Darksky 2008

August 22-23, 2008 - Vienna, Austria


Vienna, the capital of Austria, is located in central Europe, easily accessible by plane, train and car. It is well known for it's unmistakable atmosphere and beauty, it's culture and history. Countless touristic attractions await the visitor, including historical buildings, museums, theatre and music. Last, but not least, the city also has a rich astronomical history.

Kuffner Observatory

The Kuffner Observatory was founded in 1884 by the Viennese brewer Moriz von Kuffner as a private research institute. Probably the most famous astronomer who has ever worked at the observatory was Karl Schwarzschild. He discovered the reciprocity failure of photographic emulsions while working on photographic photometry with the observatory's main instrument, a double refractor for visual and photographic use with apertures of 27 cm and 15.6 cm, respectively.

The second dome houses the largest heliometer ever built. A heliometer is a refractor, with the objective cut in two, which was used to measure small angular distances. Most noteable, 16 stellar parallaxes have been measured between 1899 und 1908. At that time, the distance of hardly more than 100 stars have been known in total. Finally, the observatory also houses a meridian circle (then the largest in the Austian-Hungarian empire) and a vertical circle.

Scientific observations at the Kuffner observatory continued until 1917, when the death of the director Leo de Ball and the difficult situation caused by World War I brought all activities to halt. Towards the end of the 20. century, the observatory and it's instruments have been completely restored. Today, it is a public observatory, and home of the "Verein Kuffner Sternwarte", which is the organizer of DARKSKY 2008.

The Kuffner observatory is the meeting venue for DARKSKY 2008. The lecture hall in the basement of the observatory is fully equipped with multimedia hardware. The charming building and it's garden provide ideal conditions, both for the scientific programme and informal chats between the participants.

Click here to see the location on Google Maps. For information on how to get to the Kuffner Observatory, please visit the Travel page.

  • Map showing the location of the Kuffner Observatory, Accomodations and Restaurants (426 kB pdf)

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