Managing precision and stabilizing local knowledge

In 1911, a meridian circle manufactured by A. Repsold & Söhne in Hamburg, Germany, was installed at the National Astronomical Observatory of Chile under the watch of Friedrich W. Ristenpart, a German astronomer and the observatory’s director. The installation was an essential step in Ristenpart’s goal of relocating the observatory to gain better sky visibility on the south side of Santiago. As a precision tool, this new meridian circle would support the observatory’s international work of establishing the official time, determining latitudes and longitudes, and cataloguing stars and planets.

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