MTA CSFK Geodéziai és Geofizikai Intézet

Brief History of the Observatory

The observatory was founded by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, as perhaps the first Hungarian establishment dedicated to upper atmosphere and near-Earth space research. The observatory became operational on the beginning of the International Geophysical Year (IGY, between July 1957 and December 1958).

Present-day activity of the observatory is rooted in 240 years history of geophysical observations in Hungary. Measurements of the Earth’s magnetic fields started at Nagyszombat University in 1768 and moved to Buda soon with the university. Buda Observatory was put into operation in 1777. It had to be replaced at the end of the 19th century due to industrial development and electrification of the capital. Konkoly Thege Miklós, director of the Central Institute of the Hungarian Kingdom for Meteorology and Earth Magnetism (Meteorológiai és Földdelejességi Magyar Királyi Központi Intézet) established the new geomagnetic observatory at Ógyalla in 1893. With the Treaty of Trianon the territory became a part of Czechoslovakia. After a chaotic period a temporary station was set up at Budakeszi and the final replacement of Ógyalla became fully operational in Tihany in 1955. By that time the importance of solar terrestrial interactions and diagnostics of the ionosphere and magnetosphere had been recognized and the growing interest inspired the Geophysical Research Laboratory of the Sopron University, headed by professor Károly Kántás, to establish a purpose built observatory near Nagycenk. That is why the Széchenyi István Geophysical Observatory became known as Nagycenk Observatory (IAGA code: NCK) worldwide. Foundation of the observatory set in motion the permanent development of instrumentation, continuous international data services and scientific research especially in geomagnetism and aeronomy.

Nagycenk Geophysical Observatory has been supplying data since 1957. Geophysical Observatory Reports comprise earth current data from 1957 on, geomagnetic data from 1961 on and atmospheric electricity data from 1962 on.