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Telescopes and Photographic Plates




The Lippert Telescope (history, in german only) has seen many changes in the course of the years and is still in operation with a 60 cm parabolic reflector. It was originally built by Bernhard Schmidt and used as one of the double reflector telescopes. From the original setup only the mounting is still in its place. 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 8750 plates in the plate-archives (html version).


1-meter Reflector Telescope


As it was launched 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 on variable stars. The first plate was taken in 1911 and from the about 7600 well preserved plates in the plate-archives (html version) 5619 are direct and 2024 spectrographic plates. Although the spectrographic plates (single spectra) are unsuitable 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 was put into operation in 1932. 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 plates were exposed from which 1746 are still available, and about half of which were done on glass plates, see plate-archives (html version). Thereafter the telescope was moved to Asiago/Italy where it operated for 3 years and 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 has been completed by Bernhard Schmidt in 1934 and was used until 1957. It was a combination of Schmidt-telescope and parabolic mirror telescope, both with the same aperture and focal length. Obviously it was designed to compare both types of telescope, though the Schmidt telescope was only scarcely used,  probably due to fogging problems of the correction plate and the wind sensitivity due to the double length of the telescope. More than 2000 plates have been taken with both telescopes, see plate-archives (html version) from which 1367 DRP and 275 DRK plates still exsist.


The Large Hamburg Schmidt Telescope


The large Schmidt telescope called Großer Schmidt-Spiegel (history) began its operation not until 1954, see plate-archives (html version) . It was too late for this location due to the increasing light pollution from Hamburg, but nevertheless 5771 plates (GS) have been exposed of which 5323 still exsist. Consequently it was moved to the Calar Alto Observatory in Spain in 1975. There it was called the 'Hamburger Schmidt-Spiegel' and the excellent quality of the optics became apparent , see plate-archives (html version). Between 1984 and 1998  3292 plates (HS) have been exposed – mostly for the Hamburg-Quasar-Survey (Objective Prism Survey). 3255 of these plates still exist.


The Great Refractor


The Great Refractor (history, in german only) is presumably the most impressive instrument of Hamburg Observatory. With an objective diameter of 60 cm and a focal length of 9 m it ranks 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 was originally equipped with 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 (html version). In order to examine extinction additional cameras have been 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 function of zenit distance. Initially the plates were documented in the observer notes of the GR but later on in separate notebooks (DK, E, C, Kl). The plate numbers starting with GRk, GRTe, GRTr and GRE belong to the extinction project. There are 2600 plates in the archive.


The AG-Astrograph


The AG-Astrograph was designed for the in 1924 contracted project for a catalogue 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 catalogue began in 1929. The final catalogue was published in 1951. A total of 4283 plates were exposed with this telescope, see plate-archives (html version).




In 1927 a Ross-camera with a focal length of 711 mm and a diameter of 106 mm has been bought. With this camera about 300 plates were exposed between 1932 and 1948 from which 160 still exist (see plate-archives html 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 with a total of 885 images exposed on circular films or glass plates, see plate-archives (html version). From 1962 up to 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). From this location 355 exposures can be 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 be used for photographic photometry with a focal length of 114.58 cm. A test telescope with half the scale (focal length 57.3 cm) was constructed. Plates exposed with this telescope bear the numbers W1 - W322 (in the archive we use WP) and were used by Stock (1951, AN 280, 121), see plate-archives (html version) for 311 existing plates. The larger telescope was never built.




The Zone-Astrograph was built for astrometric purposes and with a focal length of 205.3 cm and 23.0 cm aperture it 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) which have been exposed at the Lick observarory. Stellar positions were used also for the HIPPARCOS input catalogue. All plates can be found in the plate-archive (html Version).



Plates from external observatories


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

Solar eclipse from 1912 in Hagenow

Solar eclipse from 1929


The 'Deutsches Hydrographische Institut' (DHI) used a Photo-Zenit-Telescope to expose ca. 4700 plates between 1958 and 1967.  The exposures were part of a project to determine the time and the latitude as well as the determination of the polar axis (see Plattenarchiv html Version).


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


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


The European Southern Observatory (ESO) has been extensively used by observers from Hamburger Sternwarte. Here you can find 2600 observations done with the ESO-telescopes, see plate-archives (html version).


Furthermore there are 75 plates taken with the 60"-R.C.-Telecope at the Leopold Figl Observatory/Austria in theplate-archives (html Version).


Some plates taken with the Kvistaberg-Schmidt-Telescope(Sweden/Uppsala) are also in the plate-archives (html Version).


We also have plates taken with the 60"-Telescope at Mount Wilson Observatory by Walter Baade and others (see plate-archives html Version).


Observations in South-Africa were done in the years 1958 and 1962 with the ADH-Baker-Schmidt-Telescope (history) and with the 10"-Metcalf-Telescope, see plate-archives (html version) (only 196 plates are available).


468 plates taken at the Vatikan Observatory (1898-1961), can also be found at plate-archives (html version).


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