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Public stargazing at Lund Observatory

Introduction | Telescopes and Equipment | Previous Events

9 May 2016: Mercury transit

On Monday, 9th of May 2016, we held an event to see Mercury transiting in front of the Sun. Using special filters for solar observations on our telescopes, we were able to see the solar disk and a tiny black speck in front of it (Mercury). Furthermore, we looked at other features of the Sun, such as sunspots, and prominences. Ca 70 guests attended the talks, and roughly 250 visitors came to see the transit at Lund Observatory. The local newspaper Lokaltidningen reported about the transit event.

Programme:
12:30-12:35 Welcome (Anders Johansen)
12:35-12:45 Introduction to the Mercury transit (Lennart Lindegren)
12:45-12:55 Exoplanet transit research (Anders Johansen)
12:55-13:05 How to observe the Sun (Daniel Michalik)
13:05-13:15 Live video broadcast (Daniel Michalik and Dainis Dravins; transit starts at 13:12)
from 13:15: Viewing of the Mercury transit with a small telescope in front of the building

Background information: The next Mercury transits are 2019-Nov-11 and 2032-Nov-13. They will be unlikely to be observed from Sweden since November months are typically cloudy. Furthermore, the Sun will be low on the sky in November, which causes disturbances of the view because of atmospheric turbulences. The next Mercury transit with favourable viewing conditions is in May 2049.


April 2016: a sneak preview of our new telescope

We have now finished the set-up of our new teaching telescope. The page Telescopes and Equipment has been updated with pictures of the new system. A first testrun with astronomy students, as well as observations with the Student Astronomy Club ALVA and the stargazing newsletter recipients, was highly successful. Approximately 50 guests observed with us during this preliminary glimpse of our new equipment.

February 2016: A new telescope has arrived

During the winter months the department has been busy setting up a new teaching telescope, which will also be used for public outreach. The new system is a Celestron 14" Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope on a 10micron GM2000 HPS mount, and first tests show that it provides absolutely stunning views of the night sky. It will take a few more weeks to finish the set-up and installation phase, and we hope that we will be able to invite the general public for a demonstration soon.

Special event in October: Astronomy Day And Night 2015

On the 10th of October the Student Astronomy Club ALVA organized a small stargazing event.

Lund eclipse during super moon: September 28 (Sunday to Monday night)

The lunar eclipse during super moon (rare event!) began at 2:11, totality from 4:11 to 5:23, and has it's maximum at 4:47. Sunrise at 7 am. Some private enthusiasts and staff of the department met on the St Hans Backar hill top to watch this absolutely spectactular event.

Special event in September: culture night

On Saturday, 19th of September, we observed the Sun during most of the daytime, and the Moon and Saturn's rings at dusk. Later on clouds rolled in, but through the gaps we managed to see some of the brightest objects of the night sky, amongst them the binary system Albireo. We used an improvised temporary telescope setup.

Equipment destroyed: regular telescope programme suspended until further notice

Our stargazing program started about three years ago on the initiative of a small group of astronomy students and staff, and we spent many wonderful nights outside together with you in the cold. As you might have heard, storm Egon in the beginning of the year has destroyed our main optical telescope and our radio telescope. New equipment has been ordered, but we are still awaiting delivery and installation. It remains to be seen in which form the public outreach through stargazing events may be continued in the future. We will inform about news here and through the newsletter (see below), although you will have to be very patient with us.

February 2015 - a successful evening after a long period of travelling staff and bad weather

On Thursday, the 5th of February 2015, we had a stargazing evening with 25 people, using a very improvised telescope set-up ("the Frankenstein telescope"). Throughout the night we saw various constellations and the planetsVenus, Mars and Jupiter. We also discussed how stars form and die while looking at the Orion Nebula, the open cluster Pleiades, and a dying star nebula ("planetary nebula") called the Blue Snowball. Finally we saw our neighouring galaxy, Andromeda.

