The educational programme in the COVID-19 pandemic!

COVID-19 measures

Due to the current COVID-19 situation, we are currently only able to offer ESO's education programme on a limited basis (no workshops). However, you are very much welcome to visit a planetarium show and our huge exhibition - a guided tour may be possible as well. Please check out the measures in place here beforehand.

The maximum number of visitors to the exhibition is currently limited. Registration of school and kindergarten groups to visit the exhibition is therefore required before the visit. The 2G+ regulation will be implemented at ESO Supernova from 24 November 2021 on, which means that everyone aged 12 years and above require a full vaccination against COVID-19 or proof of recovery (within the last 6 months) from an infection with the coronavirus. Additionally to aforementioned proofs, a negative, certified COVID-19 test must be presented to visit ESO Supernova. No exceptions can be made for pupils. Wearing an FFP2 or medical mask is mandatory both in the exhibition and in the planetarium.

Planetarium shows are available again. They usually take place Wednesday - Friday at 10:30 am and 3:30 pm and last about one hour. If you would like to attend a planetarium show with your class/kindergarten group, please check our online calendar to see if a planetarium show is already scheduled for the date you would like to visit and if there are still enough seats available. If so, please send a message to  education@eso.org that you would like to attend this show, along with information about the number of people attending and your institution's contact details. If there is no show scheduled on the dates listed above, in most cases we can schedule a show at 10:30am or 3:30pm. In this case, please write to  education@eso.org and let us know the desired date, time, number of people attending and the contact details of your institution.

Our workshops are designed for inquiry based learning. The experiments are therefore conducted by working in groups or pairs. This is in conflict with current ESO regulations on COVID-19 pandemic containment, so we will not be able to offer workshops this calendar year.

Since we have not yet completed the planning and adjustments of the ESO Supernova programme for 2022 (daily number of planetarium shows and their start times, opening hours, etc.), it is not yet possible to book or reserve a date in 2022. We will inform on our website and via our newsletter when the planning is finalised.

ESO Supernova's educational programme.

Astronomy education is about one of the oldest natural and cultural sciences. It is using the most modern and overwhelming technologies trying to unravel some of the oldest questions like "How did this all began - will it ever end?" or "Are we alone?". In terms of science education in general astronomy can act as a gateway science opening the door for all STEM fields. ESO Supernova's educational programme, teacher trainings and resources are set up to foster the fascination and joy of science, to encourage discovery and self-directed learning in teams and to share ESO Supernova's passion for our universe with everyone.

Trainings for Teachers & Educators

Italian Teacher Training
Group of the Italian Teacher Training participating in a hands-on activity. Credit: ESO

Science and society is a rapidly evolving field and such is science education. ESO Supernova supports teachers and educators in keeping them up to date with recent developments and discoveries in astronomy and engineering by providing hands-on teacher trainings on those topics. Educators K-12 will not only learn the latest from current research, but also discover how this can be transferred into the classroom in a contemporary and sustainable way. You'll find more about what ESO Supernova offers especially for educators and about past and future teacher trainings here .

Programme for School- and Kindergarten Groups

Polish students at ESO Supernova
Polish students having a guided tour at ESO Supernova in their mother tongue led by a polish ESO colleauge. Credit: ESO/M. Zamani

Astronomy is a very interdisciplinary scientific discipline that incorporates all natural sciences taught in schools, as well as mathematics, computer science and even more. We make use of the students' interest for astronomy as a driving force for them to acquire science literacy. We have placed curricula learning contents in an astronomical context, designed hands-on workshops, planetarium shows and exhibition tours and so created unique learning opportunities to experience science like being a scientist for free.

Our educational goal is to ignite curiosity for science and to encourage young ones to think outside the box by combining school knowledge with modern applications in astronomy and engineering. The educational programme is using inquiry based learning strategies with hands-on workshops that can easily be replicated at school or at home. We promote the principle of equality of opportunity for all, especially in terms of education and learning opportunities – for that reason the educational programme is free of charge for school classes and Kindergarten groups. Unfortunately, we cannot offer workshops to day-care groups, after-school childcare or holiday programmes.

So far more than 16000 curious minds (K-12) have taken part in our educational programme together with more than 1500 educators who took the initiative to go on excursion with their students to an extracurricular learning site. Such special events promote motivation, curiosity and interest for MINT subjects and regarding the understanding of science can help to make the penny drop.

What is the education programme?

Depending on how much time you have at ESO Supernova and how large your group is, we can tailor your educational programme to suit the group’s interests.

The full educational programme consists of

  • an age-appropriate guided tour of the exhibition that ranges 2200 square metres and covers all facets of astronomy and earthbound telescope technology (30 min for Kindergarten, 60 min for schools) or a tour of ESO Headquarters for participants older than 10 years (60 min) (more about tours)
  • a planetarium show including an explanation of the sky tonight (45 min for Kindergarten, 60 min for schools)
  • an age-appropriate workshop

but also booking of parts of it (e.g. only a planetarium show) is possible.

Educational Programme
The three pillars of the educational programme: Guided tours, planetarium shows, workshops. Credit: ESO/M. Zamani/P. Horálek

Limitations

  • Unfortunately, we cannot offer workshops to individuals, birthday parties, day-care groups, after-school childcare or holiday programmes.
  • The educational programme is offered only from Wednesday to Friday, but not on public holidays.
  • Workshops and tours are limited to a maximum number of 30 students. If you want to book for larger school groups (up to 60), we will form two groups and perform a workshop with each group one after the other. No guided tour will be possible but the group not conducting the workshop can explore the exhibition on their own.

Costs

All parts of the educational programme as well as the entrance to the ESO Supernova are free of charge. Donations are very welcome.

Dates

  • The full educational programme is only possible on the dates in the calendar below marked in green (provided that enough seats are available in the planetarium).
  • Visiting planetarium shows as part of the educational programme may be possible also on the red marked dates but depends whether enough seats are available in the planetarium. Please check on the ESO online calendar.
  • Dates, which are further in the future than the calendar below indicates, cannot yet be booked or pre-reserved. Once these dates are released, this will be published in the education newsletter.

Schedule

The schedule of your visit depends a lot on the slot of the planetarium show you want to experience since the times of the shows are fixed. You’ll find the planetarium shows that are going to be presented on this day on the ESO online calendar. Make sure that the chosen show has enough free seats left. In most cases we can squeeze in a show from Wednesday to Friday (outside holiday periods) at 10:30 or 15:30 if no other show is being shown at the planetarium at this hour. A possible guided tour can be arranged around the show. Please be aware that there need to be breaks (at least 15 min) between the activities.

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Booking

  • Planetarium show only: Send an email to education@eso.org with the desired date and name of the show as well as the exact number of tickets required. We will take care of the reservation! We are open for school classes from Wednesday to Friday from 9:00 - 17:00. We close the ESO Supernova for cleaning from 12:30 to 13:30. Planetarium shows are Wednesday - Friday at 10:30 and 15:30 and last about one hour.
  • Planetarium show, guided tour of the exhibition and workshop: Since this kind of educational programme is unfortunately not bookable at the moment we have deactivated the online form. Under normal circumstances you'd need to fill out the online form below and submit it to ESO Supernova. Without this form we cannot deal with your booking request. We'll check your request as soon as possible and come back to you later on. Please note that your educational programme will only take place if you have received a confirmation email from us.