Author Archives: Michael Risch

About the author

Michael Risch

Michael Risch has been interested in astronomy and spaceflight, since he saw the last moon landing as a child. In 1981, he became a member of the Association of Amateur Astronomers in the Saarland and, as a member of the board, accompanied the establishment of the Peterberg Observatory. As co-founder and first webmaster of www.astronomie.de, he contributed numerous ideas and reports on astronomical and spaceflight topics to the first German astronomy portal. He has been practicing planetary, comets, solar, deep sky as well as TWAN style photography, and has been on many long distance trips, among others to 7 total solar eclipses. As a long-time science editor, he has led "Northern lights and stars" trips to the Arctic Circle. Michael has published many of his own photos and articles in professional journals and has written chapters for the books chapters for the books Fotoschule (Photo School) and Extremfotografie (Extreme Photography) with his colleague Martin Rietze for "Color Foto".

At Baader-Planetarium he is part of the observatory project team and is booked for lectures in Germany and abroad. Furthermore, he is an expert consultant for observatories, domes, high end mounts, telescopes and much more.


  • New instruments: Telescopes and mounts for Rodewisch Observatory

    The Rodewisch Observatory in Saxony/Germany has a long history dating back to the beginnings of space travel. The observatory founder Edgar Penzel was the first person outside the former Soviet Union to photograph the first satellite Sputnik 1 in 1957. With a wire ring that he bent around a school globe, he was able to roughly determine the time of the satellite's appearance over Rodewisch and photograph "the Sputnik". The photos sparked great interest at home and abroad at that time, especially of course in the Soviet Union. This was the foundation for decades of visual and photographic satellite tracking as well as astronomical observation of the sky in Rodewisch. After the first German cosmonaut Sigmund Jähn was launched into space in 1978, the Rodewisch...
  • Comet Neowise in a different way

    Comet NEOWISE is probably the most beautiful comet since 25 years on the northern hemisphere of the earth. Comets are messengers from the time of origin of the solar system, frozen remnants of the primeval cloud from which the planets were formed. When they come to us from the cold depths of the outer solar system and thaw when they approach the sun, they spread gas and dust and create a unique celestial phenomenon. Most astrophotographers are understandably excited about the very beautiful tail of the comet NEOWISE and try to capture it in front of a beautiful backdrop. Others focus only on the inner core and the shell structure that is created when the dust leaves the spinning comet nucleus. But so far there...
  • Mars Opposition 2020 –The Return of the Red Planet

    Do you still remember the lunar eclipse two years ago? At that time the moon was not the only orange-reddish celestial object. Nearby – next to Jupiter – there was Mars in the sky, too. For many people, this was the first time they saw the two planets knowingly "live" – thanks to the attention that the lunar eclipse generated. Unfortunately, the Moon will not give us such a show again this year, but Mars is coming back. As since the beginning of mankind, it can be seen brightly shining in the sky every two years. That's because two Earth years are almost exactly as long as one Mars year, i.e. the time Mars needs for one orbit around the Sun. Only then will it...
  • Comet NEOWISE - now visible!

      Update 09.07.2020: See the new Comet-Gallery with lots of images and videos   UPDATE: The latest images fo comet NEOWISE During the night of 7-8 July, the whole of Central Europe had the special opportunity to see two rare celestial phenomena simultaneously. Around 3 o'clock comet NEOWISE climbed over the horizon. Not much later, the sky behind the dark cloud bank just below the comet suddenly became much brighter. As it turned out, the sun began to illuminate noctilucent clouds at a height of 80km (four times as high as normal clouds), which consist of frozen meteor dust. These rare clouds became more and more dominant and finally covered the comet until it was hardly visible around 4 o'clock. NEOWISE with NLC over Mammendorf:...
  • The Atmosphere of Venus - Photographed by our Customers

    Venus as a ring – how can that be? During the last days several customers have sent us some very interesting photos of Venus, which we do not want to withhold from you. They show the planet as a very narrow sickle or even as a ring. This effect can only be seen on Venus by observers on Earth, and it is only visible when Venus is in lower conjunction (www.wikipedia.org/Aspects_of_Venus), i.e. when Venus is located between the Sun and the Earth.. How does the effect come about? The planets Venus and Mercury are the only two so-called "inner planets": They are closer to the Sun than the Earth and orbit the Sun within the Earth's orbit. That‘s why they are the only planets that...
  • UPDATE: Comet ATLAS (C/2019 Y4) is breaking up

    UPDATE 08.04.2020: Comet ATLAS's core is breaking up Unfortunately comet Atlas seems to meet the same fate as many other promising comets did before: The images since April 6th show that the nucleus is breaking up. This can be seen from the fact that the once very concentrated, almost star-shaped inner region has become elongated – in the process it is becoming more and more diffuse and the brightness is decreasing instead of continuing to increase. Thus the large spectacle on the sky, which many amateur astronomers had hoped for, probably wont happen. But if you're quick enough to now take a glance at the comet, you could see it still halfway intact in a binocular or in a telescope – even with tail. So you...
  • Modern meets antique: 3.5M AllSky dome in a Greek mountain village

    Our last dome assembly in 2019 took place in the second week of December in Greece. Since this installation had a special flair as well as bad luck and breakdowns, we would like to share with you the following report of the installation. After the dome has been used for some time, we will also ask the customer if he agrees that his dome will appear on our observatory world map. The mountains of the Greek peninsula Peloponnes are ideal for astronomical observations. Here an amateur astronomer has found an ideal place to realize his dream. The dome sits on a renovated 19th century house in an old, lonely mountain village at an altitude of almost 900m with an unobstructed view over the sea. However,...
  • HALOS – viewed without prejudice

    The moment you insert any type of filter into the optical setup, which consists of your specific camera, the appropriate flattener/reducer or coma corrector and the telescope, the filter becomes part of this unique optical system. And every optical system is different because many products from different manufacturers are involved. All optical surfaces interact with each other in some way. One possibility is that coatings of the camera reflect unwanted light back into the telescope and onto all optical elements in front of the filter. If there is no other optical surface that will reflect the light back to the filter a second time, then it is perfect. There are no halos other than residual halos or scattering, which are unavoidable, depending on the filter...
  • Don't miss it: Transit of Mercury on November 11th, 2019!

      Transit of Mercury LIVE: NASA is broadcasting the film sequences of the solar satellite SDO for all those who cannot observe the Transit of Mercury on November 11th 2019. The films will be available on https://mercurytransit.gsfc.nasa.gov almost in real time: Starting around 1200 UTC (7:00 am ET) November 11, 2019, we will begin watching Mercury move into view against the corona of the Sun. This is about 45 minutes before it is visible against the Sun from the ground. We have created https://mercurytransit.gsfc.nasa.gov to let you watch this transit as short movies in almost real time. The transit lasts a little over 5.5 hours, ending as Mercury leaves the disk of the Sun about 1806 UTC but continues moving out through the corona for another...
  • Planetary Imaging with the FlipMirror II Star Diagonal

    Instruction Manual: Baader FlipMirror II Star Diagonal Using the Baader FlipMirror II Star Diagonal (BFM II) at the Telescope The Baader FlipMirror II Star Diagonal (#2458055, € 195,-) is not only an accessory for professional users, but much more: It is a helpful tool for every amateur astronomer – especially for astrophotography. First of all, the BFM II is designed to completely replace your standard star diagonal, so that you can keep observing as usual, just like with every good star diagonal. But the BFM II gives you much more options. You can create – from the beginnig, or step-by-step – your own system for photography and keep it always ready-for-use at your telescope. This will save you a lot of time and nerves. In...

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