HQM - Hamburg Quasar Monitoring



A dedicated quasar monitoring telescope

Already in the early years of HQM it became evident, that although HQM produced excellent lightcurves only a dedicated telescope for quasar monitoring would produce enough data to see the quasar's variability fine structure and to have a good basis for statistics.

In 1993 the Megaphot association was founded in Hamburg. The aim was the aquisition and use of an automatic monitoring telescope, dedicated to the systematic supervision of quasar brightness variations.

  A workshop was held in March 1993 in Hamburg to discuss the various interests in a Megaphot Project. The results were published.

In the collaboration Megaphot members of astronomers and industry worked together on a scientificly powerful and financially costefficient strategy to enable the project.

Very early two alternativ telescope models were discussed. The free usage of a newly constructed Hexapod telescope was one of the concepts to reduce the costs.


The two telescope types discussed in 1993/94.


Left: A Hexapod-type telescope of 1.5m mirror size constructed by Vertex Antennentechnik (former Krupp Industrietechnik).


Right: A 2.5m azimutal mounted telescope by Zeiss, Oberkochen.

The size of the telescope was choosen to observe 500 quasars.

The layout data were as follows:

  • Number of main targets: >500
  • Gaps between observations: 0.25 - 10 (Max)
  • Photometrical accuracy: 0.01 mag.
  • resolution: <1"
  • target brightness: > 20 mag.
  • Clear nights at telescope site: > 200
  • operation: fully automatic software controlled

Several astronomers gave credit to the project, e.g. the members of the 31st International Astrophysical Colloquium at Liege in Belgium. In october 1994 the project was applied to the german science auditorium "Rat der deutschen Sternwarten" which aggred the funding of the project. In all previous cases this positive decision is the general acceptance of large science projects. Three month later the german ministry of science cancelled the project out of unknown reasons.

Due to the lack of financial alternatives to this particular time all other activities on quasar monitoring in Hamburg (HQM, JOMPQ) came to a sudden end.


data, graphics and images may not be used without permission.
contact:Jochen Schramm, Hamburger Sternwarte.