Education Programmes

The comet C/2012 S1 (ISON) imaged from ESO's La Silla Observatory

ESO Open House Day. Credit: ESO

The ESO Supernova provides unforgettable learning experiences for students of all ages. Professional educators use astronomy to inspire and awaken the interest of young people in science and technology, through interactive activities and experiences that will leave a long-lasting impression. Classes come to the ESO Supernova to discover the wonders of the Universe and to spend time investigating real astronomical problems.

An ESO Supernova educational experience includes interactive planetarium showsworkshops and tours, as well as access to our engaging exhibition. Experiences are adapted to the age of visiting school groups — we welcome students aged 4-18. In addition to our range of family-friendly planetarium shows, we have two specially-developed educational shows with strong curriculum links. The Skies Above Us is an interactive show aimed at students aged 4-7 and is all about finding shapes in the stars and investigating the Sun, the Earth and the Moon. A Tour of the Solar System is aimed at students aged 8-11; it takes them on an adventure through the Solar System, allowing them to explore the mysterious worlds that make up our cosmic neighbourhood along the way.

We have created six different hands-on workshops tailored to different stages in the school curriculum, from kindergarten to grade 13. Each workshop is linked to the Bavarian curriculum and gives students a fun and interactive experience of what it's like to be an astronomer investigating a real scientific problem. These workshops also demonstrate to teachers how an astronomical context can be used to teach a wide range of curriculum subjects, linking them together in an interdisciplinary way.

Our captivating 2200 m2 exhibition explains many fundamental astronomical concepts, covering plenty of curriculum content. Digital and interactive exhibits provide pupils with the opportunity to experiment, and to learn by doing. This experience will increase astronomical and scientific literacy amongst our young visitors.

Engaging and personal tours led by ESO scientists and engineers are full of information about astronomy and the important role that ESO plays in this fascinating area of science. Interaction with an active ESO scientist gives pupils the opportunity to ask questions and develop an understanding of scientific career paths. The planetarium shows, workshops and exhibition are linked by an overarching didactic strategy that connects students not only to astronomy and physics, but also to maths, chemistry, geography and informatics.

In addition to its regular programme, the ESO Supernova organises public talks by astronomers from ESO and other research institutes in and around Munich. These are interesting for students of a wide range of ages, and are presented such that students learn about research in a very authentic way.

For teachers, the ESO Supernova offers special teacher training sessions. Please sign up here to our ESO Education Newsletter.

School groups must have advance reservations for workshops, guided tours and planetarium shows. All our educational experiences are free. Please reserve here.