ann16002 — Announcement

ESO Supernova Star Roof Complete

A stellar topping for the ESO Supernova Planetarium & Visitor Centre

12 April 2016

On 12 April 2016 the impressive Star-roof for the ESO Supernova Planetarium & Visitor Centre building was installed. The roof, which weighs almost 30 tonnes, consists of glass panels set into a metal framework made of triangular sections — 262 of them, arranged to artistically represent some of the constellations of the southern sky. It was constructed by South Tyrolean family company, Frener-Reifer after an idea fromBernhardt + Partner architects working together with ESO’s astronomers. The whole roof was installed in one single lift using a special 500-tonne crane.

The roof will allow visitors to the centre to see the sky above, while beneath it they are introduced to the full majesty of the Universe in ESO’s new educational and public outreach facility. It will be studded with lights, to mimic in a modest way the spectacular view of the sky that astronomers at ESO's observatory sites can expect to see. This elegant roof is another unique aspect of the breathtaking architecture which visitors to the centre can enjoy alongside their experience of the world of astronomy.

Housing a state-of-the art digital fulldome planetarium and more than 2200 square metres of exhibition space, including digital interactive stations developed by the Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies, the Centre will lead visitors on an exciting journey through The Living Universe. Conference facilities will host a variety of lectures, workshops and conferences. Entry to the ESO Supernova is free of charge and all content will be delivered in both English and German.

The ESO Supernova website allows prospective visitors, journalists, teachers, partners, and staff at other planetariums to explore the activities planned for the ESO Supernova. Exhibition themes, educational activities, planetarium shows and guided tours are all described. The website also lists the opportunities available to become part of the ESO Supernova team, either as a volunteer, intern or member of staff. Companies, institutes or individual donors who wish to support the ESO Supernova may do so via several types of partnership, with corresponding levels of benefits.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the ESO Supernova took place on 24 February 2015 (ann15011), marking the beginning of the main construction phase of the facility. The facility will be finished in early 2017 and is scheduled to open to the public in late 2017.

More Information

ESO Supernova Planetarium & Visitor Centre

The ESO Supernova Planetarium & Visitor Centre is a cutting-edge astronomy centre located at the site of ESO Headquarters in Garching bei München, providing you with an immersive experience that will leave you in awe of the Universe we live in. From 2017 the centre will provide school classes and families with an unforgettable learning experience, where even the most abstract and distant topics in astronomy and physics are explained and visualised in an innovative way.

The ESO Supernova Planetarium & Visitor Centre is made possible by a cooperation between the European Southern Observatory (ESO) and the Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies (HITS). The building is a donation from the Klaus Tschira Stiftung (KTS), a German foundation, and ESO will run the facility.


The Klaus Tschira Stiftung (KTS) was created in 1995 by the physicist and SAP-cofounder Klaus Tschira. It is one of Europe’s largest privately funded non-profit foundations. The Foundation promotes the advancement of the natural sciences, mathematics, and computer science, and strives to raise appreciation for these fields. The Foundation’s commitment begins in kindergarten and is pursued in schools, universities, and research facilities. The Foundation champions new methods of scientific knowledge transfer, and supports both development and intelligible presentation of research findings. The ESO Supernova is a donation from the KTS, and ESO will run the facility.


The Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies (HITS gGmbH) was established by SAP co-founder Klaus Tschira and his foundation, the Klaus Tschira Stiftung, as a private, non-profit research institute. HITS conducts basic research involving the processing, structuring and analysis of large amounts of data in the natural sciences, mathematics and computer science. The research topics range from molecular biology to astrophysics.



Tania Johnston
ESO Supernova Coordinator
Garching bei München, Germany
Tel: +49 89 3200 6130
Cell: +49 170 867 5293

About the Announcement



Star-roof lifted into place
Star-roof lifted into place
Star-roof under construction
Star-roof under construction
Star-roof lifted into place
Star-roof lifted into place
The final few metres
The final few metres
Half way there
Half way there