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The Bosscha Observatory in Bandung

Astronomy in Indonesia at ITB Bandung

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"Astronomy in Indonesia- the Bosscha Observatory" Bandung
Travelogue by ullfri49

The Bosscha Observatory north of Bandung

Photo: Bosscha Telescope Building
If you are in Bandung and if you are interested in Astronomy like me, there is a visit at Boscha Observatory in Lembang is a must!

Of course in internet time - please see the new Bosscha side of ITB:


Additional :
You can visit Bosscha at Facebook:

Much interest is to find here. It is mostly in Bahasa Indonesia, but for a traveller should it be not problem and in internet time a first translation for an overview can mostly given by the net itself.

Visitors time is mostly at saturday morning - and at good weather for visitors open, so one or more times in the month, so around 9 o`clock a "visitors day"- so you can attend easy.
But better ask in before by phone at the observatory hill: (0062) 22 2786001 - cause in last time much visitors or and groups like to see the Observatory at the guiding time.

At Hari Raja/Hari Libur - at the public or religious holidays the Bosscha Observatory is closed for visitors, in special at the month of Ramadan.

The Observatory place is so about 1300m in hight- if you arrive in early morning or stay at the special open day with evening public views at Refractors until midnight - the weather will be - very suddenly - very could!
So remember the Alpes or other mountains- take a good pullover with you, if going in the hights of the Preanger mountains!

Transportation: Up to Lembang and not firm with transportation (the relay stations with whooling searching the next), better take a Taxi.
For the Map see the internetside of Bosscha Observatory

Back to Bandung is easy. From the observatory montain you can walk easy so 1 km down. Or ask if there someone can help you with ojek (little motorcycle) people like to offer.. Down from observatory mountain, from main street in Lembang take an "angkota" down to Bandung.
Than is only one relay in "Lendeng" - there ask for the angkota to "City Hall"- and you are quick back near the north urban center of Bandung (near the House of Mayor of Bandung city).

Bosscha Observatory under the south stars of Java

Photor: Visitors Day

Here at saturday morning at "visitors day" at the door of observatory dome- Pintu ke gedung Teropong Carl-Zeiss-Jena. At photo just the moment of opening the door to the main building.

Again, it is real interesting (special for me interested in Astronomy), how good its mechanic hold ready working over the time.
The double Refraktor with the two 60 cm Lense systems and a focal distance ("titik api") of 10,7 m and all engineering around was 1928 build in the well known Carl-Zeiss-Company in old University town Jena, Thueringen, Germany.

The double refractor is looking like a very great "binokular" in stereo - but it is not in real so: The background is the astronomers need to see at same times the starlight in different wavelights (colours of the starlight).
In older times (last century) it works only with special photofilm (or glass plates). Today it is much easier with the use of special sensitive digital cameras to catch the starlight. So the astronomers in Bosscha do the same.

At open days and good weather it is even allowed for the visitors to have a short view not only the Telecope, able to look with your own eyes to moon and the great planets. A direct view, without video or digital camera. A direct view like the Astronomers in past "Bosscha Sterrenwacht".

By the way the Direktor of "Bosscha Stetterenwacht" that first time was the Dutch Astronomer Mr. VOUTE.

After the going round there is a now a shop, where you can look for some souvenirs and cards. You can ask the staff for more information in Bahasa Indonesia and/or in English about the history and the today of the Bosscha Observatory.

Bosscha Observatory near Lembang, inside Building

Photo: Carl-Zeiss-Jena Doppelrefraktor

The Bosscha Observatory in Lembang is now part of the
Jurasan Astronomy, Fakultas Matematika dan Ilmu Pengetahuan Alam
of the Institut Teknologi Bandung (ITB).

The Beginning was the Nederlandse "Bosscha Sterrenwacht" in 1929, with focus in seach for and measuring of double Stars.

The dutch astronomer Mr. Dr. Voute became the first Direktor if the Observatory. It should be mentioned, that Bosscha Observatory was until the late 30-ties one of the greatest Observatorys in the Southern Hemisphere.

In the than changing and difficult times of war and transition it seems to be a wonder that there was everytime some Great People who took attention for the save of Bosscha observatory.

Again, by the great Attention again since 1949. in special of the Indonesian, Japanese and Dutch Astronomers is the Bosscha Observatory with the Carl-Zeiss-Jena-Doppelrefraktor working until now -
and is now with shure one of the National Treasures of Republik Indonesia.

The last long year director of the Astronomy Department of ITB (Jurusan Astronomi) was Professor Dr. BAMBANG HIDAYAT.

For more about Bosscha Observatory please see the following VT Internet remarks and - of course - the official Internet sides of ITB Bandung.

Bosscha Observatory near Lembang, Doppelrefraktor

Photo: Okular & Kamera at Bosscha Carl-Zeiss-Jena Doppelrefraktor

Here the view side of Carl-Zeiss-Jena Doppelrefraktor.

Good to see the until now working mechanics- shure by the great attention by the astronomers and engineer there.

The filmplates are, as at the moment picture seen, replaced by digital cameras.

