18 November 2009

The Almanac is flying off the shelves

The Danish Almanac, the little yellow astronomical calendar from the University of Copenhagen has been nothing less than a hit. After many years of a steady, but quiet life it has suddenly become so popular that extra editions had to be printed. 

Book: Almanak 2010Last year the Danish Almanac flew off of the bookstore shelves and was already sold out by the end of November. This year the print run was increased from 8.500 copies to 9.000 copies, but was immediately sold out at the publisher, so the Faculty of Science, which is responsible for the publication, decided to print an additional 1.000 copies.

The Danish Almanac contains a very detailed calendar, including the Sun and Moon rising and setting times, the location of the planets in the sky, name days, high tides, flags and Morse code, time zones, weights and measures as well as a hunting table. The astronomical calculations are made by Birgitta Nordström, an astronomer at the Niels Bohr Institute

In addition, there are a number of articles, which this year are about the planets in our solar system, the planet Mars, dwarf planets, quantum communication, the communication between proteins and the communication of young people. 

Cultural history throughout 600 years

The University of Copenhagen has published an almanac all the way back to its founding in 1479 and the current form first appeared in 1685.

The actual word, almanac, is in itself an interesting cultural history with roots far back and distant. In Danish we have the word from Spanish, almanaque. Spanish has the word from Arabic, where the prefix al is the definite article, while manãr means calendar or lunar cycle. Arabic has the word from the Greek manãkhos, lunar circle or lunar cycle. It is also found in Latin as mensis, which means month. 

As something new, the Danish Almanac can also be seen at the Niels Bohr Institute’s homepage and read the day’s astronomical calendar for Denmark, the Faroe Islands and Greenland. The calendar shows a week ahead and also has astronomical articles.

See the Danish Almanac, Niels Bohr Institute >>