es1703 — Organisation Release

ESO Supernova has a new partner: Softmachine Immersive Productions GmbH comes into play

Technology partnership signed with award-winning local studio

31 August 2017

The European Southern Observatory (ESO) has signed a three-year partnership agreement with Softmachine Immersive Productions GmbH as a Technology Partner of the ESO Supernova Planetarium & Visitor Centre. Softmachine is an award-winning and innovative animation studio producing 360° fulldome content, with over 10 years of expertise and experience in immersive storytelling. Softmachine, the biggest fulldome producer and distributer based in Munich, produces 2D and 3D immersive content for digital theatres, planetariums, science centres, entertainment parks and VR experiences. The ESO Supernova Planetarium & Visitor Centre is a cooperation between ESO and the Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies (HITS). The building is a donation from the German foundation Klaus Tschira Stiftung (KTS) and the facility is managed by ESO.

Under the terms of this partnership with ESO, Softmachine will provide a licence to show the highly-rated movie The Secrets of Gravity, lasting for 3 years from the opening of the ESO Supernova. Softmachine will also help ESO attract local celebrities to the opening and provide ESO with educational and promotional materials in support of the show. Additionally, ESO will be provided with the award-winning Kaluoka’hina: The Enchanted Reef, the first family entertainment 3D-animation feature film originally produced for the 360° Dome Projection Format, for one year.

The ESO Supernova is due to open on the ESO Headquarters site just outside Garching, Munich, in April 2018. The partnership between ESO and Softmachine is already ongoing and will expire three years after the official opening of the ESO Supernova.

Companies and institutes who wish to support the ESO Supernova and give back to the local community by supporting educational programmes aimed at encouraging young people towards STEM careers, may do so via several types of partnership. The partnerships bring corresponding levels of benefits with them, ranging from name and logo exposure in our centre, on print products, during planetarium shows and more to private use of parts of the building. In-kind contributions and individual donations are also possible. Both partners’ and donors’ contributions help us to ensure that the ESO Supernova can remain a free resource.

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 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”.



Tania Johnston
ESO Supernova Coordinator
Garching bei München, Germany
Tel: +49 89 320 061 30
Cell: +49 170 867 5293

Oana Sandu
Community Coordinator & Communication Strategy Officer
Tel: +49 89 320 069 65

About the Release

Release No.:es1703


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