Antique planetarium

This item appears on page 65 of the May 2018 issue.

It consists of six metal balls orbiting in tracks around a representation of the sun, all operated by the original hand-made gears and pulleys, and it accurately shows the positions of all the planets known when it was constructed. Located in northern Netherlands, it’s the world’s oldest working planetarium, built by amateur astronomer Eise Eisinga in 1781 on the ceiling of his living room. 

His home, now known as the Eise Eisinga Planetarium (Eise Eisinga­straat 3, 8801 KE Franeker, Netherlands; phone +31 517 393 070,, also houses historical and modern astronomy equipment, interactive exhibits and a screening room for documentaries. 

Open year-round, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tues.-Sat. and 1-5 Sun. Also open 1-5 on Mondays, April 1-Oct. 31. €5.25 (near $6.50) adult or €4.50 child (4-13).