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.

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}

Resource Documentation

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) --



Sorted by DB column index. [Sort alphabetically]

NameTable Head DescriptionUnitUCD
accref Product key Access key for the data N/A meta.ref.url
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 meta.code.mime
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
centerDelta Ctr. Dec Approximate center of image, Dec deg pos.eq.dec
imageTitle Title Synthetic name of the image N/A meta.title
instId Instrument Identifier of the originating instrument N/A;instr
dateObs Obs. date Epoch at midpoint of observation d time;obs.exposure
nAxes #axes Number of axes in data N/A pos.wcs.naxes
pixelSize Axes Lengths Number of pixels along each of the axes pixel pos.wcs.naxis
pixelScale Scales The pixel scale on each image axis deg/pixel pos.wcs.scale
refFrame Ref. Frame Coordinate system reference frame N/A pos.frame
wcs_equinox Equinox Equinox of the given coordinates yr time.equinox
wcs_projection Proj. FITS WCS projection type N/A pos.wcs.ctype
wcs_refPixel Ref. pixel WCS reference pixel pixel pos.wcs.crpix
wcs_refValues Ref. values World coordinates at WCS reference pixel deg pos.wcs.crval
wcs_cdmatrix CD matrix FITS WCS CDij matrix deg/pixel pos.wcs.cdmatrix
bandpassId Bandpass Freeform name of the bandpass used N/A instr.bandpass
bandpassUnit Bandpass unit Unit of bandpass specifications (always m). N/A N/A
bandpassRefval Band Ref. Characteristic quantity for the bandpass of the image m instr.bandpass;stat.median
bandpassHi Band upper Upper limit of the bandpass (in BandPass_Unit units) m instr.bandpass;stat.max
bandpassLo Band lower Lower limit of the bandpass (in BandPass_Unit units) m instr.bandpass;stat.min
pixflags P. Flags Flags specifying the processing done (C-original; F-resampled; Z-fluxes valid; X-not resampled; V-for display only N/A meta.code
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;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
pub_did Pub. DID Dataset identifier assigned by the publisher. N/A meta.ref.url

Columns that are parts of indices are marked like this.


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