eso1349 — Organisation Release

Planetarium and Visitor Centre Donated to ESO

3 December 2013

ESO has received a donation of a planetarium and visitor centre at the site of its Headquarters in Garching bei München, Germany. The centre will be a magnificent showcase of astronomy for the public. It will be possible thanks to the Klaus Tschira Stiftung, which offered to fully fund the construction.

ESO has accepted a donation offered by the Klaus Tschira Stiftung to fund the construction of a new planetarium and visitor centre at the premises of the ESO Headquarters at Garching bei München, Germany. 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 Klaus Tschira Stiftung is a non-profit organisation established by the physicist Klaus Tschira in 1995. Its goal is to support projects in the natural and computer sciences as well as mathematics, with a special interest in promoting education and public outreach in these fields.

This new facility will provide visitors with a spectacular showcase for astronomy in general, and for ESO’s scientific results, projects, and technological breakthroughs. All content will be provided in both English and German.

The new building’s unique design will resemble the form of a binary star system transferring mass from one component to the other, which will lead to a supernova. This is also reflected in the name of the facility: ESO 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.

The centre will be a “sister” to the spectacular Haus der Astronomie, a centre for astronomy education and outreach in Heidelberg, Germany, founded in late 2008 by the Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science and the Klaus Tschira Stiftung.

The ESO Supernova will offer a memorable experience thanks to the full-dome planetarium that uses the latest technology, and more than 2000 square metres of permanent and temporary exhibitions. Additional rooms housing conference facilities will also host a variety of lectures, workshops and conferences. In addition, a public observatory run by volunteer ESO astronomers and engineers, is planned.

Astronomy is a fascinating and inspirational science and I am proud to be able to contribute towards sharing the excitement of astronomy with the world,” says Klaus Tschira, Managing Director, Klaus Tschira Stiftung.

We hope this centre will shine like a super bright new star, generating enthusiasm and passion for astronomy all around,” says Tim de Zeeuw, ESO’s Director General.

The centre is planned to meet sustainability objectives in terms of the environmental, economic, sociocultural and functional aspects of the project, as well as for the technology, processes and site.

ESO’s Headquarters is located in the Garching research centre, some 15 kilometres north of Munich. It is one of the biggest research and teaching complexes in Germany, serving 6000 employees and 13 000 students. It is also the base for the largest site of the Technical University of Munich, several institutes of the Max Planck Society, the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and numerous other renowned institutes and companies.

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

More information

ESO is the foremost intergovernmental astronomy organisation in Europe and the world’s most productive ground-based astronomical observatory by far. It is supported by 15 countries: Austria, Belgium, Brazil, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. ESO carries out an ambitious programme focused on the design, construction and operation of powerful ground-based observing facilities enabling astronomers to make important scientific discoveries. ESO also plays a leading role in promoting and organising cooperation in astronomical research. ESO operates three unique world-class observing sites in Chile: La Silla, Paranal and Chajnantor. At Paranal, ESO operates the Very Large Telescope, the world’s most advanced visible-light astronomical observatory and two survey telescopes. VISTA works in the infrared and is the world’s largest survey telescope and the VLT Survey Telescope is the largest telescope designed to exclusively survey the skies in visible light. ESO is the European partner of a revolutionary astronomical telescope ALMA, the largest astronomical project in existence. ESO is currently planning the 39-metre European Extremely Large optical/near-infrared Telescope, the E-ELT, which will become “the world’s biggest eye on the sky”.



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
Heidelberg, Germany
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

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About the Release

Release No.:eso1349
Name:ESO Supernova Planetarium & Visitor Centre
Type:Unspecified : Technology


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