es1701 — Organisation Release

ESO and Partners Launch Innovative Data2Dome Planetarium System

27 April 2017

ESO is proud to publicly launch a running version of the cutting-edge Data2Dome project in partnership with Evans & Sutherland and the International Planetarium Society . This exciting new free system for planetariums delivers the complete collection of images and videos from ESO's frontline telescopes at La Silla and Paranal, as well as from ALMAESA/Hubble — and through NASA’s and IPAC’s Astropix project: NASA’s Spitzer Space TelescopeChandra X-Ray ObservatoryGALEXWISE, and NuStar, as well as ESA’s Planck and Herschel space telescopes. Data2Dome also delivers stunning fulldome images and videos, 3D models and music, as well as the latest press releases and blogs from all astronomy and space organisations worldwide, all at the click of a mouse — and for free! Data2Dome’s AstroCalendar module provides daily feeds of significant astronomical events such as spacecraft launches, planetary alignments, historical anniversaries and more.

Astronomy is a dynamic discipline, with spectacular discoveries, images, videos and other data published every single day. Planetariums around the world have always wanted to share these new developments, but it often takes days or weeks to transform the latest news into planetarium content. The vision of the Data2Dome system is to seamlessly integrate astronomy data into planetarium systems in almost real time, allowing planetariums to immerse their visitors in the latest discoveries the day they are announced. The database is carefully curated to include high-quality material and to save presenters’ time.

Every morning, planetarium presenters can access interesting news and fresh datasets, and download them — for free — to use in shows throughout the day. Presenters can report on events as they take place, or incorporate a segment of “Last week in astronomy” into their programme. This streamlined flow of information will transform planetariums into dynamic venues that are always up to speed, bringing the science of astronomy to life under the dome.

Data2Dome is now available to many planetariums worldwide using Evans & Sutherland’s Digistar 6 system, and we are working with other planetarium vendors to incorporate it into their systems as well. If you are a presenter using the Digistar 6 system in your planetarium, open the Data2Dome tab to make use of these free resources right now. If you are a planetarium visitor, ask your local planetarium if they have Data2Dome content, so you can gain access to live science.

The project is spearheaded by ESO in preparation for the launch of the ESO Supernova Planetarium & Visitor Centre, the first open-source planetarium in the world, at ESO’s Headquarters in Garching, Germany.

More information

The ESO Supernova Planetarium & Visitor Centre

The ESO Supernova Planetarium & Visitor Centre is a cutting-edge astronomy centre for the public and an educational facility, located at the site of the ESO Headquarters in Garching bei München. The centre hosts the largest tilted planetarium in Germany, Austria and Switzerland and an interactive exhibition, sharing the fascinating world of astronomy and ESO to inspire coming generations to appreciate and understand the Universe around us. All content is provided in English and German and entrance is free, but requires prior booking. For more details visit:

The ESO Supernova Planetarium & Visitor Centre is 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 runs the facility.

ESO Supernova is proudly supported by: Evans & Sutherland and Energie-Wende-Garching.


The Klaus Tschira Stiftung (KTS) was created in 1995 by the physicist and SAP co-founder Klaus Tschira (1940–2015). 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 continue 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 in 2010 by the physicist and SAP co-founder Klaus Tschira (1940–2015) and the Klaus Tschira Foundation as a private, non-profit research institute. HITS conducts basic research in the natural sciences, mathematics, and computer science, with a focus on the processing, structuring, and analyzing large amounts of data. The research fields range from molecular biology to astrophysics. The shareholders of HITS are the HITS Stiftung, which is a subsidiary of the Klaus Tschira Foundation, Heidelberg University and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). HITS also cooperates with other universities and research institutes and with industrial partners. The base funding of HITS is provided by the HITS Stiftung with funds received from the Klaus Tschira Foundation. The primary external funding agencies are the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the German Research Foundation (DFG), and the European Union.


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 16 countries: Austria, Belgium, Brazil, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, along with the host state of Chile. 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 a major partner in ALMA, the largest astronomical project in existence. And on Cerro Armazones, close to Paranal, ESO is building the 39-metre European Extremely Large Telescope, the E-ELT, which will become “the world’s biggest eye on the sky”.



Lars Lindberg Christensen
Head of ESO ePOD
Garching bei München, Germany
Tel: +49 89 3200 6761
Cell: +49 173 3872 621

Michael Daut
Evans & Sutherland Digital Theater
Tel: +1-801-588-1627

Mark Subbarao
IPS Science and Data Visualization Task Force

About the Release

Release No.:es1701


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