Oswald Thomas

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Oswald Thomas (born July 27, 1882 in Kronstadt , Hungary, today Romania; † February 13, 1963 in Vienna , Austria) was an astronomer and university professor in Vienna. He was also involved in adult and further education , founded the Austrian Astroverein in 1924 and, despite the economic crisis, pushed through the construction of the Vienna planetarium .


Enthusiastic about astronomy from his father at an early age, Oswald Thomas studied astronomy, mathematics and physics at several universities after attending grammar school in Kronstadt : after Heidelberg also in Jena , where he became a member of the Arminia fraternity in the Burgkeller in 1902 , in what is now Romanian Klausenburg and finally in Berlin . From 1906 to 1913 Oswald Thomas worked in Kronstadt, then he moved to Vienna .

While still in Cluj-Napoca, in May 1907, he founded a “collection point for meteor reports”, the Astronomical Office . It moved with him to Vienna in 1913 and has been run by his former student Hermann Mucke since 1963 .

At first Oswald Thomas was a high school professor in Vienna and at the same time head of the Urania observatory from 1915 to 1922 . In 1924 he founded the " Austrian Astronomical Association ". On his initiative was in 1927 Vienna Planetarium built - the first Zeiss - Planetarium outside Germany. From 1941 Thomas taught astronomy at the University of Vienna .

Thomas was buried on February 20, 1963 in the urn grove of the Simmering fire hall (ML department, group 170, number 2) in Vienna.

Oswald Thomas became known in broad circles for his more than 1000 “ star evenings ” and his extensive “ star walks” along the Sommerhaidenweg , a ridge on the western edge of the city. His idea of ​​an "open-air planetarium " was realized in 1997-2001 by his successor Hermann Mucke as a star garden in the south of Vienna.


In 1960 the Vienna Academic Burschenschaft Silesia awarded him the ribbon of honor.

In 1974 the Oswald-Thomas-Platz in the Wurstelprater in Vienna- Leopoldstadt (2nd district) was named after him as the forecourt of the planetarium.

In 2004 the asteroid (29427) was named Oswaldthomas in his honor.


  • Peter Kaupp : Thomas, Oswald. In: From Aldenhoven to Zittler, members of the Arminia fraternity on the Burgkeller-Jena, who have emerged in public life over the past 100 years. Dieburg 2000.

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