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Wesleyan's Observatory To Celebrate 100th Anniversary

Wesleyan's Observatory To Celebrate 100th Anniversary

MIDDLETOWN — A rare early mechanical model of the solar system, long believed lost, has been found in a storage cabinet at Wesleyan University. In the 1830s, this curious device — known as "Russell's Stupendous and Magnificent Planetarium or Columbian Orrery" — traveled the country in a wagon to be exhibited to big crowds in a circus-like atmosphere. It was displayed in Middletown in 1837, and soon after, purchased by Wesleyan's first President, Wilbur Fisk. Fisk also bought the college's first astronomical telescope, which is still displayed at the Van Vleck Observatory on Foss Hill. The 7-foot long brass device, with a 6-inch diameter...

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