Virtual Babelsberg Starry Night – Christmas Edition


The calendar patent of 10 May 1700, the "founding document" of the Berlin Observatory, which moved to Babelsberg in 1913. The signatory is the Brandenburg Elector Frederick III, later Frederick I, King in Prussia.

Credit: AIP archive

Dec. 11, 2020 // A special edition of the virtual Babelsberg Starry Nights of the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP) will be broadcasted on the third Advent, 13 December 2020 at 7.p.m., on the YouTube channel "Urknall, Weltall und das Leben". Please note that the lecture will be given in German.

What do Christmas, George Washington's birthday and a high noon in the afternoon have to do with each other? In his lecture, Prof. Dr. Matthias Steinmetz tells amusing and curious stories from the history of time measurement and calendaring. On a short journey through history, he provides exciting insights into how astronomy, political events and social developments are intertwined.

This season, the Babelsberg Starry Nights will not take place on site at the AIP, but will come straight to your home: after broadcasting, the lectures are available at

and can be viewed at any time afterwards.

The key areas of research at the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP) are cosmic magnetic fields and extragalactic astrophysics. A considerable part of the institute's efforts aims at the development of research technology in the fields of spectroscopy, robotic telescopes, and E-science. The AIP is the successor of the Berlin Observatory founded in 1700 and of the Astrophysical Observatory of Potsdam founded in 1874. The latter was the world's first observatory to emphasize explicitly the research area of astrophysics. The AIP has been a member of the Leibniz Association since 1992.
Last update: 25. February 2021