January 2015 - a failed attempt after a long period of travelling staff and bad weather

On Jan 23 we organized an improvised stargazing event, but ended up with a completely cloudy sky. Ten guests joined despite the bad weather and we had a small lecture and a tour around the premises instead.

September stargazing (2014-09-20)

Stargazing during culture night: open house and telescope observations from 16:00 - 23:00. We managed some observations of the Sun in the afternoon, but unfortunately had cloudy skies during night time.

April stargazing (2014-04-03)

We observed from sunset to sunrise (Messier marathon together with ALVA) and had up to 60 visitors.

February stargazing (2014-02-17)

Monday, the 17th of Feburary, we managed to observe supernova SN2014J in the Cigar Galaxy. This supernova was visible since about four weeks and will be visible (through a telescope) for another week or two. Due to the very unstable weather we could announce this event only on short notice, seven people made it despite knowing only two hours in advance. Fantastic that you managed to see it!

November stargazing (2013-11-28)

We were really surprised to see a total of sixty(!) visitors that evening - incredible! We were not really prepared for this amount of people, resulting in long waiting times. Venus showed us a clear banana shape with about 32% of the surface seen illumniated by the Sun. We continued observing and got a glimpse at comet Lovejoy through a pair of binoculars. Only the nucleus was visible, whereas the tail was not due to the city lights and a slight haze on the horizon. We also observed the open star cluster Pleiades and the binary system Albireo. Even later and with a somewhat smaller crowd we went inside the Northern Dome and continued observations with the historic Astrograph telescope, observing the Double Cluster and the globular cluster M15. During the evening a lot of interesting questions and topics came up, and I was glad to overhear and to have interesting discussions.

October stargazing (2013-09-30)


September stargazing (Thursday, 2013-09-12)

A small crowd of 6 people joined us for observations this September.

August stargazing (Sunday, 2013-08-04)

With a crowd of about 15 people we started this seasons stargazing by looking at Saturn and its moon Titan, just barely above the horizon. Later on we continued with deepsky observations in a night with excellent conditions: Despite the light pollution it was even possible to see a faint trace of the Milky Way above our heads. We observed the Wild Duck Cluster (M11), the Globular Cluster in Hercules (M13), the mulitple stars systems Albireo and Epsilon Lyrae (aka the Double double), the Alpha Persei Moving Group, the Andromeda Galaxy, Bode's Galaxy and the Cigar Galaxy. We also took a look at some of the Planetary Nebulae, namely the Ring Nebula, the Blue Snowball and the Blinking Planetary.

April stargazing(Wednesday, 2013-04-17)

On Wednesday we had a short stargazing evening with about 10 people visiting the department. Conditions were far from optimal, a thin cloud layer stopped us from seeing any celestial objects except for the Moon. The Moon however delivered a marvelous sight of surface structure and craters. We studied it for a quite a while, finding the names of a few of the most prominent features and discussing the locations of the Moon landings.

March stargazing (Friday, 2013-03-15)

This evening turned into a comet hunt, with about 15 people eager to see comet Pan-STARRS. After an hour of waiting and searching we finally managed to find it - what a beautiful sight! We continued stargazing for a total of about three hours and looked at the Orion Nebula using our newly acquired set of narrowband filters. We also saw the binary γ Andromedae (aka Almach), which is really a system consisting of four stars, the open clusters Pleiades and Owl Cluster (NGC 457) with its two bright foreground stars, Jupiter, the waxing cresent of the Moon as well as the globular cluster M3 in Bootes. We finished the evening of stargazing with a brief discussion about galaxies while looking at M31 (the Andromeda galaxy) and M82 (the Cigar Galaxy).

February stargazing (21 Feb 2013)

Pictures taken by Berry Holl, depicting the first half of the stargazing evening during the last hour of daylight. Click on pictures to enlarge them. Please contact Daniel Michalik in case you are depicted on any of the pictures and would prefer to not see them on this website.

