Article ID: CBB833823018

The Solar Dial in the Olsztyn Castle: Its Construction and Relation to Copernicus (2018)


The article discusses the construction, function, and origin of the solar dial in the Olsztyn Castle, traditionally attributed to Copernicus. The dial, preserved partially on the wall of the cloister and presumably designed to determine the time of equinoxes, served as an astronomical instrument mapping the daily paths of the sun in the sky. The article provides a comprehensive mathematical model of the instrument, taking into account the astronomical and architectural factors which affected its functioning. The analysis allows to alienate the essential properties of the dial as an observational instrument and to contend that measurements were recorded indelibly on the wall and averaged by interpolation. Furthermore, it reconsiders the arguments which support the hypothesis ascribing the construction of the Olsztyn instrument to Copernicus. (Some mathematical appendices appear only in the online issue of the journal.)

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Authors & Contributors
Savoie, Denis
Mozaffari, S. Mohammad
Zotti, Georg
Wlodarczyk, Jaroslaw
Munns, David P. D.
Kopernik, Mikolaj
Journal for the History of Astronomy
Suhayl: Journal for the History of the Exact and Natural Sciences in Islamic Civilisation
Nuncius: Annali di Storia della Scienza
Kwartalnik Historii Nauki i Techniki
Tarikh-e Elm (The Iranian Journal for the History of Science)
Studia Historiae Scientiarum
Wydawnictwo Sejmowe
Instruments, astronomical
Copernicus, Nicolaus
al-Bīrūnī, Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad
Brudzewski, Albert
Weigel, Erhard
Time Periods
16th century
15th century
10th century
Nuremberg (Germany)
Cairo (Egypt)
United States

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