History of Astronomy – Jantar Mantar Jaipur – the biggest observatory ever built without a telescope, by Thomas Obitz – ONLINE
November 26, 2020 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
The Jantar Mantar was built between 1728 and 1734 by Maharajah Sawii Jai Singh II, at the centre of his new capital Jaipur, just next to the palace. It employed 20 permanent astronomers mapping the skies with the naked eye, supported by a collection of huge instruments. The large sundial, the Samrat Yantra, is more than 20m high and has a resolution of 2 seconds.
Jai Singh was a ruler passionate about science, in particular mathematics and astronomy, and he built five observatories all over India. The one in Jaipur is the largest and the most well-preserved.
The presentation will discuss the instruments, the work performed at the Jantar Mantar, the role of astronomy and astrology in Indian and Mughal culture, and the pleasure of visiting India.
Thomas Obitz is an amateur astronomer with a strong interest in astrophysics and specifically heliophysics. He has been a member of the astronomical society of his home town Mainz (Germany) and speaking on astronomy in public since the age of 14. After a long break, his interest in astronomy was rebooted when his sons, Arjun and Vinayak, started dragging him to the Royal Observatory every other weekend since they were five. Thomas is also a passionate amateur photographer. He holds an MSc in Mathematics. Thomas visited Jaipur in 2019 as part of a family trip to India. Having worked in the Indian software industry for several years and married to an Indian for 17 years, he is a regular visitor of the country.
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