Copernicus' Heliograph | Edition Topoi

Copernicus' Heliograph


Muzeum Warmii i Mazur w Olsztynie, Excellence Cluster Topoi EXC 264, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin


Astronomic heliograph, Copernicus, Olsztyn




Copernicus' Heliograph, 2017, Gerd Graßhoff, Gordon Fischer, Edition Topoi, DOI: 10.17171/2-7


In November 1516, Nicolaus Copernicus, was elected as administrator at Olsztyn and had to move there from Frombork/Frauenburg. He therefore had to interrupt his astronomical work and observations in Frombork. His keen interest in observations of the equinoxes led him to set up a novel type of observatory at the interior hallway at the north side of the castle of Olsztyn. Above the entrance to his private apartments a table with measuring lines was installed.

In the course of the centuries, this panel was repeatedly painted over and partially destroyed. Due to the careful restoration and scientific re-evaluation of the panel in this century, the panel is today in a good state of preservation. On the occasion of the 540th anniversary of Copernicus, the Muzeum Warmii i Mazur w Olsztynie published an excellent scientific documentation. With the kind permission of the Museum, photos for a 3D-model of the panel could be taken in October 2016. Photos, 3D models and data form this collection for further analysis.


The measured values of the panel form the basis for a 3D reconstruction of the panel, which was calculated using photos taken by Gerd Graßhoff and Joanna Pruszynska with kind support of the Museum Warmii in autumn 2016. This repository contains the photos, the models, and the research data derived from them.

Further information

Literature: Tablica astronomiczna Mikolaja Kopernika na zamku w Olsztynie, Muzeum Warmii i Mazur, Olsztyn 2013. Articles by Elżbieta Jelińska, Janusz Cygańsk, Jerzy Miałdun, Jacek Szubiakowski, Justyna Dzieciątkowska

Research Group

Gerd Graßhoff, Gordon Fischer