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In the living room of a lovely Friesian canalside house is the world's oldest functioning planetarium. This accurately moving model of the solar system was built between 1774 and 1781 by Eise Eisinga, a wool carder.


The end of time?

A conjunction of planets occurred on 8 May 1774. Before it happened, people insisted that these planets would collide with one another, the result being that the earth would be pulled from its orbit and incinerated in the sun. Eise Eisinga wanted to show that there was no reason for panic.

 

The actual situation every day

All the planets in Eisinga's model orbit the sun at the same speed as do the real planets: Mercury in 88 days, the earth in one year, and Saturn in more than 29 years! Even today, after so many years, the actual position of the planets can be seen by looking at this model. Besides this model, Eise Eisinga also built all kinds of special clocks that indicate the day, the date, the rising and setting of the sun and moon, the apparent movement of the heavens due to the rotation of the earth, and other phenomena.

Made from oak, 9 weights and 10,000 nails!

All of this is kept in motion by an impressive gear mechanism that uses wooden hoops and disks with 10,000 hand-forged nails as teeth. Controlling this gear mechanism are a pendulum clock and nine weights.

A picture of the universe

The Planetarium also has an extensive collection of historic astronomical instruments on display as well, and devotes a lot of attention to modern astronomy and space exploration.

Every visitor receives an explanation in the planetarium