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Hamburg Observatory (German: Hamburger Sternwarte) is an astronomical observatory located in the Bergedorf borough of the city of Hamburg in northern Germany. It is owned and operated by the University of Hamburg, Germany since 1968, although it was founded in 1825 by the City of Hamburg and moved to its present location in 1912. It has operated telescopes at Bergedorf, at two previous locations in Hamburg, at other observatories around the world, and it has also supported space missions.

Hamburg-Bergedorf Observatory
Bdstern 1.jpg
OrganizationUniversity of Hamburg
Observatory code029 Edit this on Wikidata
LocationBergedorf, Hamburg, Germany
Coordinates53°28′48″N 10°14′28″E / 53.480°N 10.241°E / 53.480; 10.241Coordinates: 53°28′48″N 10°14′28″E / 53.480°N 10.241°E / 53.480; 10.241
Established1909 (1802)
Hamburg Observatory is located in Germany
Hamburg Observatory
Location of Hamburg-Bergedorf Observatory
Commons page Related media on Wikimedia Commons



Stintfang (1802–1811)Edit

The precursor of Hamburg Observatory was a private observatory by Johann Georg Repsold built in 1802, originally located at the Stintfang in Hamburg.[1] It started in 1803 with a meridian circle built by Repsold in 1808.[2] However, it was destroyed in 1811 by a war. Repsold, Reinke, and J.C. von Hess submitted a proposal to Hamburg for city observatory that same year, to rebuild.

Millerntor (1825–1906)Edit

Funding for a new Observatory was approved in August 1821, on the condition J. G. Repsold built the instruments. The new observatory was completed in 1825 next to the Millerntor. However, in 1830 Repsold died while fighting a fire (he was also a Hamburg fireman) and the City of Hamburg voted to take over and continue running the observatory in 1833.[3] First director became Charles Rümker who had accompanied Thomas Brisbane to build the first Australian observatory at Parramatta.[4] Christian August Friedrich Peters became assistant director in 1834. In 1856 Rümker's son George became director of the observatory.

In 1876 funding was received for 'The Equatorial', a 27 cm (10.6 inch) refractor; it was later moved to Bergedorf.

After the move to Bergedorf, the site was partially demolished and rebuilt into the Museum of Hamburg History (Hamburgmuseum / Museum für Hamburgische Geschichte).

Bergedorf (1912–present)Edit

The 1 m-Spiegel, a 1-meter reflecting telescope at Bergedorf Observatory

Because of the increasing light pollution, in 1906 it was decided to move the observatory to Bergedorf. In 1909 the first instruments were moved there, and in 1912 the new observatory was officially dedicated.

The European Southern Observatory (ESO) was founded at Bergedorf in 1962.

The Hamburg 1 m Reflector (39″/100 cm objective aperture) was the world's fourth largest reflector when it began operations in 1911.[5] Catalogs include the AGK3-Sternkatalog (completed over 1956-1964)

In 1968 the observatory became part of Hamburg University.[6] In 1979 a small museum to Bernard Schmidt was inaugurated.[2] In 2012, 100 years at Bergedorf was celebrated.[7]


Saturn through the Lippert telescope in 2005 (CC 2.0 License)
Telescopes [8]

Offsite telescopesEdit

  • In 1968 a 38 cm reflector was set up by the Hamburg Observatory at Stephanion Observatory in Greece.[9]
  • The aforementioned Schmidt was moved to Calar Alto Observatory in 1976. Some work was done with data from Effelsberg
  • The HRT telescope has been installed in March 2013 in Guanajuato, Mexico at the LaLuz Observatory of the University of Guanajuato. It is now in successful operation under its new name TIGRE. The costs and observing time are shared according to a trilateral agreement between the Universities of Liege, Guanajuato and Hamburg, the latter still leading the effort.
Location of telescopes at Bergedorf

People of Hamburg ObservatoryEdit

Directors of the Observatory:

Bernhard Schmidt, inventor of the Schmidt camera worked at the Observatory including making telescopes, instruments, and observations starting in 1916. Walter Baade successfully petitioned the Hamburg senate to have Schmidt camera installed in 1937, and it was completed in 1954 after work restarted on in 1951 after being interrupted by WWII. Walter Baade also succeeded in having a Schmidt camera built at Palomar Observatory in California.[13]

In 1928, Kasimir Graf made many observations at Hamburg until he left for the Vienna Observatory.


  1. ^ J.G. Repsold, the founder of Hamburg observatory (in German)
  2. ^ a b c "A short history of the Hamburg Observatory—Principal Instruments of Hamburg Observatory". Uni-Hamburg. Archived from the original on 13 February 2012. Retrieved 1 September 2015.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-06-27. Retrieved 2014-10-01.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ Charles Rümker, Erster Sternwartendirektor in Hamburg (in German)
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-02-07. Retrieved 2012-03-05.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-06-25. Retrieved 2009-02-27.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ 100 100 Years of the Observatory Bergedorf
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-01-25. Retrieved 2009-02-26.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ Stephanion Observatory, homepage
  10. ^
  11. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica, Otto Heckmann
  12. ^ "Nachrufe : Alfred Weigert". Mitteilungen der Astronomischen Gesellschaft Hamburg. 76: 11. 1993. Bibcode:1993MitAG..76...11.
  13. ^ Donald E. Osterbrock; Walter Baade (2001). Walter Baade: A Life in Astrophysics. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-04936-X.


  • Die Hamburger Sternwarte. ("The Hamburg Observatory"), Report on the Hamburg Observatory by R. Schorr, English Translation by Hamburg Observatory
  • Einleitung zum Jahresbericht der Sternwarte Bergedorf für das Jahr 1906 ("The annual report for the Bergedorf Observatory for 1906), English Translation by Hamburg Observatory
  • Agnes Seemann: Die Hamburger Sternwarte in Bergedorf. In: Lichtwark-Heft Nr. 73. Verlag HB-Werbung, Hamburg-Bergedorf, 2008. ISSN 1862-3549.
  • Jochen Schramm: Die Bergedorfer Sternwarte im Dritten Reich. In: Lichtwark-Heft Nr. 58. Hrsg. Lichtwark-Ausschuß, Hamburg-Bergedorf, 1993.
  • J. Schramm, Sterne über Hamburg - Die Geschichte der Astronomie in Hamburg, 2. überarbeite und erweiterte Auflage, Kultur- & Geschichtskontor, Hamburg 2010, ISBN 978-3-9811271-8-8

External linksEdit