1986 until 2011 - 25 years Bismarck telescope!

Welcome to the Bismarck Observatory and to my other telescopes!

The Bismarck Telescope is a legendary home made telescope. It is a Newtonian mirror telescope with a diameter of 13.1 inch. The aperture ratio is 1/4.5. The name is due to its heavy construction inspired by shipbuilding and heavy machinery but with no military intention. The name was created intuitively on a gut level. During its travel period this telescope had a complete weight of about 250 kilograms. Bismarck was many years in mobile use as a "hauling telescope" sometimes in Southern Spain and at some of the star parties called Internationales Teleskop Treffen in Carinthia, Austria. Quasi as highlight in summer of 1991 it got the chance to travel to America for observation of the Total Solar Eclipse. In fall of 1993 the foundation of The Bismarck Observatory was pushed forward. Since November of this year the telescope is standing on its heavy concrete founding weighing 300 kilograms, protected against wind and weather by a mobile miniature hut which provided its services about 20 years in the garden of the University Observatory Munich . The image behind this link shows the hut at its old location in front of the main building of the University Observatory. In 1999 Bismarck got a second opportunity to experience a Total Solar Eclipse. Perhaps the Bismarck Observatory is the only amateur Observatory whose main instrument has experienced two Total Eclipses. In November 2003 the 10th anniversary of the commissioning of The Bismarck Observatory happened. In July 2011 it was time for the next great changement: After our almost finished movement towards the Allgaeu region Bismarck could also made a travel into the west also marking the end of the Bismarck Observatory in its previous form. Unfortunately the hut could not be used in its common way, not enough space into the new garden. Meanwhile Bismarck has to withstand the elements, mounted at its old steel tripod, covered with planes. But the future should bring a new home for the heavy duty telescope. If you are interested in a few technical details and informations about Bismarck you can look here.

Off course the images at this pages can be enjoyed together with the images from the Bismarck gallery by this way .

During the preparation of the next Solar Eclipse expedition some nice t-shirts and Bismarck Observatory products have been designed. You may take a look here!

Haley's Telescope Technology links to the large Bismarck gallery and to more telescopes and astronomical projects.

New images at this page can be viewed here and here .

A newer time lapse clip from summer 2007 can be watched here.

You can download an older nice little Bismarck time lapse movie here . It is taken during a spechtling night in summer 2003. Filesize is 1 Mb.

In April 2007

In February 2012

In June 2003

Longer versions of both panoramic views can be watched at the Bismarck gallery .

The image in the middle is done during our firs winter at the new domicile. There was a little meeting for "spechtling", in front the cute 66mm Wilhelmine Apo of Gabi, in rear Ben with his Lightbridge.

The winter rules already at the Bismarck Observatory. But it is no more than October!

Bismarck and Gabi

Haley at "spechtling"

Early summer 2003

Technology of the 13 inch Bismarck Telescope:


Tracking system

Declination clamping

Telescope tube

Complete view of the graticule of the mounting from east. Detailed view of the worm wheel of the tracking system with the motor housing. Fine gear in declination und clamping. Detailed view of the divisible tube with the rotation system.

Focusing unit

Guiding scope carrier

The focusing unit is easy detachable and will also be used together with the other scopes. The 3 1/2 inch guiding scope is mounted on this carrier, adjustable in two axes. With this device a guiding star is easy to find.

The construction of the graticule already started at the end of the seventies of the last century. Both axes descended from a historic vehicle of the brand Opel Diplomat. This is called to be elegant recycling. The mounting resembles in design the legendary Siegfried mounting from Anton Staus, but is improved in essential points and is made complete from steel and aluminium. The main improvements includes an oversized clamping in Declination and a strengthened connection between Rectascension axis and Declination axis. The worm wheel was made originally after the measurements of Anton Staus and is driven by an oversized synchronous motor which is working now until 20 years without any failure. The telescope tube is divisible with a fast clamping system. This was advantageous for the transportations but is still helpful for a proper fitting of the Bismarck telescope in its small hut. The focusing unit is sitting on an adjustable plate and is due to its integrated set of filters equipped with a fast clamping system for matching on all my telescopes. According to todays technical measurements the tracking control could be named fossil but it fulfilles itīs purpose to my convenience. Due to theft prevention expensive components like eyepieces and the focusing unit will not be stored inside the Observatory. The telescope itself is extremly sturdy and instead of minimal maintenance and strong traces of wear and age it is still able to fulfill its purpose to enjoy my wife and myself with great astronomy pleasure.

Unusual views of my Observatory:

Zodiac and Mars at the Observatory

Observatory in fisheye style

Vies into the milky way

-25° under canvas cover

Only during a few nights per year the conditions are so good that the zodiac light is visible so close to a large city! A look through the eye of an allsky mirror at The Bismarck Observatory. Off course the nightly activities at the Observatory are inmidst my "spechtling" ambitions. The first winter in Allgaeu, Bismarck has to withstand the elements without hut.

Annotation: The sometimes used word "spechtling" is no correct english word. It is derived from the german phrase "spechteln" which means approximately the following: Spechtling characterizes a special way of doing astronomical observations, especial as an amateur astronomer. A romantic way of doing astronomy consistent with the experience of nature, the starry sky and the vastness of the universe. It pronounces the naturebound adder of making astronomy, as far away from the civilization as possible, equipped only with minimum technology, off course except the telescope. This philosophy was founded among Munich Spechtlers.

Here is the way to the Bismarck gallery with images of its voyages:

There you reach the Solar Eclipse page with nice pictures:

Christina and the ULT "Schdoffal" are two further cool telescopes which I have built. Here is the image gallery!

Many adapters and other accessories for astrophotography are home made. A proprietary development is the light focuser. This innovation and more will be introduced at the technic page.

The astrophotographic capacity of my telescopes Bismarck, Christina and Schdoffal presents this gallery:
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