A truely remarkable evening with a crowd of about 20 people. Starting already at 17:15 and during dusk we took our chances to play hide and seek with Mercury in between a few streaks of clouds low on the horizon. The sight revealed to us was indeed marvelous when Mercury showed up as a little bright jewel in the eyepiece. As the innermost planet we saw it lit only partially and as a shining crescent of reflected sun light. For most if not all visitors and astronomers present at the event this was the first occasion ever to see Mercury - a memorable moment.

We continued the evening with the opening of the Northern Dome and a view of the Moon a few days past its First Quarter, seen through the 1914 Astrograph telescope. Later on in proper darkness we managed to observe Jupiter and got a glimpse in what is giant permanent storm twice as large as our Earth, the Great Red Spot. After looking at a few constellations to gain orientation on the night sky we closed the night with the breathtaking view of the Orion Nebula.


Observation night 15th of January 2013

A freezing cold, slightly foggy but otherwise clear night. For the first time ever we invited families with small kids a little earlier to allow for a more relaxed experience. This was also the night were we deployed new equipment for the first time, after upgrading the focuser, zenith mirror and some eyepieces over the Christmas break. In total we ended up being 10 persons at less than -7 degrees, observing up to two hours. We started the evening by observing the Moon, a slim waxing cresent showing lots of pronounced craters and surface details. It was particularly interesting to see the earthshine faintly illuminating the non-sunlit part of the Moon, up to a level where one could see some craters in it as well. Jupiter was, as always, a very appreciated object, followed by a glimpse at Uranus. We also looked at a few star clusters, in particular M35, M52, NGC663 and the very remarkable NGC457. We ended the evening with a breathtaking view of the Orion Nebulae M42 and M43.

Observation night 12th of December 2012

This evening gave us a nice view of the winter sky at freezing cold -13 degrees. Kudos to the 20 brave visitors who stayed out in the cold with us for quite some time. We saw Jupiter, the globular cluster M15, the Double cluster h + x, the binary system Albireo, the Andromeda Galaxy, the Ring Nebula M57 and the open clusters Pleiades. Later in the evening we also observed M36, M37 and M38 in Auriga and the Orion Nebulae M42 and M43 as well as a few meteors of the Geminid meteor shower.

Observation night 12th of November 2012

This Monday was an exceptionally good night for observations. Many visitors of the ALVA Three Days Of Astronomy series joined the observations and together with some visitors from the general public we counted 84 people on the observational terrace!
The moon-free night allowed a glance into deep-sky observations of far-away star clusters and we even managed to see the faint outlines of a few other galaxies. In total we observed some 10 different objects: Jupiter, the binaries systems Albireo and Epsilon Lyrae, the Ring nebula M57, the globular star cluster M13, the open clusters Plejades and the Double Cluster, the Andromeda Galaxy as well as Bode's Galaxy and the Cigar Galaxy.

Observation night 30th of October 2012

Three pictures taken by a visitor, showing two of the telescopes and the Moon photographed through the Astrograph telescope
Pictures taken by Marcus Reiner (from left to right: 12" Meade, Astrograph, Moon seen through the Astrograph)

Our last observation night took place during the evening of the 30th of October 2012. Some 50 people visited us to observe the double star Mizar and Alkor, the Moon, Jupiter, the Double Cluster, Albireo and the Plejades. For the first time since the department moved to Sölvegatan we were able to use the historic Astrograph, delivering a breathtaking view of the Moon and some open star clusters. We also used the 12" Meade, two 8" Celestron and a pair of 11x80 binoculars to see Jupiter, the Moon, and some multiple star systems.


Lund Observatory, Box 43, SE-221 00 Lund, Sweden
Visiting address: Sölvegatan 27
Phone: +46 46 22 27300, Fax: +46 46 22 24614
Publisher: Anders Johansen
E-mail: webmaster@astro.lu.se
Last updated: 2012, Sept 14