science and education
154 (Skalnaté Pleso), V. Tatry, Tatranská Lomnica
Houdek Václav, Bednárik Eduard František
The first intention to build an observatory on Gerlachov Peak, the highest peak of the High Tatras, dates to 1922, but it didn’t go through. It was later situated at the Skalnaté pleso lake, just north of the cable car, at an altitude of 1786 m.a.s.l. The initiator of the construction was Antonín Bečvář, a prominent czechoslovakian astronomer. It was finished in 1943. Architecturally, the building is a well-balanced complex with red ceramic cladding on the fasade of the longitudinal part of the building and stone masonry on the cylindrical part supporting the dome and harmonising with the surrounding mountain environment. The cylindrical tower with the dome has an opening for the telescope. On the flat roof, there is a second, smaller dome, as well as other measuring devices and an astrograph. Inside the building, there are many rooms for scientific operations and flats for the staff. Some of the equipment at the observatory includes an astronomical clock, a seismograph and other meteorological instruments. The building also has its own water supply and a backup power supply.
Bečvář became the first director of the observatory, and kept the position until 1950. In his research, he focused on the Sun and interplanetary space. The first observation of the Sun’s photosphere at the observatory took place on September 19, 1943, and a year later, the first group observation of meteors took place. The observatory was taken over by the Slovak Academy of Sciences in 1953. In honor of Antonín Bečvář, they named one of the craters on the far side of the moon after him.
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Stavba štátneho observatória na Skalnatom Plese. Slovenský staviteľ 11, 1941, 3, s. 51 – 52.
DULLA, Matúš – MORAVČÍKOVÁ, H. Henrieta - STOLIČNÁ, Elena: Architektonické diela 20. storočia na Slovensku – Vysoké Tatry, Poprad. Architektúra & urbanizmus 33, 1999, 3 – 4, s. 158.
DULLA, Matúš – MORAVČÍKOVÁ, Henrieta: Architektúra Slovenska v 20. storočí. Bratislava, Slovart 2002. s. 402.
MLYNKA, Ladislav – HABERLANDOVÁ, Katarína: Technické pamiatky Slovenska. Bratislava, DAJAMA 2007, s. 102 – 103.