A visit to a planetarium (August 8, 2013)

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A visit to a planetarium (August 8, 2013)

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A visit to a planetarium (August 8, 2013)


(The story of Eise Eisinga)


A Visit to a Planetarium

(August 8, 2013)

This column has very consistently advocated that the time has come for those of us in Africa to jettison stupid beliefs, abandon unhelpful
and ignorant superstitions, and join the rest of humankind in embracing science and technology.

History tells us that no people had ever improve their material condition who clung tenaciously to old beliefs. No progress has ever been made by people that waited for gods to help them.

No, we did not say that science is the answer to everything, but simply that without it, we will continue to wallow in self-induced,
ignorance-engendered poverty.

Knowledge is the only thing that rules the world today, and if we continue to be treated with contempt today, it is simply because we
have not equipped ourselves with sufficient knowledge that will command the respect of other people.

It might seem weird or strange today, but few centuries back, much of the world, including Europe, was also in the same Dark Ages in
which we remain.

Ignorant and dubious priests made good living by attributing every phenomenon to the angers of gods.

In order to keep people in ignorance and maintain their hold on them, they published a collection of fables and called it a Bible.

In these books, men and women and children were told fanciful tales about gods that frown on the acquisition of knowledge.

The priests threatened those that chose to rely on heir intelligence and struggled to acquire any form of knowledge. Reading and writing was
banned – allowed only to these dubious priests.

However, one by one, the veil of ignorance was lifted. Brave men struggled against all odds to acquire and disseminate knowledge.

They perform experiments and published their findings. They refused the priests exhortations to disbelieve the evidences of their researches.
They illuminated the world with the findings of their experiments.

Gradually, priestly lies withered and gave way to science.

Men unfettered their minds and soared. They experimented; they discovered.

They shed light on nature’s dark secrets. Diseases that were once attributed to the anger of the gods were explained as natural
occurrences. Electricity was discovered, machines were built.

Men began to live better.

The power of the priests wane and untrammeled acquisition of knowledge, through experimentations, became the norm.

Sometime in the 1700s, in the Friesland (today a province of the Netherland), the alignment of the planets caused alarm among
the people. Of course, Priests came forward to claim that it was a sign of anger from God.

They falsely interpreted that their God’s anger had been provoked and that the planets were on collision course that would end in a massive
conflagration that the priests falsely predicted would consume Mother Earth.

Great panic arose among the people; no one wanted to die in a planetary conflagration.

One brave soul and self-taught mathematician, the ‘Peasant Scientist,’ Eise Jeltes Eisinga, knew better.

Let’s turn to Wikipedia: “On 8 May 1774 a conjunction of the moon and the planets Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter was forecast
to appear.

Reverend Eelco Alta, from Boazum, Netherlands, published a book in which he interpreted this as a return to the state of the planets at the day of creation and a likely occasion for Armageddon. Alta predicted that the planets and the moon would collide, with the result that the earth would be pushed out of its orbit and burned by the sun. Due to this prediction there was a lot of panic in Friesland.

The canonical view holds that Eisinga decided to build an orrery in his living room to prove that there was no reason for panic.

Eisinga was also an amateur astronomer. A genius at mathematics and an amateur astronomer, Eisinga understood the movement
of the heavens. He calculated that there was no way the planets could ever collided as the priests ignorantly claimed.

To prove his point, Eisinga spent seven years to build the Eise Eisinga Planetarium in his livingroom at his house in Franeker,
Netherlands. The orrery still exists and is the oldest functioning planetarium in the world.

Wikipedia: “An orrery is a planetarium, a working model of the solar system. The “face” of the model looks down from the
ceiling of what used to be his living room, with most of the mechanical works in the space above the ceiling. It is driven by a
pendulum clock, which has 9 weights or ponds.

The planets move around the model in realtime, automatically. (A slight “re-setting” must be done by hand every four years to compensate
for the February 29th of a leap year.

The planetarium includes a display for the current time and date. The plank that has the year numbers written on it has to be
replaced every 22 years.

To create the gears for the model, 10,000 handmade nails were used. In addition to the basic orrery, there are displays of the phase of
the moon and other astronomical phenomena.

Eisinga was rewarded by becoming an honorary citizen of Franeker. The street of his planetarium was renamed “Eise Eisingastraat”.
On 5 May 1994 a 80 cent stamp was issued by the post office to celebrate his 250th birthday. In 2006 the planetarium was
given permission to use the title “royal”. Also in 2006 Eise Eisinga was included in the Canon of Dutch History which is taught in
schools in the Netherlands.”

