Unimaginably far away in the universe (though still our galactic neighbourhood): a thousand, or even ten thousand light years from the Earth. Unusual celestial bodies, an excellent source of regular pulses. Pulsars.
The pulsar clock built in Gdańsk, which is based on receiving pulsar signals, is the first of its kind in the world. The long-term accuracy of its readings exceeded the existing nuclear time scale, the most accurate the world had up to that time. This was the first step in establishing a Pulsar Time Scale. The world’s most extraordinary timepiece is located in the Tower Clock Museum in Gdańsk, in the tower of St. Catherine’s Church. The antenna system installed on the church’s roof receives signals from six pulsars and transmits them to the device that converts them to the second system. The clock itself, located in the at- tic of church, is a large “cupboard” of electronic and computer equipment.
In the crypt under the church floor rests a famous resident of Gdańsk; a 17th century astronomer, constructor, brewer and city councillor - Jan Heweliusz, the creator of the pendulum clock prototype.
Replicates of the Gdańsk clock can be seen, for example, at the European Parliament in Brussels, at the Municipal Office and the Marshal’s Office in Gdańsk and the Gdańsk Science and Technology Park.
Museum of Clock Tower
The branch of the Gdańsk History Museum is the only such place in Poland. The Museum gathered collections of tower clocks from the entire period of mechanical and mechanical-electrical clockmaking. Here you can view mechanisms dated back to the fifteenth or sixteenth century, and also those made after the Second World War. Here there are such rarities as the original foliot clock, one of the few preserved in Europe, a clock from the only Polish tower clock factory run by Michał Mięsowicz and even a mechanism from the British Isles. To celebrate the 400th anniversary of Jan Heweliusz’s birthday, in the year 2011 the famous pulsar clock was installed in the museum’s attic. To also remember the achievements of this great astronomer as a constructor of the pendulum, the museum constructed the most accurate pendulum clock Hevelius-2011. The electro-mechanical timepiece in its first trials showed a deviation of 10 microseconds per day! The Museum Clock Tower is not the only interesting thing in St. Catherine’s Church. The beginnings of the oldest parish church in the Old Town dates back to the thirteenth century. The interior is decorated with paintings by Anton Möller and Isaac van den Blocke. Here you’ll also find the epitaph and tombstone of Jan Heweliusz. The very beautiful, massive, three nave church features Gothic gables in the presbytery, the most wonderful architectural motifs of this kind in the city. The 76 metre high tower has a unique character. It is decorated with a magnificent tented roof designed by Jacob van den Blocke. Here are located the famous chimes, which tradition dates back to the 16th century. The carillon, com- posed of 50 bells is the largest concert bell set in this part of Europe. When standing on the roof and admiring from fifty metres up the wide panoramic views of the city and Gdańsk Bay, listening to beautiful music - your fascination with Gdańsk is guaranteed!