This book comprises a fascinating collection of contributions on the Merz telescopes in Italy that collectively offer the first survey on historical large refracting telescopes in the country, drawing on original documents and photographs. It opens with a general introduction on the importance of Merz telescopes in the history of astronomy and analyses of the local and international contexts in which the telescopes were made. After examination of an example of the interaction between the maker and the astronomer in the construction and maintenance of these refractors, the history of the Merz telescopes at the main Italian observatories in the nineteenth century is described in detail. Expert testimony is also provided on how these telescopes were successfully used until the second half of the twentieth century for research purposes, thus proving their excellent optical qualities.
Introduction: the role of Merz telescopes in Italian astronomy - by Ileana Chinnici.- The Merz Company: a Global Player of the 19th Century - by Jurgen Kost & Gudrun Wolfschmidt.- 1850-1900: The Era of Very Large Refractors - by Paolo Brenni.- The maker and the scientist: the relationship between Georg Merz and the Jesuit astronomer Angelo Secchi - by Ileana Chinnici.- Visual double stars measurements with Merz refractors: some statistics - by Giuseppe Massone.- Padua Astronomical Observatory and Merz Workshop: a special connection - by Valeria Zanini.- Merz instruments at Naples Observatory -by Mauro Gargano.- Merz Telescopes at Brera - by Mario Carpino.- Merz telescopes at Rome Astronomical Observatories - by Aldo Altamore & Francesco Poppi.- Merz Telescopes at Catania Royal Astrophysical Observatory - by Andrea Orlando.- Appendix – A list of surviving Merz telescopes outside Italy - by P. Brenni and Ileana Chinnici.
Ileana Chinnici is a research astronomer at INAF – Osservatorio Astronomico di Palermo in Italy. She has been an Officer of the Italian Astronomical Society, National Coordinator of the INAF Museums, and Chair of the International Astronomical Union Commission C41 “Archives” Working Group. She has also served as a member of the Italian Astronomical Society (SAIt) Council and in 2008 was appointed Adjoint Scholar at Vatican Observatory. Her research has focused on the history of nineteenth century astronomy and astrophysics, the history of scientific instruments, and historical astronomical archives. She is the author or editor of several books as well as 25 journal papers and book chapters.
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