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Wendelstein Observatory

University observatory München

Faculty for physics of Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität

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Wendelstein Home
The site
Meteorological conditions
Current weather data
2.1 m telescope
43 cm telescope
20 cm coronograph
Wendelstein Live!
Astronomical images with the 40 cm telescope (german)
Astronomical images with the 80 cm telescope (german)
Surroundings (german)
History (in german)
80 cm Teleskop 1989-2008
Home page Universitäts Sternwarte München

The Wendelstein Observatory

Deutsche Fassung

Der Wendelstein im Winter
Universitäts-Sternwarte München / Observatorium Wendelstein
Scheinerstr. 1, D-81679 München, Deutschland
Telefon +49-89-2180-6001 Telefax +49-89-2180-6003 Internet: name@usm.uni-muenchen.de

Wendelsteingipfel, D-83735 Bayrischzell, Deutschland
Telefon +49-08023-8198-0 Telefax +49-08023-8198-29 Internet: name@usm.uni-muenchen.de

Site description

The Wendelstein Observatory is situated on the summit of Mount Wendelstein, a prominent, 1838 m high mountain in the bavarian Alpes. It is operated by the University Observatory of the University of Munich.

Geographical coordinates:    
University Observatory Munich
D-83735 Bayrischzell
Telephone (0049 8023) 81980
Fax (0049 8023) 819829
Latitude: 47o 42' 13.1" North
Longitude: 12o 00' 43.4" East

Only 75 km south-east of Munich, after one hour care drive this site can easily be reached via cable car (8 min) or by means of a cog rail road (25 min.). Final access to the very top is achieved by an elevator climbing up 100 m within the mountain. The observatory was first installed to survey the solar activity. In the mid-1980, it was redirected to night observations of stars and galaxies, but it still owns a 20 cm Zeiss solar coronograph. Nowadays, the coronograph is used only for eduction and public outreach.

For first the night time activites, an 80 cm DFM-telescope was installed which was operated until spring 2008 for scientific observing programs every clear night. It was equipped with high-tech focal instruments like high-speed multichannel photometers or a direct imaging CCD-Camera. This instrumentation has often been involved in international observing programs since. The scientific focussed started with stars, especially binary stars. Later on, galaxies were added.

In 2007, a 40 cm telescope was installed to bridge the gap for the students lab until a 2.1 m telescope took over on the old site of the 80 cm telescope. The pier and dome of the 80 cm telescope have been demolished and replaced by a new building with an 8.5m Baader dome (2010).

The new 2.1 m telescope was installed shortly before chrismas 2011 and went into regular observations mid 2013. It offers up to four instruments. The science focus ranges from exo-solar planets, star formation regions, nearby galaxies towards distant cluster of galaxies. Its observing program reflects the scientific topics of the astronomer groups at the university observatory of the faculty of physics which is part of the Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich.

In 2016, the 40 cm telescope was shipped to the Munich host institute and a 43 cm Planewave astrograph was mounted in the 3.2m Baader dome. The new instrument continues the student lab support and offers a wider field of view.

Meteorological Conditions:

The weather conditions at Wendelstein are highly seasonal with sometimes more than 1m of snow in winter time and decent warmth in summer. But cold weather may occur at any time of the year.

Above the clouds at sunset

Compared to other sites in Germany the meteorological conditions at Wendelstein have turned out to be fairly good. During typical years about 120 nights with less than 2/8 cloud cover can be used for astronomical observations. Extremely dark nights often occur in autumn when the upper cloud layers may reach altitudes of 1500 - 1800 m thus preventing light pollution by some nearby small villages. Seeing conditions have been studied in April through December 1998 using a copy of the ESO Paranal Seeing Monitor kindly made available by ESO. (e.g. ESO La Silla and Paranal in Chile, Calar Alto in Spain).

Telescope and Instrumentation:

The 2.1 m Fraunhofer telescope

The telescope was installed during the second half of 2011 by Kayser-Threde GmbH (München, meanwhile OHB Systems Wessling bei München) and Astelco System GmbH (Martinsried). A 8.5 m diameter dome of Baader Planetarium (Mammendorf) protects the telecope again bad weather conditions. The three mirrors of the telecope were produced by Lytkarino Opical Glass Factory (LZOS, Moskau). Its control system was designed and produced by tau-tec GmbH Tübingen entwickelt.

