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Observatories that I have visited:
Bifrost Observatory, Sweden

Bifrost Observatory

In the middle of Sweden there is an observatory, Bifrost Observatory. In that place the amateur astronomy club MAK (Mariestad Amatör Astronomy Klubb) has a star party every year. I and my girlfriend has visited them from 2016 to 2019. Here is a collection of photos from those visits.

Bifrost Observatory, 2016 - 2019

This is the main building at Bifrost Observatory. It holds two huge telescope buildings and some extra on the nearby platform.

Bifrost Observatory, 2016 - 2019

A view from the platform, the star party people are already here. In the tent there is a flee market. I sold some of my leftover astronomy equipment. You know, there are always a lot of them in the boxes that you never use.

Bifrost Observatory, 2016 - 2019

At the star parties there are many guided tours, an old mine is one of them, but here is a visit to another huge telescope with its building. Unbelievable that one person with some help built this massive telescope building, big enough to live in.

Bifrost Observatory, 2016 - 2019

Gunilla climb the stairs to have a look into the telescope. She doesn't like high heights, but she couldn't resist a look into the big telescope. The mirror is 0.6 meters !

Bifrost Observatory, 2016 - 2019

I was walking around in the observatory building and looked at the old telescopes that have been made by amateur astronomers in earlier times. Here is a Newton telescope with an equatorial mount built of wood. It looks to be a 8" mirror, 8" mirror was very big in earlier times, just a dream for most people. I like those nice looking wooden telescopes from earlier times.

Sören, the chair holder of MAK, told me that this telescope was built in the beginning of 2000s as project in the club together with others. Later I have come in contact with Martin Furuhed. He knows a lot about the old telescopes at MAK. He tells us that this and maybe 4 for more telescopes were built by members of MAK with Magnus Johansson as a supervisor. They bought five identical 8" mirrors and Magnus provided drawings for the wooden work and mechanics. The construction was done by Magnus but Martin thinks it could had been influenced by Rune Fogelquist, Rune always wanted his telescopes to be prepared for astro photographing. That's why it had an equatorial mount and not the normal Dobson mount which would have been easier to build. Sad to say, both Magnus and Rune have passed away.

Bifrost Observatory, 2016 - 2019

Another mirror telescope, the sign say 4000 m focal length! And note the strange angle of the focuser. Built by Sven O Rehnlund.

Once again Martin Furuhed help us with information. This telescope is a solar telescope, the double polarizer you can read about on the sign is used to regulate the Sun's intensity. The primary mirror didn't have any aluminum coating to reduce the Sun's intensity even more. The long 4000 mm focal length helped to separate the small details on the suns surface.

On the sign on the tube you can read "Facit me", it is not any technical term, it's Latin Martin told me. My girlfriend who understands Latin helped me and told it is "Who made me" translated to English.

Martin and I discussed how the telescope could have 4000 mm focal length in a small 2000 mm tube. We don't think Sven used a Barlow lens to achieved this, maybe it's a folded construction. Or maybe it's even more advanced with an off axis ray and then no obstacle in the ray path, that's maybe why the focuser are mounted in a tilted angle. I have to look inside this tube next time I visit MAK.

Sven did also advanced grinding of lenses.

Bifrost Observatory, 2016 - 2019

What is the gears purpose, maybe fine adjusting of the focus? Sören helped me with some details: When this telescope is focused the whole secondary mirror moves. He thinks the telescope has a 10" mirror and maybe built in the late 1990s.

Martin Furuhed tells us that this telescope was built by Lennart Dahlmark, maybe he built it already in the 1960s in it's first version. At that time it was white painted and as a mount he used a rebuild dentist chair! The telescope and its mount was held in one of the small domes you can see in front of the main domes on the photo at top. In later time the telescope has been rebuild to a Dobson construction and orange painted.

The telescope could be setup in two modes. One mode for visual observations with a small secondary mirror. The second mode a photographic mode with a big secondary mirror to get a wide field with low vignetting.

He was commonly photographing with camera lenses, Schmidt telescope and Newton telescope. He had great success in observations of variables, to it's help he also built a mechanical optical blink comparator.

If you don't know what a blink comparator is, have a look here at Wikipedia:

Martin has provided three links with information about the above amateur astronomers Dahlmark and Fogelquist. They are only in Swedish but you can use Google translator or similar to have them in your own language:

If we are lucky there will be a clear sky and lot of astrophotos will be taken. But during the day it's always interesting to walk around on the parking to see what telescopes people has brought to here.

Bifrost Observatory, 2016 - 2019

This is Joel von Knorring, he is very famous in Sweden and maybe the whole world. He has grinded telescope mirrors whole his life, hundreds of them and the biggest one had a diameter of 76 cm or 30". He has also learned a lot of people how to do it. Amateur astronomy at its best.

Joel say: "I have grinded these pair of 15.4" f/4.4 mirrors".

Bifrost Observatory, 2016 - 2019

On the flee market this telescope was for sale. Who will be the lucky owner of this telescope?

I forgotten to ask Göran, the owner of this telescope, what kind of observations he have done over the years with it. Later I came in contact with him and he had a long story to tell about this telescope, you can read it here, it's written in Swedish:

You find more photos of the telescope under Göran's telescope story.

Bifrost Observatory, 2016 - 2019

Christoffer has brought his new telescope with him to show us the beautiful handcraft work.

Christoffer told us this about the telescope:
The telescope is a ZW305 12" f/5 telescope made of ZWO in China. They have a very small and limited production of telescopes. All rods are made from 100% carbon fiber and frames are made of aircraft grade aluminum. Very well built telescope that impresses many. The optics are very good. M13 is very fine in this telescope and the stars are like tiny needle sticks even at 100x magnification.

Read more about ZWO telescope making:

Christoffer is a member of the Jupiter project.

Bifrost Observatory, 2016 - 2019

In the evening there is time to hold speeches about astronomy and projects. Here I'm tell about my own observatory project. Explain my plan how the roof will work.

Did you find it exiting ? Why don't join an Amateur Astronomy Club ? In middle of Sweden you have MAK close to Mariestad which is in the list below with other clubs at different places in Sweden:

If you find it interesting to travel in Sweden you have the stories here:

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