Guided Tours

The new ESO office and conference buildingThe ESO Supernova offers daily tours to provide you with the best possible opportunity to experience both the ESO Supernova and the nearby ESO Headquarters. We offer three different tours, available in both German and English. Make your choice, print a ticket from a ticket kiosk, and join us. All tours start from within the Void, next to the entrance area, and last for about 45 minutes:

  • Supernova Exhibition Tour: Join one of our guided tours to be led through the exhibition and have the opportunity to talk to a real astronomer. Your guide will lead you to the secret highlights of the exhibition and answer any questions that you may have about astronomy.
  • Premises Tour: Take a peek into the heart of ESO by visiting ESO Headquarters, located next to the ESO Supernova. The Headquarters building is normally closed to visitors. On this tour you can learn about the Klaus Tschira Stiftung and HITS, the founders of the ESO Supernova, and find out about the history and future of ESO.
  • ESO ArchitecTour: All the ESO buildings are architectural stars, known worldwide for their beauty and design. Join a tour to see these stars close up, learn about their clever details, and tour the ESO Headquarters building.

For practical reasons the guided tours are limited to 25 people. Please ensure that you reserve your tickets in advance for these events, either online here or by printing tickets from the ticket kiosks in the entrance area of the ESO Supernova.

Bookable Theme Tours

Do you want a special tour for you and your friends, focusing on a specific topic that you are particularly interested in? Would you prefer to have a tour in French or Spanish, or at a specific time? If so, we have the tour for you! Choose from one of the paid bookable tours from the list below and reserve it online here.

  • Is Anybody Out There?: Learn about the possibility of life on other planets in the Solar System, and about the detection of planets circling other stars. Be amazed at the difficulties astronomers face in order to explore the atmospheres of planets light-years away, and get an answer to the question: Will we ever visit these planets? Or are we the ones already being visited?
  • Big, Bigger, E-ELT: Just 400 years ago, astronomers had to observe the night sky with the naked eye. Learn about the evolution of the telescope, starting from Galileo’s instrument to the most modern instruments used by ESO, such as the Very Large Telescope, ALMA and the future E-ELT. Our guides will tell you why we need ever bigger telescopes, what astronomy and your cell phones have in common, and all about the light in the spectrum beyond that which our eyes can see.
  • The Astronomical Zoo: Galaxies, stars, planets. These are just a few of the different types of objects visible in the night sky. Learn more about them, and other strange objects like black holes, white dwarfs and brown dwarfs. Are they all stars like the Sun? You will find out.
  • We are Made of Stardust: Every atom in our body was once inside a star. Learn how the evolution of the Universe is closely connected to the evolution of life, how material is recycled in stars, and how the Sun will evolve in the future. This tour also leads you back to the beginning of time, when the first atoms were created: to the Big Bang!
  • It All Started with a Bang!: How do we know about the Big Bang? What came before, and what will happen at the end of the Universe? How old is the Universe, and how do we know that? Questions like these will be answered on this tour, where you will also learn about the dark side of the Universe: dark matter and dark energy.
  • The Big Questions: Astronomers have solved many of the mysteries of the Universe, but there are still some big open questions. Learn about all the things we don’t have answers for yet: What are dark matter and dark energy? Is there a second Earth out there? Are we alone?
  • We Are All Doomed!: Life is a miracle, and it is perhaps an even bigger miracle that we have survived this far! Learn in an entertaining way how risky it is for life to be in such a violent Universe, full of supernovae, gamma-ray bursts, galactic collisions, black holes, asteroids... Even if we survive all this, how do we survive the end of the Sun, or the end of the Universe? How can we prepare for all that? Can ESO save us from that fate?