Astrofriend's homepage
Share: Twitter Reddit Facebook Gmail Gmail Email
Search Astrofriend's homepage:

Valid CSS!

All pages shall now have been validated

Info Cookies (Kakor) / GDPR


Advertisement /

Twitter @AstrofriendLars

Follow Astrofriend

Travel News

Advertisement / Annons:

Astronomical observatories in Sweden
by Östen Bergstrand (1873 to 1948)


Astronomical observatories in Sweden, page 15 to 16

By Östen Bergstrand

From Stockholm's new observatory in Saltsjöbaden. Photographer unknown. From Stockholm's new observatory in Saltsjöbaden.
Photographer unknown.

It is true that this has not made them completely independent of the unfavorable climate, but it is obvious that working conditions will be significantly improved in this way.

Due to a lack of modern aids, the observatory in Lund could not keep up with this development. Instead, astronomy in Lund has in recent decades until recently been predominantly focused on purely theoretical investigations and calculations, and has in these areas brilliantly asserted our country's high scientific position.

As far as the Stockholm Observatory is concerned, it still remained in the old 18th century building on Brunkebergsåsen. When Hugo Gyldén took over the leadership of this observatory in 1871, it was, as Nordenmark in its history points out, 'hardly anything other than a residence for the head of department'.

However, Gyldén managed to enforce funding for a building of the house on the north side to provide better space for work rooms and libraries and more. The old beautiful lantern on the tower building was removed and replaced by a dome, in which an 18 cm refractor was set up. Gyldén was a famous researcher in theoretical astronomy, and his extensive work in this branch of science left him hardly any other time to be interested in a contemporary development of observatory activities. After his time, however, efforts were made to meet the demands of a more recent age in this regard. But the inadequacy of the instrument equipment and not least the observatory's unfavorable location inside Stockholm with its strong street lighting and smoky atmosphere placed great obstacles in the way of these aspirations. That something could be done despite these difficulties, the Stockholm astronomers are honored.

N. Tamm's observatory at Kvistaberg. Photographer unknown. N. Tamm's observatory at Kvistaberg.
Photographer unknown.

For a long time, the question of a complete renewal of Stockholm's observatory had been floating around. A move to a more suitable place and the acquisition of new and up-to-date equipment loomed as a wish, the realization of which was made impossible only by the usual obstacle to the satisfaction of cultural interests: the lack of resources. In 1927, the issue was taken seriously by the observatory's owner, the Swedish Academy of Sciences. But it was not until the following year that the decisive turn came. At the academy's meeting on June 20, 1928, a million donation was handed over for the purpose from the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, to which new donations from the same source were presented later.

In addition, the City of Stockholm had at the same time decided to allocate a significant sum as consideration for the return of the right of use to the area on the Brunkebergsåsen, the so-called Observatoriekullen, which has been owned by the observatory since 1746.

Now you could finally get to work. An in all respects suitable and wonderfully located building site was acquired on the so-called Karlsbaderberget at Saltsjöbaden, detailed plans and building drawings were prepared on behalf of the academy by Axel Anderberg, and modern, first-class instruments were ordered the same autumn from the famous companies Zeiss in Jena and Grubb in Newcastle. The planning work and construction of the buildings quickly went away; already now, in the spring of 1931, the new stately institution is almost complete, and the great instruments are being set up in their designated domes.

The observatory's main building contains workrooms, libraries, measuring rooms, laboratories and more, as well as housing for some of the staff. Associated with it is the dome building, which houses the observatory's largest instrument, a double refractor by Grubb with a photographic lens of 60 centimeters and visually of 50 cm aperture. At some distance from this building are the two insulated domed pavilions, which house the Zeiss' astrograph with a 40 cm objective aperture and the Grubb's mirror telescope with a 1 meter diameter mirror. Another three buildings contain housing for the observatory's manager and part of the other staff, as well as a heating plant, workshop and more. With its huge copper-clad domes projecting from the crest of the forested mountain, the new facility is a stately feature of the beautiful archipelago landscape.

Additional information by Lars:

More about Stockholm's new observatory (only Swedish):

More about Hugo Gyldén:

More about N. Tamms' observatory (Kvistaberg Observatory):

Location of Kvistaberg Observatory.

My own visit to the Tamm's and Kvistaberg's observatory 2021:

More about Knut and Alice Wallenberg foundation:

More about Astrograph:

More about Grubb & Parsons':

Go Back to content

Go Back
To page 17

Advertisement / Annons: