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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.