Media Advisory: Press Conference to Announce New Planetarium and Exhibition Centre in Bavaria

21 November 2013

On 3 December 2013 at 11:00 CET, ESO will host a press conference in Garching bei München, Germany, to announce plans to build an exhibition centre and planetarium at the ESO Headquarters in Bavaria.

The new building for the popularisation of astronomy is being funded through a donation from the Klaus Tschira Stiftung, a German foundation that supports the natural sciences, mathematics and computer science. The new centre will be supported by operational funding from ESO and is designed to inspire people to look up at the stars, and teach people about the importance of astronomy and its effects on our day-to-day lives.

The project is based on an idea that originated out of cooperation between ESO and the Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies — the research institute of the Klaus Tschira Stiftung. The construction work is scheduled to begin in 2014.

Public interest in astronomy and space science has seen a major resurgence in recent years. With the recent completion of the ALMA Observatory in Chile, and a constant stream of new discoveries from ESO's other sites at La Silla and Paranal, ESO is in a prime position to deliver astronomical education and outreach to an increasingly curious public.

The new building will symbolise a binary star system about to go supernova. The design of this stunning, sleek building has been conceived by Klaus Tschira with the help of the Darmstadt-based architectural firm, Bernhardt + Partner, who have previously designed the spectacular House of Astronomy in Heidelberg. ESO's new visitor centre will act as a sister facility to the House of Astronomy, which was founded by the Klaus Tschira Stiftung and the Max Planck Society.

The new centre will include an exhibition and a medium-sized state-of-the-art fulldome planetarium with custom-made shows designed by ESO and other world-leading organisations. Additional rooms house conference facilities that will allow a variety of lectures, workshops and conferences for the public and academic events.

Time: Tuesday 3 December 2013, 11:00 CET

Place: ESO HQ Council Room, Karl-Schwarzschild-Strasse 2, D-85748 Garching bei München, Germany

The programme includes the following highlights:

  • Joint initiative launches new star in Garching
    Prof. Tim de Zeeuw
    Director, European Southern Observatory
  • The way to a new supernova
    Dr. h.c. Dr.-Ing. E. h. Klaus Tschira
    Managing Director, Klaus Tschira Stiftung, Heidelberg
  • Conceptualising a stellar explosion
    Manfred Bernhardt, BdA,
    Architects Bernhardt + Partner, Darmstadt
  • Signing of the letter of intent between Klaus Tschira Stiftung, the Heidelberger Institute for Theoretical Studies and ESO.

Other representatives involved with the project will be available for questions:

  • Patrick Geeraert, ESO, Director of Administration
  • Garching Mayor Hannelore Gabor
  • Beate Spiegel, Klaus Tschira Stiftung, Managing Director
  • Konrad Müller, Klaus Tschira Stiftung, Board of Curators
  • Axel Müller, Architects Bernhardt + Partner
  • Thomas Mrokon, Architects Bernhardt + Partner
  • Klaus-Dieter Schumann, Planner, Schumann Projektsteuerung
  • Fabian Reckmann, ESO, ESO Facilities, Logistics & Transport
  • Renate Ries, Klaus Tschira Stiftung, Media and Communication
  • Lars Lindberg Christensen, ESO education and Public Outreach


Media wishing to attend the event are invited to complete and submit this form.



Richard Hook
ESO, Public Information Officer
Garching bei München, Germany
Tel: +49 89 3200 6655
Cell: +49 151 1537 3591

Renate Ries
Klaus Tschira Stiftung, Media and Communication
Tel.: +49 6221 533 102

Lars Lindberg Christensen
Head, ESO education and Public Outreach Department
Garching bei München, Germany
Tel: +49 89 3200 6761
Cell: +49 173 3872 621

About the Announcement



The new planetarium and visitor centre at ESO Headquarters
The new planetarium and visitor centre at ESO Headquarters