20.01.1842, БУДАПЕШТ, ВЕНГРИЯ - 17.02.1916, БУДАПЕШТ, ВЕНГРИЯ

Венгерский астроном. В 1871 построил собственную обсерваторию в Ogilla, оборудованную 10" рефрактором и которая получила всемирную известность своими спектроскопическими наблюдениями комет, метеоров, солнечных пятен, планет - Марса и Юпитера. Одним из первых создал сеть из 4-5 станций для наблюдения метеоров. Сам посетил все европейские обсерватории и принимал у себя многих известных ученых. В 1890 был назначен директором национальной метеорологической и магнитной обсерватории. С 1911 в отставке. Свою обсерваторию передал венгерскому правительству (1898) вместе с фондом для продолжения работ. Обсерватория продолжала работу до 1919, после чего инструменты были перевезены в Будапештскую обсерваторию. DSB.

Miklos Konkoly Thege and the Amateurs Seventy-five years ago, on 17th February, 1916 had died one of the brightest stars of Hungarian astronomical history. The death of the well-known scientist, engineer and public figure, Miklos Konkoly Thege has not caused a really great echo at those sanguine, cruel and tempestous years of the World War I. The bests of the scientific life and cultural policty realized hos his active, helpful, cretaive individuality was missing only after the post-war breakdown, when the Hungarian astronomy was to be
reborn. A lot of commemorations came to light, but we owe him with writing up all his activities and oeuvre. We are not able to retrieve this lack with following estimation, but it is worth for outlining Konkoly Thege's opinion about the amateur astronomy and work. It is seasonable not only for the jubilee, but for Konkoly's ideas which remained effective and reflective
till today. Some people consider him to be an amateur. Although this view is false, in fact the amateurs were close to Konkoly with his manysided interests, aspiration, initiative and at his fevourite domain - at photography - he
was amateur, too. He was born on 20th January, 1842 as a son of a landowner family - living in Komarom district - in Buda. As a little child he was interested in music and technics. When he was sixteen, he used to attend Anyos Jedlik's performances about experimental physics at the University in Pest. Probably this and the observation of the spectacular Comet Donati were the beginning of arousing his interest towards astronomy. (At those times ha had studied law for his parents' wish.) The following years he spent at Berlin University and amplified his knowledge mostly about natural sciences. After finishing his studies for first he was interested in sailing, navigation and locomotives (he made exams of these). A his neww, longer European tour he visited the most significant observatories on the Continent. He egot a lot of experiences and got acquainted with many famous astronomers, he became mostly interested in the youngest field of astronomy: astrophysics. He returned home in 1871 and begun to build his own observatory in the park of the family's estate. The Ogyalla Observatory has been enlarging year by year and the majority of the instruments was built by Konkoly in his workroom. At the end of the 1870's the Astrophysical Observatory in Ogyalla became an
internationally known and recognized institute. The work was hard for one person, so Konkoly employed some assistents and mechanicians. At last with great trouble he was able to reach that he could present his observatory to the Hungarian Treasury in 1899. So Hungary
obtained an observatory again, after 50 years' pause. From the beginning the main rang of action of the observatory was the spectroscopic observation of celestial bodies. In this respect Konkoly accomplished a work with incredible importance (mostly about the comets and meteors). In addition to it he started the regular observation of sunspots, planets (mostly Mars and Jupiter) and meteors. Konkoly became the starter of native amateur astronomical movement exactly for observing meteors and building up the observing network. Within then framework of Hungarian Royal Society of Natural Sciences they could organize the meteor observing network on 4-5 places in the country which worked at the same time. The direction, the treating and publishing data were performed
by Konkoly in Ogyalla. He also considered the work of amateurs in other departments of astronomy very important. As a genuine observer he encouraged the amateurs to make observations with scientifical value. "As I have declared", he write in one of his articles, "with a little knowledge and a relatively trifling instrumental accessories can be possible to help the science in many respects and do work, which can not be done in great observatories for
the want of time". His statement is still valid. He asserted the same thing: " We can only see that with a little goodwill, with more diligence and love of work and knowledge the amateur can be useful for the science with a simple instrument, too. For example the regular observing of the Sun can be very important not only for astronomy but for
meteorology, too." He wanted to inform the amateurs owning simple instruments. These articles are suitable for making ourselves masters of practical ideas and interesting advices. He found that some excellent people's and scientists' behaviour was really hostile against astronomy, they despised the amateurs and hindered their ambitions. (It seems, this view is actual nowadays, too.) He speaks against them is this way: "I accompany the great Littrow and I do not look down upon the amateurs, in particular is astronomy. And we must not be little them because it surely should be begun on the old Herschel and continued on Schroder, Henke, Goldschmied, Lassel and so on..." He recommended the regular observing of planets to amateurs' attention. Writing about it he remarks: " I recommend to everybody to deal with observing planets who has a good 3.5- 4 inch telescope, because there is a school (it is true, it is only a Hungarian school) with despises the similar work, but the reality competent specialists of sciences never take it seriously and smile at it because with observing planet's surface the science can be helped considerably..." "... let us forgive the faults of the school, 'cause who does not know anything except criticizing..." Konkoly assisted observing amateurs above all, because " it is true that some of the astronomical departments were promoted by amateurs intensely", but he took great care about propagation of basic astronomical knowledge and the simple observing of the sky. He writes kindly: "If we buy a simple 4-inch refractor and we became profoundly absorbed in observing... we watch the Jupiter (do we?), the sunspots, the Moon..., it is more valuable than
sitting in a casino, is not it?" He knew exactly that the best way against errors, erroneous thoughs is the wide spreading if scientifical knowledge. One of the best means is introducing the starry sky and observing with telescopes. He reached that the half of the periodical "The Weather" (Az Idojaras) was written about astronomical subject. The subscription rates were not enough for maintaining
the paper, so he supplied it with his own money. He was promoted to the director of Hungarian Royal National Meteorological and Magnetic Institute for appreciation his activity and organizing work. Although he was really an "amateur" in this question, he developed the institute to one of the most important scientific stations in Europe. He could win many laymen over to his ideas. He increased the quantity of reagularly functioning meteoroligac observing places from 190 to 1438. Miklos Konkoly Thege was really the reorganizator of Hungarian astronomy. His work, his aspirations were examples, encouragements for everybody. His advices, opinion and describes of instruments are mostly actual even

Author: Lajos Bartha

This paper was published in Meteor 3/1991

English translation: A. Basti

Дата последнего редактирования: 0000-00-00 00:00:00

design Sizova Anastasia
programming Ruzhnikov Ruslan
Автор проекта Сергей Масликов