Telescopes and photographic plates




The Lippert Telescope (history, in german only) has seen many changes in the course of the years and is still used with a 60 cm parabolic reflector, originally built by Bernard Schmidt and used as one of the double reflector telescopes. Of the original setup, only the mounting is still in its place. As Lippert Astrograph, this instrument was originally a combination of three astrographs and two guiding refractors, installed on the same mounting. The first plates were taken in 1912. Observations were made on plates of different size from 9x12 cm up to 30x30 cm. There are about 8800 plates in the plate-archives (hmtl version).


1 meter Reflector Telescope


When it took up work in 1911, the 1 Meter Reflector Telescope was the fourth largest reflecting telescope in the world, and for many years, the largest in Germany(history). It was used by Walter Baade for his pioneering work about variable stars. The first plate was taken in 1911 and there are about 10000 plates in the plate-archives (hmtl version) (the 5843 direct plates are completely digitized). The spectrographic plates (single spectra) are not usable for quantitative spectroscopic work due to the unknown characteristic curve.


The Original Schmidt-Mirror-Telescope


The Original Schmidt-Mirror was the first spheric mirror telescope with correction plate and put into operation in1932. It was first called Schmidt's coma free mirror telescope and was used from the beginning with circular films. Spectra were obtained with an objective prism plate. Until 1955 1866 exposures were made, about half of them on glass plates, see plate-archives (hmtl version). The the telescope was moved to Asiago/Italy until 1958 were it was used by Karl Wurm. Back in Bergedorf the instrument was used only for a couple of observations.


The Dual-Reflector Telescope


The Dual-Reflector Telescope was finished by Bernhard Schmidt in 1934 and was used until 1957. It was a combination of Schmidt-telescope and parabolic mirror telescope, both with same aperture and focal length. Obviously it was designed to compare both types of telescope, though the Schmidt-telescope was only used  randomly probably due to fogging problems of the correction plate and the wind sensisivity of the double length of the telescope. More than 2000 plates were taken with both telescopes, see plate-archives (hmtl version) from which 1366 DRP and 265 DRK plates still exsist.


The Large Hamburg Schmidt-Telescope


A large Schmidt telescope called Großer Schmidt-Spiegel (history) started its operation only in 1954, see plate-archives (hmtl version) . This was to late for this site due to increasing light pollution from Hamburg but. nevertheless 5771 plates (GS) were expose from which 5162 still exsist. Consequently it was moved in 1975 to the Calar Alto Observatory in Spain. There it was called 'Hamburger Schmidt-Spiegel' and the excellent quality of the optics became apparent , see plate-archives (hmtl version). From 1984-1998  3292 plates (HS) from which 3014 still exist were exposed mostly for the Hamburg-Quasar-Survey (Objective Prism Survey).


The Great Refractor


The Great Refractor (history, in german only) is presumably the most impressive instrument of Hamburg Observatory. Its objective diameter (60 cm) and focal length (9 m) place it among the largest refractor telescopes in Germany. The telescope is still in good working order, and was used - equipped with a modern CCD camera - to observe the impacts of comet Shoemaker/Levy 9's fragments on Jupiter in 1994. It had at first only a visual objective lens. In 1925 a photographic lens was added which was re-polished by Bernhard Schmidt in 1931 to improve sensitivity for the available photographic emulsions, see plate-archives (hmtl version). To examine extinction additional cameras were added to the telescope as for example the Double-Camera consisting of two objectives of 270 mm focal length each. It was attached to the front end of the lense tube and was used as a photometric camera to analyse the extinction as fuction of zenit distance. At first, plates were documented in the observer notes of the GR but later in own notebooks (DK, E, C, Kl). The plate numbers starting with GRk, GRTe, GRTr and GRE belong to the extiction project.


The AG-Astrograph


The AG-Astrograph  was designed for the in 1924 agreed project  for a catalog comprising the exact positions of 200.000 stars. It was a common observational project  between Hamburg, Bonn and Pulkowa observatories. The telescope aperture was 15 cm and the focal length 2m. Observations for the AGK2 catalog  began in 1929. The final catalog was published in 1951. A total of 4252 Plates were exposed with this telescope, see plate-archives (hmtl version).




In 1927 a Ross-camera with a focal length of 711 mm and a diameter of 106 mm had been baught. With this camera about 300 plates were exposed between 1932 and 1948. (see plate-archives hmtl Version).


The Small Schmidt-Mirror-Telescope II


There was a copy of the first Schmidt-camera which was called Small Schmidt-mirror II  (or Salvador-Schmidt) when it was used in Hamburg from 1954 until 1960 and more than 518 images were taken on circular films or glass plates, see plate-archives (hmtl version). From 1962 until 1968 this telescope was used at Boyden Observatory in South Africa (named here KSB = 'Kleiner Schmidt-Spiegel Boyden' instead of 'HS' on the plate envelopes). A total of 622 exposures were so far found in the plate archives.



The Wellmann Photometric Telescope


This 3 lenses telescope was calculated by Peter Wellmann (1951, AN 280, 113) and was designed to use it for photographic photometrie with a focal length of 114.58 cm. A test a telescope with exactly half dimensions was constructed. Plates exposed with this telescope became plate numbers W1 - W322 (in the archive we use WP) and were used by Stock (1951, AN 280, 121), see plate-archives (hmtl version) for 290 existing plates. The larger telescope was never built.




The Zone-Astrgraph was built for astrometric purposes and with 205.3 cm folcal length and 23.0 cm aperture covers a field of 6° x 6° on plates of size 24 cm x 24 cm. 2442 plates were observed in Bergedorf since 1975. Additionally, there are 41 plates available (ZAL) exposed at the Lick observarory. Stellar positions were used also for the HIPPARCOS input catalog. Plates can be fouhd at plate-archive (hmtl Version).



Other plates taken outside Hamburg


Moon observations by Bernhard Schmidt in 1917 (30m focal length)

Solar eclipse from 1912 in Hagenow

Solar eclipse from 1929


There are some loaned plates from the Anglo-Australian-Telescope in the plate-archives (hmtl Version).


Plates exposed with Calar-Alto-Telescopes 1.23m and 2.2m can be found in the plate-archives (hmtl version).


The European Southern Observatory (ESO) was widly used by observers from Hamburger Sternwarte. Here you can find observations done with  ESO Schmidt-telescope, see plate-archives (hmtl version)


There are 75 plates taken with the 60"-R.C.-Telecope at  Leopold Figl Observatory/Austria in the plate-archives (hmtl Version).


There are also plates taken with the 60"-Telescope at Mount Wilson Observatory by Walter Baade (see plate-archives hmtl Version).


Observations inSouth-Africa were done in 1958 and 1962 with the ADH-Baker-Schmidt-Telescope (history) and with the 10"-Metcalf-Telescope, see plate-archives (hmtl version) (only 196 plates, completely digitized).


There are also some plates taken with the Uppsala-Schmidt-Telescope/Sweden in the plate-archives (hmtl Version).


Plates taken at the Vatikan Observatory (1898-1961), can be found also at plate-archives (hmtl version)