. Instruments were build at the university observatory in Munich. The telecope has a compact Ritchey-Chrétien design with a free aperture of 2.1 meters and a focal ratio of f/7.8. The incoming light is redirected by a movable third plane mirror to one of the two Nasmyth-focal stations. At those stations, scientific equipment of up to 350 kg and a flat field of view of up to über 0.7  degree can be mounted. One station operates an optical CCD-based wide field imager making full use of this large field of view , the other one supports some field of view instruments without additional lens systems. The telescope can be opearted remotely. The scientific instruments build at the host institute in Munich:

  • WWFI, (operational since July 2013)
  • 3KK, (operational since January 2016)
  • VIRUS-W, (on loan to the 2.7 McDonald teleskop)
  • FOCES (in commissioning).
Wendelstein 2.1m-telescope

Wendelstein 2.1 m Fraunhofer telescope dbuild by Kayser-Threde (München) and Astelco (Martinsried)
equipped with the wide field CCD camera WWFI (left) and the optical-near-infrared 3-chanal-camera (right).
Spiralgalaxie NGC 891

Exposure of the spiral galaxy NGC 891 (Andromeda) taken with the Wendelstein 2.1 m Fraunhofer Telescope and its WWFI camera. Individual exposures in u′, g′, und r′ filters were combied to a so-called true-color image. NGC 891 resembles our own Milky Way galaxy in size and structure and is about 30 Mio. lightyears away.

Galaxie M33 Perseus-Galaxienhaufen Galaxien M65 und M66 Sternentstehungsgebiet M42 (Orionnebel) Galaxienpaar M51/NGC5195
Shortly before end of the years 2013 to 2017, pseudo thrue color images of nice astronomical objects were produced. They are based on data taken with the 2.1m Fraunhofer telescope and its wide field CCD camera WWFI. 2013, the neighboring spiral galaxy M33 (far left) was selected. In 2014, a portrait of the Perseus cluster of galaxies (2nd from left) was published. 2015 followed a picture of the galaxies M65 and M66 which are central in a small group of galaxies (3th from left). In 2016, we produced an image of the great Orion nebula M42 (4th from left). 2017, the pair of interacting galaxies M51(=NGC5194) and NGC5195 was selected (far right). The newest picture in this series by end of 2018 is at top under Aktuelles (german web page).

Technically, the images are produced in the same manner as the on for NGC891, but for all images, the full field of view of WWFI is used (corresponding to the full moon diameter). Click on the images for higher resolution.

43 cm Teleskop

Since 2017, a CDK17-Planewave telescope with a corrector for 0.75 degree field of view is operated in the small 3.2 m Baader dome and a CCD camera for imaging is mounted. The telescope is designed as a Dall-Kirkham astrograph. The telecope can be controlled remotely. Besides its imaging capability, it can also serve a small spectrograph for student lab work.
Wendelstein-40-cm-Planewave-Teleskops Monfinsternis_20180718_40cm_gri Orionnebel M42 mit 40cm Planewave in Bgr Orionnebel M42 mit 40cm Planewave in Bgr
Wendelstein 40 cm Planewave telescope (rotating dome during night time - picture by M. Kluge Total lunar eclipe 27.7.2018 as observed with the 40cm Planewave at Wendelstein. SBIG CCD camera with g, r, and i filters. Observer: M. Schmidt, datareduction: C. Goessl. The great Orion nebula M42 as observed with the Wendelsteinn 40cm Planewave through filters g, r, L, i, <[OIII]>and Halpha (Data reduction Ch. Obermeier). Done in the course of the student lab. Supernova remnant 'cygnus loop' (also known under 'Cirrus nebula' or 'Veil nebula') taken with the Planewave astrograph at Wendelstein and g, r, L, andHalpha filters (data reduction by Chr. Obermeier). The picture shows only a cut-off of the full data set (extend roughly 3 by 2 degree).
Technically, the images are produced in the same manner as WWFI frame for NGC891. Click on the images for higher resolution and larger size.

20 cm Coronograph

A special 20 cm refracor, built by Zeiss-Oberkochen, was used until 1988 to observe the activity of the sun in white light, Haplha, and spectra. On can place special light stops (the so-called coronographic design which produces artificial solar eclipses) into the telecope light path allowing to observe the solar atmosphere under excellent atmospheric conditions. The telescope is still used for public outreach and student eduction.

Solar activity data taken at Wendelstein have been digitzed for the years 1947 to 1982 and are availabel from the Solar Data Services of the National Geophysical Data Center (Boulder).

20 cm Coronograph and solar protuberances

Observing Programs

The telescopes at Wendelstein support the science topics of the astronomers of the university observatory in Munich which range from the exo-solar planets towards distant cluster of galaxies. Results can be found in the publication list of the observatory, which also includes the results of student work (OhD, master/diploma, bachelor). The telscopes also support the education of the Munich students.

Wendelstein live! (The observatory webcam)

Landscape image gallery


(in German, many pictures)

Publications, dissertations and diploma thesis's

Back to the main page of the University Observatory Munich

Letzte Änderung: 22. Mai 2018 durch U. Hopp (hopp .at. usm.lmu.de), webmaster: (webmaster .at. usm.lmu.de)
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