About the Cover
Vol. 79 No. 4 (2003)
View of the Astronomical Observatory of Tokugawa Shogunate
The first astronomical observatory of Tokugawa Shogunate was founded in Edo (Tokyo) around 1680 to make observations of the sun, the moon and other stars to improve the luni-solar calendar then employed. The observatory was frequently moved within Edo from one place to another before it was settled at Asakusa in 1782, where it stayed until 1869 (the second year of Meiji). This picture provides a view of the Asakusa observatory with an instrument (left) for measuring positions of stars and equipment for surveying in the house (right). The observatory issued calendars, kept time and had a section for translating foreign books brought by Dutch boats which came to Nagasaki every year. In fact when Halley’s comet appeared in 1759, staff at the observatory followed its course and determined its orbital elements.
(the collection of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan)
(by courtesy of Dr. Yoshihide Kozai, member of the Japan Academy)