On August 6, 2013 I visited the planetarium and was fully wowed and impressed at how much men of four hundred years ago were
able to achieve.

Luckily, unlike us, the Dutch take their heritage very seriously. The Planetarium is a well-preserved, hallowed place.

It is difficult to see all the machines and all the scientific instruments that men built about four hundred years ago and not be
angered by the false postures and claims by parasitical priests in Africa, audaciously preaching false ideas that were debunked centuries ago.

It also made one feel sad that many Africans went to universities, obtained degrees including doctorates, and refused to employ their brains
in scientific and rational endeavors.


Femi at Eise Eisinga Planetarium

Femi at Eise Eisinga Planetarium

Eise Eising Planetarium picture

Eise Eisinga Planetarium picture

Eise Eisinga Planetarium picture

Eise Eisinga Planetarium picture

Eise Eisinga Planetarium picture

Eise Eisinga Planetarium picture

Eise Eisinga Planetarium picture

Eise Eisinga Planetarium picture

Eise Eisinga Planetarium picture

Eise Eisinga Planetarium picture

Eise Eisinga Planetarium picture

Eise Eisinga Planetarium picture

Eise Eisinga Planetarium picture

Eise Eisinga Planetarium picture

Eise Eisinga Planetarium picture

Eise Eisinga Planetarium picture

Eise Eisinga Planetarium picture

Eise Eisinga Planetarium picture

Eise Eisinga Planetarium picture

Eise Eisinga Planetarium picture

Eise Eisinga Planetarium picture

Eise Eisinga Planetarium picture

Eise Eisinga Planetarium picture

Eise Eisinga Planetarium picture

Eise Eisinga Planetarium picture

About the Author  

Femi Akomolafe is a passionate Pan-Africanist. A columnist for the Accra-based Daily Dispatch newspaper and ModernGhana, and Correspondent for the New African magazine, Femi lives in both Europe and Africa and writes regularly on Africa-related issues for various newspapers and magazines.

Femi was the producer of the FOCUS ON AFRICANS TV Interview programme for the MultiTV Station.

He was also the Man and Machine Coordinator at Alaye Dot Biz Limited, a Kasoa-based Multimedia organization that specializes in Audio and Video Production. He loves to shoot and edit video documentaries, and tend his vegetable farm.

His highly-acclaimed books (“Africa: Destroyed by the gods,” “Africa: It shall be well,” “18 African Fables & Moonlight Stories” and “Ghana: Basic Facts + More”) are available for sales at the following bookshops/offices:

  1. Freedom Bookshop, near Apollo Theatre, Accra.
  2. WEB Dubois Pan-African Centre, Accra
  3. Ghana Writers Association office, PAWA House, Roman Ridge, Accra.

Where to buy them online:

On Lulu Books:

18 African Fables & Moonlight Stories https://goo.gl/Skohtn

Ghana: Basic Facts + More: https://goo.gl/73ni99

Africa: Destroyed by the gods: https://goo.gl/HHmFfr

Africa: It shall be well: https://goo.gl/KIMcIm

Africa: A Continent on Bended Knees: https://tinyurl.com/y239z24a


Africa: it shall be well

on Kindle books: https://www.createspace.com/4820404

on Amazon books: http://goo.gl/QeFxbl

on Lulu Books: https://goo.gl/SQeoKD

Africa: Destroyed by the gods

on Kindle books: https://www.createspace.com/4811974

18 African Fables & Short Stories: https://goo.gl/s9tWAf

on Amazon books: http://goo.gl/1z97ND

on Lulu Books: http://goo.gl/KIMcIm

 My Lulu Books page: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/FemiAkomolafe

 Get free promotional materials here:

  1. Africa: it shall be well: http://alaye.biz/africa-it-shall-be-well-introduction-in-pdf/

A FREE Chapter of ‘Africa: It shall be well’ can be downloaded here: http://alaye.biz/africa-it-shall-be-well-a-free-chapter/

  1. Africa: Destroyed by the gods (How religiosity destroyed Africa) http://alaye.biz/africa-destroyed-by-the-gods-introduction/

A FREE Chapter of ‘Africa: Destroyed by the gods’ can be downloaded here: http://alaye.biz/africa-destroyed-by-the-gods-free-chapter/

Read a review here

Femi’s Blog: www.alaye.biz/category/blog
Websites: www.alaye.biz ; www.akogun.tv
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