Galilei in Waldbröl

For the project days at Kopernikus-Gymnasium Wissen from Tuesday, July 18 to Thursday, July 20, 2023, an astronomy project was offered for the first time in several years. It was led by Cathrin Garbotz and Dr. Stephan Regnery. With 15 students, the project was quickly filled.

History teacher Cathrin Garbotz taught the project participants about the change in our view of the world around the year 1600 with the transition from the geocentric to the heliocentric view of the world. In particular, Galileo Galilei’s experimental contributions to support the Copernican theory were addressed. Galileo became particularly well known for the discovery of the four largest moons of the planet Jupiter. Using a comparatively primitive refracting telescope, he was able to observe and explore these “mini solar systems.” Under the guidance of physics teacher Dr. Stephan Regnery, the students learned about different types of telescopes. With a school’s own 20cm reflecting telescope, they were able to gain their first observing experience of the sun.

For the evening of Wednesday, July 19, the Wissen group was invited by STScI to visit the Waldbröler observatory in Schnörringen. In line with the thematic focus of the project days, the visitors were able to take a look through the replica of the lens telescope used by Galileo and compare its “performance” with that of the modern C11 telescopes in the school laboratory. Galileo’s ability to make his groundbreaking discoveries with a device that is more than primitive by today’s standards was a source of great amazement. Unfortunately, the overcast sky prevented telescopic observation of the night sky.On the basis of images from the student laboratory, the guests learned about the many possibilities offered by the telescopes there. Of course, the 80cm large telescope was particularly impressive. Explanations of the history of the Waldbröl observatory and a photographic overview of various classes of celestial objects rounded off the evening.

The picture shows the Wissen group with their teacher Dr. Stephan Regnery in the Waldbröler student laboratory. Mounted on the left of the two C11 reflecting telescopes is a replica of the original Galilei telescope.

Text: Peter Stinner. Photo: Cathrin Garbotz

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