The Hamburger Sternwarte plate archives give full access to all available informations. All new scans are immediately available next day.

Here the usage of the search functions is explained. Please try out further possibilities.

Attention!  All META-data are read from handwritten material, manually entered and may be therefore erroneous. Please, report all errors including the plate number directly to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. They will be corrected as soon as possible.

Attention! All names or terms in the meta-data are given in the German notation as written in the books (comet/Komet, moon/Mond, etc.).


If all fields are empty and no telescope chosen, data base entries will be listed according to the date.

If a telescope is chosen the output will start with the first and oldest plate.

The number of plates in the output list can be enlarged or one may skip by any number of plates (skip 500, num. 100 displays plate 501. bis 601.).

All further inputs will restrict some output. Therefore, it is important to clear the mask when starting a new search (reset), especially if '0' result is encountered.

If you need any information concerning the observation times, please refer to the observer notes, where in most cases observation start and end is given. Mostly it will be given as sidereal time if not named explicitly  as UT or MEZ.


for plate number or object

Here you can use different inputs: e.g. telecope='SS' and plate number='10' will result in SS00010, SS00100, SS00101,SS00102,..., also all plate numbers, which include 10. In case of a catalog number there should be a blank between catalog initials and number in most cases. To be sure to find all plates a search for 'M 31' and for 'M31' is recommended.

for object type, coordinates or date

Coordinate entries may be done in following formats given for the example of δ : -10:30:30, -10:30.5, -10.508333. Also a blank after the '-' or a '+' are tolerated.

E.g. if you enter 'Nova' in the object field, all plates which include 'nova', Nova' or 'novae' etc.,  will be listed up to max. num. given.

If you search for a plate by observation date (taken at your birthday e.g.) please use the correct format (yyyy-mm-dd).
additional constraints or preclusions  

If you look for objective prism plates only, please enter 'op' in the 'prism' field.

In case you look for direct plates only use '-op' instead.

To exclude focus plates please enter '-fokus' in the notes field (fokus with 'k' for German writing).

For plates with a certain emulsion and/or filter or mode you can choose the appropriate tab that will open lists to choose or to exclude certain emulsions or filters. You can mark multiple entries and after closing the tab (X) you will get below a list of numbers which will display their content at mouseover.

The mode field is used for the Lippert astrographs with its three telecopes on one mounting and the type of prism if used.

To search only single exposure plates, please, enter '-' in 'the 'multiple exposure' field. To search for plates taken with 4 exposures just enter '4'.

The possibility of reading in the observers notes can be found at the end of the search page or on the web pages for each specific plate (above the images of the observer notes pages).



all plates for one telescope
Choose telescope, press search button or enter skip or max. num. entries.
Attention!!: For new search parameters, or with changed search parameters a reset is recommended, especially if '0' results are encountered.

all plates with a certain object
If you want to know if there are plates for a special object, you can define a 'RA-dec'-area or enter a coordinate and a radius. Then plates are listed where the plate center is in the circle or the aria given (only if the plate center is already available!).

There is a button for csv-files of any chosen selection of plates.

Details for a plate

Each plate will be displayed on a single web page. First the META-data. Below images of the plate, its envelop and the pages from the observer notes belonging to that night are displayed. There is also a link to a book reader. Below there are pages or cutouts from the logbooks and at the end the links to the high resolution scans(2400 dpi, be careful, image sizes up to 1.5 GB!). Please note copyrights.

Empty fields or missing images point to nonavailability.


There is a book reader for already scanned observer notes. It may be reached directly from the archive search web page.





The image archives contain plates and films mostly from non-astronomical objects with exeption of photos from the moon and the planets. Most of these images don't have additional information, not even the date or the exposure time. There are many copies (e.g. copied plates of comets from other observatories). The publication serves mainly historical interests.

Images are ordered in groups of objects or according to their material. Nevertheless, there is a search fuction available (for example 'Kuppel', 'Schmidt', 'Lippert-Astrograph', etc. which will list all images according to the content of their meta-data.

The goal is to have a quick look at a large number of photos and to choose the best and most interesting of them. Therefore it is possible to mark single photos with a right mouse click (a second click will remove the mark). The marked photos can be downloaded in high resolution with the tar-button that will appear immediately on the right sideof the page. If several categories are open at the same time a download of all marked images will be possible.

In case of empty image frames, the images are not released yet.