Astronomers Claim That the Astronomical Clock is Historically Inaccurate

At the end of September, after several months, the reparation work on the Old Town Hall and the astronomical clock ended. The clock has been repainted and now has a new look. But according to, the current version is historically inaccurate. This statement was confirmed by clock-master Petr Skala. The city hall disagrees with the resulting misconduct.

According to the current clock-master, Petr Skala, the astronomical clock, specifically the dial and astrolabe, has been painted over several times in history and not always correctly. Skala eventually put forward a proposal that was approved by conservationists from the National Heritage Institute (NPU) and the city council. However, astronomers, including Antonin Vrba, said that the proposal did not correspond to the historical form of the astronomical clock and protested against it.

The final draft was changed because of these protests. “I had to cancel the current horizon and change the right twilight threshold, both of which were wrong. I also had to return to and correct the position of the astronomical night that has been incorrect until now. This kind of painting is not good.” Skala told us, saying that the clock was repainted at the last minute.

“I knew, and everyone else knew, that this was not the best solution. It was a forced solution under the pressure of those activists. It was done at the very last minute so there was no time for any further debate, and it was painted over without thought simply to solve the conflict,” said the clock-master.

He also mentioned that the upcoming elections at the time also played a role, and that they wanted everything to be finished on time. According to Skala, however, it is not a problem to paint over the clock again.

“The astrolabe can be painted over without a problem using a footbridge, so there is no need for scaffolding. Repainting it will take a couple of days, and then the astrolabe can be functional again,” said Skala.

However, the City Hall disagrees with the misconduct and poor repainting. According to the spokesman, Víta Hofman, the Department of Monument Care received a request for a statement of monumental inspection for the alleged failure to comply with a binding opinion.

“In the opinion of the Services Department, which had been an investor in the reconstruction, and based on photographic documentation, there had been no mistakes. We have, therefore, requested a monumental inspection for local investigation. Based on this investigation, it will be concluded whether or not the astrolabe will be modified,” said Hofman, mentioning that the adjustment would only cover a small part of the astrolabe.

The astronomical clock was reopened on Friday the 28th of September. Hundreds of people came to see the repaired monument, and there was even a videomapping event on to the face of the clock.

Author: Holly Webb

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