AS, 200 mm, f = 3000 mm). Equatorial mounting is driven by a synchronous electric motor (10 W, 3000 rpm] via a gear box with a planetary gear, which allows using the second electric motor, A hand box allows guiding in the right accession.  The drive is mounted in such a way that there is no vibration. The gearbox is permanently filled with oil. The telescope is equipped with hour circles for fine adjustments . On the setting circles eyepieces are installed for a detailed read out.

The focuser is designed for rapid exchange of eyepieces and other auxiliary equipment. On the telescope tube a Schmidt Camera is mounted with a mirror diameter of 200 mm f: 2.44.  The camera has a field of view of 7 degrees. The diameter of the film cartridge is 58 mm. The Schmidt camera was made by Ing. Wilhelm Gajdušek.

The telescope is equipped with a viewfinder with a diameter of 80 mm ff = 450 mm], which magnifies 16x. the viewfinder includes eyepieces for 75, 110, 150, 200, 313 and 600x.

Other accessories are: a zenith prism, also a Herschel wedge for direct observation of the Sun with polarizing filters and various other filters, a 3 eyepiece revolver for quick exchange of eyepieces and a solar projection screen 35 x 35 cm.

František Kozelský spend 2.5 years building this telescope

Kozmos, March 1980

The 20cm telescope described in this article is still in use in the Hlovohek Observatory.

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The library of the Hvězdárna Ždánice

The public observatory of Zdanice had a library and archive of thousands books and documents.  A real treasure.
A selection of the books can be found on the Anamorfose Photo Gallery website

Books about astronomy, space exploration, mathematics, science, history, ...

Various languages: Czech, Russian, German, English and French.

The books where scattered all over the building.  Everywhere you could find books and documents

Since I had only limited place in the trucks I was obliged to make a selection of books to bring back.  A very difficult choice to make.

Some of the books are very rare.  

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The 16cm f:15 Gajdusek Kozelsky refractor is installed on the Fullerscopes MK IV mount.  This heavy duty mount from the 1950's carries the refractor very well.

Now it will be possible to observe more objects because the Fullerscopes has the GOTO function.

The equatorial mount will make it possible to use higher enlargements.  It will also be possible to use the refractor for astrophotography

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The Zdanice Observatory in the press

First newspaper article about the building of the observatory in 1960

News paper articles from the Zdanice Observatory archive. Starting in 1960 until 1989.
It must have been a famous observatory at that time.

Artist impression of the observatory

The observatory was build by the local community

The finished observatory without the hotel.

About 15.000 people a year spend the night in the hotel. A special rail road was build to Zdanice. The observatory was famous for the research of variable and double stars. A lot of visitors came from the USSR.

1986 Observatory and hotel

The 3 domes of the two refractors and the later added planetarium

The domes of the 20cm refractor and the planetarium

The 20cm f:15 Gajdusek-Kozelsky refractor? Now in our warehouse.

1961 the process of the building of the observatory

The 16cm Gajdusek-Kozelsky refractor

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Star Diagonal Prisms for the Gajdusek-Kozelsky refractors

Handmade Star Diagonal Prism for the 16cm refractors.
The eyepiece size is 30mm and not the contemporary 31,5mm.
Works very well with Leitz microscope eyepieces.

Large 2inch star diagonal prism for the 16cm refractor.
Heavy piece bud fits perfect the refractor.

There is no indication of a brand on this piece.

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A family shot of the different focuser of the scopes.

On the left the Cassegrain Focuser, middle the 16cm refractor focuser and right the 20 cm focuser.

The eyepiece attachment system is very similar to the Zeiss system.
This are the 3 different eyepiece dovetails from the different focuser's. It are Zeiss style dovetails. Or are it original Zeiss dovetails?
More and more I find indications that Kozelsky knew very well the Zeiss Jena material.
The large Zeiss Jena scopes were "common" in Eastern Europe.

The sizes are:
The smallest from the Cassegrain: focuser side: 63.5mm, eyepiece side 54,7mm
Medium size from the 16cm refractor: focuser side 71,6mm, eyepiece side 71,2mm
Large size from the 20cm refractor: focuser side 94,5mm, eyepiece side 88mm

All the focuser and draw tubes have different sizes.

For the people who love stories.  Found all the adapters in a cooking pot in one of the hotel chambers ;-)

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Vilém Gajdušek and František Kozelský

Vilém Gajdušek (1895–1977) was Czech optician and prominent telescope designer. Asteroid 3603 Gajdušek is named for him.

Asteroid 8229 is named in honor of František Kozelský (1913–2003 ), a Czech telescope maker well-known for his work in collaboration with V. Gajdušek. Kozelský. Kozelský made several 60cm Cassegrains and a series of 20cm refractors for observatories in Czech Republic, Slovakia and the rest of former Eastern Europe.

Hvězdárna Ždánice (1963) was the first big project by Gajdušek and Kozelský.  The Public Observatory had two domes with a 20cm and 16cm equatorial mounted refractors, two 25 cm Classical Cassegrain and a set of smaller optical instruments.  With it annual 15 000 visitors it was one of the most succesfull observatories of Eastern Europe in the 1960’s and 1970’s.
Now the observatory is closed.

155mm f = 2 400 mm achromatic refractor made by Vilém Gajdušek, optics and František Kozelský, telescopes and mount.
The refractor is mounted on a 250kg equatorial mount  The optics were made in 1958 and the telescope in 1962

200mm f = 2 870 mm achromatic refractor made by Vilém Gajdušek, optics and František Kozelský, telescopes and mount.
The refractor is mounted on a 250kg equatorial mount  The optics and the telescope were made in 1969

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