Summer stars over the Czech historical observatory

Summer stars over the Czech historical observatory

On 31st August, 2016, the summer season slowly slowly getting over, but beautiful part of the Milky Way was still visible. The weather brought one of the clearest night in the Czech Republic, so I decided to visit one of the most magnificent astronomical place in the country: the Historical part of Czech Astronomical Institute.

As mentioned in the website, the historical observatory was built in 1898 by Josef Jan Frič in a small village Ondřejov, located 35 km south-east of Prague. This small observatory was donated to the state of Czechoslovakia, more specifically to Charles University in Prague, in 1928. The site of the Ondřejov Observatory, at an elevation of 500 m in the relatively unpolluted environs of Prague, proved to be well chosen. After the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences was established in 1953, it was merged with the State Astronomical Observatory to create the Astronomical Institute, now belonging to the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic. In 1967 the largest Czech optical Perek telescope with the diameter of two metres was inaugurated in Ondřejov (on the mount of the telescope you can find plaque and Czech flag, dedicated by astronaut Eugen Cernan who took it to the Moon in Apollo 17 mission of 1972). At the time of the division of the Federal Czechoslovak Republic into the Czech Republic and Slovak Republic in 1993, the Prague part of the Institute was moved to new premises in Prague-Spořilov. Currently, the Institute participates in ESO and ESA projects, as the Czech Republic became a member state of these organizations in 2007 and 2008, respectively. For the opening image used Canon 6D Baader IR modified, Takumar 50 mm, f2.8, ISO 10000, panorama of 93 single 8-seconds exposures.

Enjoy the observatory in virtual reality mode

Central part of the historical observatory

Central part of the historical observatory

The institute has been responsible, among other scientific achievements, for the discovery of numerous asteroids, more recent works of astronomers from Ondřejov include many exciting scientific results as examination of the trajectory and origin of the Chelyabinsk meteor. The old observatory of Josef Jan Frič is not used for science anymore, however, now-days it is a part of public exhibition and often used for public observation events. Due to much stronger light pollution from Prague than in 20th century, the observations are usually practiced by remote telescopes of observatories like ESO’s La Silla or Paranal. The night I captured images was really clear skies and the smog not so thick, allowing me to capture the Milky Way in its known beauty.

More shots of the observatory

As I took much more nightscapes over the observatory, feel free to enjoy richer gallery bellow. For following images below used same camera (Canon 6D, IR Baader modified), lenses and method (panoramatic shooting), in case of differently reprojected full-spheric panoramas used Samyang 24 mm, f2.8, ISO 8000.

Dusk over the radar meadow

Milky Way appears over the radar meadow

Summer Milky Way over the radar meadow

Milky Way and Čestmír Suška’s “Vepice” sculpture on the radar meadow

Little planet of the historical observatory

Night sky and light pollution over the historical observatory

The solar radiotelescope of Ondřejov observatory

From the historical dome to the NGC 7000 “North America” nebula