In the 30-ties Bosscha Observatory was one of the important observatorys in south hemisphere - like this article remarks:

ASTRONOMY AND ASTROPHYSICS July 10, 2003 Floor van Leeuwen et al. Proper motions in w Centauri:
“......over the period March 1931 till June 1937, 437 photographic images of w Centauri were obtained with the Yale-Columbia 66 cm(26 inch) refractor at the Union Observatory in Johannesburg, South Africa.
A further 33 plates were obtained with the Lembang 60 cm double refractor (Bosscha Observatory, Voute, 1931)….”

Bosscha Observatory near Lembang, the refraktor

Photo: Mount and Drive of Bosscha “Bamberg Refraktor “

Older as the "Doppelrefraktor" and real historic is the 37 cm lense diameter "Bamberg Refraktor" with a focal distance of 7 m and english mount.

Interesting to see and at photo a left in background - the motion runs all in mechanics, without electicity- energy from heavy weights at chains- like an old tower watch.

And real, it is in one kind like a (star) watch, cause regulating the motion of the Refractor exact following the "Sternzeit" the turn of the sigh of the zodiac.

Mechanical all, cause in the beginning of last century the astronomers had not stable electricity at observatory mountain.

See even the roof- it can be push away, but must resist the tropical rain!

Bosscha Observatory-Mr. J.Voute,the first Direktor

Photo Painting: Mr J. Voute

On the observatory area before the old observatory buildings a Monument remembers of on the founders of the Observatory, Mr. K.A.R. BOSSCHA.
Inside the Observatory building we was shown a copy of a portrait painting from the first direktor of Boscha Sterrenwacht- Mr. J. G. VOUTE.
The astronomer is seen before the Carl-Zeiss-Jena Doppelrefraktor.
By using the Bosscha Doppelrefraktor, Mr Voute was very engaged and with great accuracy in the reseach of double stars and variable stars in southern hemisphere.
In the scientific Star Catalogues of southern stars and of course now in Internet you can find his name until now.

ITB, Director Bosscha and Minor Planet 12176Hidayat

Photo: Central place in ITB

The Bosscha Observatory is now part of the ITB Bandung.
Here the Astronomy Department, situated in the building No.5 at the north part of Campus of ITB Bandung .
It should be mentioned that of course now the Astronomy is worldwide, the astronomers usually have many cooperations.
And at this point mentioned too, even now it is of very great interest for the scientists to search and compare the old photo plates (so of the Bosscha photo plates in the 30- and 40-ties) with the star views today, for instance for reseach of time variations and movements of the stars.

So much astronomic work in international and national area and in special for the direktor - let me mention special Professor Dr. Bambang Hidayat.

Last was good to hear that the International Astronomical Union (IAU) paid the attention to it and named some minor planets (in a path between Jupiter and Mars) the last direktors of Bosscha Observatory-
one special to Professor Dr. Bambang Hidayat,
the long year MENTOR of Astronomy in the Republik INDONESIA:

12176 Hidayat / 3468 T-3
Bambang Hidayat promotor astronomi di Indonesia. Ia dikenal dalam pekerjaannya di bidang bintang ganda tampak dan bintang dengan garis emisi H. Ia juga menjadi direktur Observatorium Bosscha di Lembang dari 1968 – 1999 dan menjadi Wakil Presiden IAU dari 1994 – 2000.

(source: www/langitselatan.com)

Bosscha Observatory and Bandungs light pollution

Old Painting: Bosscha & Preanger Mountains

In old times it was a very good place for the Observatory in Lembang. Not far from Bandung, a good seeing- so 200 clear nights a year- and quite tectonical shure- no problems with the near volcanos.That was 1930.

See the volcanos at picture of the old painting. Excuse the photo is a little unsharp, but it brings it to the point, that is a problem for Bosscha Observatory now: The "light pollution", and the Smog of urbanisation.

Unfortunately light pollution it is after 2000 an usual problem for most observatorys all over the world- so today astronomers have to go far away of civilisation to places with clear dark nights in deserts like Chile and/or hight mountains...

Here in Bosscha the great million city Bandung and small town Lembang are too near. At night the smog glows from the thousands of night streetlights and industrial lights - this all is restricts the "seeing" at day and special at night.

So please see here the old painting - even at good weather (so I was assured) today is not more able to see the great volcanos (one is Mt. Gede if I' m right)- in the 30-ties of last century the volcano was choosed by the painter as an good background for the "Bosscha Sterrenwacht".

The light pollution reduces the seeing of the night stars... So it would be good find a way to interest the people to restrict the light pollution in special by the lights of town Lembang (now around and very near to observatory hill). At the place should it be mentioned, in September 2006 (just before I was there) was a very good article in THE JAKARTA POST about Bosscha, this problems and Bosscha Observatory now.

Now for popular Astronomy in Indonesia some engaged Astronomers of the Bosscha Observatory created new internetsides in "Bahasa Indonesia" (in the indonesia language) so hopefully for much interested indonesia people, special young people will find a new door to Astronomy.
Please don`t hesitate to seach in


Photo: Inside Bosscha Observatory

Don´t forget: Please visit Bosscha at Facebook:

Posted by ullfri49 23:20 Archived in Indonesia Tagged sky

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