ESO Receives Donation Of Planetarium And Visitor Center
December 3, 2013

ESO Accepts Donation For Planetarium And Visitor Center


ESO has accepted a donation offered by the Klaus Tschira Stiftung to fund the construction of a new planetarium and visitor center at the premises of the ESO Headquarters at Garching bei München, Germany. The new center 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 organization 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 center will be a “sister” to the spectacular Haus der Astronomie, a center 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 meters 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 center 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 center, some 15 kilometers 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.


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