Table information for 'lsw.plates'


Table Description: The main catalog of the plates contained in the archive.

This table is available for ADQL queries and through the TAP endpoint.

Resource Description: Scans of plates kept at Landessternwarte Heidelberg-Königstuhl. They were obtained at location, at the German-Spanish Astronomical Center (Calar Alto Observatory), Spain, and at La Silla, Chile. The plates cover a time span between 1880 and 1999. Specifically, HDAP is essentially complete for the plates taken with the Bruce telescope, the Walz reflector, and Wolf's Doppelastrograph at both the original location in Heidelberg and its later home on Königstuhl.

For a list of all services and tables belonging to this table's resource, see Information on resource 'HDAP -- Heidelberg Digitized Astronomical Plates'

Citing this table

This table has an associated publication. If you use data from it, it may be appropriate to reference either in addition to or instead of the service reference.

Reference the Table

To cite the table as such, we suggest the following BibTeX entry:

  title={{HDAP} -- Heidelberg Digitized Astronomical Plates},
  author={Mandel, H. and Birkle, K. and Demleitner, M. and Landessternwarte Heidelberg},
  howpublished={{VO} resource provided by the {GAVO} Data Center},
  doi = {10.21938/haTEMZmoaCTEK6XZvGU.fQ}


Sorted by DB column index. [Sort alphabetically]

NameTable Head DescriptionUnitUCD
accref Product key Access key for the data N/A N/A
owner Owner Owner of the data N/A N/A
embargo Embargo ends Date the data will become/became public a N/A
mime Type MIME type of the file served N/A N/A
accsize File size Size of the data in bytes byte VOX:Image_FileSize
centerAlpha Ctr. RA Approximate center of image, RA deg POS_EQ_RA_MAIN
centerDelta Ctr. Dec Approximate center of image, Dec deg POS_EQ_DEC_MAIN
imageTitle Title Synthetic name of the image N/A VOX:Image_Title
instId Instrument Identifier of the originating instrument N/A INST_ID
dateObs Obs. date Epoch at midpoint of observation d VOX:Image_MJDateObs
nAxes #axes Number of axes in data N/A VOX:Image_Naxes
pixelSize Axes Lengths Number of pixels along each of the axes pix VOX:Image_Naxis
pixelScale Scales The pixel scale on each image axis deg/pix VOX:Image_Scale
refFrame Ref. Frame Coordinate system reference frame N/A VOX:STC_CoordRefFrame
wcs_equinox Equinox Equinox of the given coordinates yr VOX:STC_CoordEquinox
wcs_projection Proj. FITS WCS projection type N/A VOX:WCS_CoordProjection
wcs_refPixel Ref. pixel WCS reference pixel pix VOX:WCS_CoordRefPixel
wcs_refValues Ref. values World coordinates at WCS reference pixel deg VOX:WCS_CoordRefValue
wcs_cdmatrix CD matrix FITS WCS CDij matrix deg/pix VOX:WCS_CDMatrix
bandpassId Bandpass Freeform name of the bandpass used N/A VOX:BandPass_ID
bandpassUnit Bandpass unit Unit of bandpass specifications (always m). N/A VOX:BandPass_Unit
bandpassRefval Band Ref. Characteristic quantity for the bandpass of the image m VOX:BandPass_RefValue
bandpassHi Band upper Upper limit of the bandpass (in BandPass_Unit units) m VOX:BandPass_HiLimit
bandpassLo Band lower Lower limit of the bandpass (in BandPass_Unit units) m VOX:BandPass_LoLimit
pixflags P. Flags Flags specifying the processing done (C-original; F-resampled; Z-fluxes valid; X-not resampled; V-for display only N/A VOX:Image_PixFlags
coverage Coverage Field covered by the image deg N/A
exposure Exp. time Effective exposure time s time.duration;obs.exposure
airmass Airmass Airmass at mean epoch N/A obs.airMass
object Targ. Obj. Special object on plate N/A
emulsion Emulsion Emulsion of the original plate N/A instr.plate.emulsion
filter Filter Filter description N/A meta.code;instr.filter;meta.main
observer Observer Observer N/A
startTime Start UT at start of exposure d time.start;obs
endTime End UT at end of exposure d time.end;obs
plateID Plate Plate name as specified in observation catalogue N/A N/A
datalink DL URL of a datalink document for this dataset N/A meta.ref.url

Columns that are parts of indices are marked like this.


The following services may use the data contained in this table:


VO nerds may sometimes need VOResource XML for this table.

More Information on the Base Resource

The scanning of the plate archive at Landessternwarte Heidelberg was initiated by Holger Mandel and Kurt Birkle in 2006 and was funded by the Klaus-Tschira-Foundation. Almost all usable direct plates in the archives are now scanned, and the funded phase of the project is over. Only minor additions are expected any more.


The plate archive consists of plates from many different sources. The following table gives an overview of the instruments at which the plates were taken:

plate letter name eff. focal length [mm] aperture ratio scale [as/mm] plate size latitude longitude height
A Calar Alto Schmidt telescope 2400 f/3 86 24x24cm 37.22417 N +2.5375 W 2168 m
B Königstuhl Bruce telescope 2000 f/5 103 24x30cm or 30x30cm 49.39861 N -8.72083 E 560 m
C 1.23m in Casseg. focus with corrector 9857 f/8 20.9 24x24cm 37.22361 N +2.5461 W 2138 m
D 72cm Walz- Reflektor 2815 f/3.9 73.3 13x18cm or 9x12cm 49.39861 N -8.72083 E 560 m
E 2.2m in Cassegrain focus with corrector 17037 f/7.744 12.1 20x25cm (8x10in) or 24x24 cm 37.22361 N +2.5461 W 2138 m
F 3.5m in primary focus with 3-lens corrector 13761 f/3.93 15 20x25cm (8x10in) 37.22361 N +2.5461 W 2138 m
F 3.5m in primary focus with 2-lens corrector 12195 f/3.48 16.9 12.5x20 (5x8in) 37.22361 N +2.5461 W 2138 m
H 2.2m MPG ESO/La Silla 17679 f/8 12 20x25cm -29.257225 S +70.734595 W 2335 m
G Wolf's Doppel- astrograph (15cm) on Königstuhl (7/1897-1909) 900mm f/6 230 13x18cm or 9x12cm +49.39861 N -8.72083 E 560m
G Wolf's Doppel- astrograph (15cm) in Märzgasse (1887-7/1897) 900mm f/6 230 13x18cm or 9x12cm +49.60988 N -8.69387 E 110m

Unfortunately, instrument data on the 2.2m MPG telescope on La Silla are lost. If anyone can help out, please contact

The Observation logs of the more ancient observations are available from UB Heidelberg.

More Information

The project was discussed on a poster shown at the 2007 meeting of the Astronomische Gesellschaft in Würzburg.

A slightly more technical article appeared in the proceedings of the 2014 Astroplate conference.


This is what the photographic plates these scans were prepared from look like --


The archive of plates from Wolf's eight-inch telescope --


The Bruce archive -- the rack's bend indicates the plates are kept beneath an observatory dome --


The scanner used by this project (Heidelberg Nexscan F4100; the resolution is 100 pixels per millimeter at 200 pixels per millimeter optical scanner resolution) --


Copyright and such: