Old Observatory

5th Stop

In the years from 1748 to 1751 the first university observatory was set up on an old tower of the city’s fortification walls in Little Paris. 
Until his death in 1762, the self-taught mathematician and astronomer Tobias Mayer worked here. Mayer gained his outstanding scientific reputation through his works about the libration of the moon and its atmosphere, fixed stars and geomagnetism (terrestrial magnetism). Gauß called him immortalis Mayer ("immortal Mayer”).


Carl Friedrich Gauss studied at the observatory and headed the institute from 1807 until the establishment of the New Observatory in 1816. Various local enterprises were commissioned to construct and service the required metrological instruments. The observatory therefore laid the foundations for the development of Goettingen’s precision mechanics and metrology industry.