Frequently Asked Questions
Booking & Costs
Is everything really free in the ESO Supernova?
Yes, the ESO Supernova Planetarium & Visitor Centre is really free of charge in 2018. To explore the exhibition on your own, you do not need a booking, but will receive a free entrance ticket when you arrive. We do, however, encourage you to make a donation in advance or on the day when you arrive. To see a planetarium show, participate in a guided tour or family activity or a school workshop you need to reserve your place in advance.
Where do I book a ticket?
You can book tickets in two ways:
- From our calendar view, go to the day and time you are interested in and click on the show you want to book a ticket for. You’ll be taken on a page where you can book your ticket.
- From our activities list, go to the activity you are interested in and click on it. You will be taken to a page where you can see all the showing times of that activity. Click on the one you want to book.
Which tours can I book?
A list of tours is available here. There are three Standard tours: the Premises Tour; the Exhibition Tour and the ArchitecTour. These are all part of our regular programme and are featured every weekend in both English and German. Tickets for these can be reserved online for free in 2018. Our other bespoke tours or tours for private groups must be booked on request. Each bespoke tour costs 200 euro (maximum group size is 25 people.)
How much did the ESO Supernova cost?
As the ESO Supernova was a gift, all parties involved have been kindly asked not to comment on the costs of the facility.
My favorite show is completely booked. Is there a waiting list if people do not show up?
Even if a show is fully booked it can happen that not all people show up for the booked event. At the ESO Supernova you can put yourself on a waiting list at the reception. In case there is a free seat you will then get the possibility to still enter the show. There is, of course, no guarantee that there will be free seats.
There are no shows or events which I can book after a specific date. Are you not offering any shows any more?
The ESO Supernova publishes its programme on a quarterly basis. About a month before the new quarter starts the new programme becomes available. You can sign up to our newsletter to stay informed about the availability of the new programme.
I would like to celebrate my birthday in the ESO Supernova. Is this possible?
As we are only a small team we cannot offer special events for birthday activities. You are more than welcome to explore the exhibition on your own, to book seats in one of our regular planetarium shows or organise a paid tour with us though. You can use our picnic area to celebrate and to eat a birthday cake. Please do not bring any candles or other open fire as they will cause a fire alarm.
Which workshops can I book for my class?
The website will not let me make a planetarium booking for over 10 people. How do I book a school group?
We welcome school groups. If you wish to book for a school group, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to make a booking.
Can we have a school visit on a weekend?
You are welcome to bring children at the weekend, but we do not organise educational activities at the weekend.
Can I create a customised program of workshops, tours and planetarium shows?
Planetarium shows are programmed months in advance and are fixed. On weekdays there are four daily shows. You can see the daily programme here. “The skies above us” show is particularly suitable for young children aged 4 - 7 and “A tour through the Solar System” show is particularly suitable for children aged 8 - 11. If you would like to schedule an educational workshop or tour either before or after a planetarium show, then this can be discussed with the education team. To arrange a suitable program, please contact email@example.com.
Which planetariums shows can I see?
A list of our planetarium shows is available here. Our program changes every three months.
Can children less than 1 years old go inside the planetarium?
All ages are allowed into the planetarium, but we recommend that audience members be at least 4 years old. You can imagine the experience as being similar to being in a cinema, except that the images are displayed on a 360 degree screen, and as such they could have a bigger impact on small children. If you do decide to come with a baby, we kindly ask that pushchairs are left at the entrance for safety reasons. We recommend reserving seats at the end of rows in case you need to leave the planetarium before the end of the show. Always announce to our staff that you wish to leave before getting up. Do not try to leave on your own as it is very dark inside the planetarium and it is not safe for you and your children.
Can I eat or drink inside the planetarium?
There is strictly no food or drink inside the planetarium. Please finish all food or drink before you go inside, or have it sealed inside your bag.
Can I enter a planetarium show after start time?
No. Once the doors close, they remain closed. People can of course leave during a show, but once you have left you cannot come back in.
That seems harsh - what if I am only 5 minutes late? Can I come in then?
Unfortunately, still no. This is for a number of reasons. The planetarium can be extremely dark so it is both dangerous for you and disruptive for the audience for people to enter after the show has begun. Planetarium shows are a more immersive experience than regular cinemas, and are sometimes accompanied by a live presenter. Additionally the shows are shorter than movies. People entering the show even 5 minutes late significantly disrupt the experience for the audience, and are distracting for the presenter. If the doors open, staff inside and outside the planetarium will assume someone is leaving whom might require attention. For all these reasons, we maintain this policy strictly and cannot make exceptions.
Which exhibitions can I see?
The list of exhibitions is available here. The Living Universe is the Supernova’s permanent Exhibition and is always available during opening hours. Temporary exhibitions will sometimes be on display in the Void.
Do I need to join a tour to see the permanent exhibition?
No, in fact we recommend seeing the exhibition on your own as this gives you the opportunity to really explore all the items you consider most interesting.
Can I look at the sky with a telescope?
We do not have a public observatory at the ESO Supernova, so you will not be able to observe the sky with a telescope. We do, however, have three small telescopes which can be used to view the spectacular high-resolution image of the Milky Way that covers the walls of the 14.7-metre high Void, so it is possible to experience looking through a telescope. Sometimes we also arrange special events where observing with telescopes is possible. Please see our special events programme for details.
Can I eat or drink inside the exhibition?
We prefer that people do not eat inside the exhibition, although we do appreciate that small children might need a snack or a drink as they make their way through the building. We ask parents or guardians to be vigilant against children touching the touchscreens with food or drink on their hands, as it might damage the screens.
What can I do with the QR code on my entrance ticket?
At the reception you can get your personal entrance ticket for the exhibition. This ticket contains a unique QR code and an individuell URL. Many digital stations in the exhibition are equipped with a QR code reader (a blue box with a red light) which allow you to scan your code — in doing so you create a screenshot of the attached screen and store it online. The URL on your ticket contains all the scans you make in the exhibition, creating your own personal take home exhibition!
Using your personal smartphone and an app able to read QR codes, you can also scan our panels — each of which has its own code. This way you can reread the parts you are most interested in again at home, or share the images from the panels with your friends!
Planning a Visit
Do you have a café or restaurant at the ESO Supernova?
The ESO Supernova does not have a café or restaurant, however, we have a indoor and outdoor picnic area where you may eat your own food. There are also vending machines selling cold drinks and snacks. If you want something more substantial, Garching is one stop away on the U-bahn and has a number of shops and restaurants. During weekdays, there are also number of small food stands next to the U-bahn which are used by students and staff across the Forschungszentrum.
Are you open on public holidays?
Our opening hours always stay that same. So if a public holiday falls on a Monday or Tuesday, we will still be closed. If a public holiday falls on a Wednesday, Thursday or Friday, we will still be open.
What is the latest time I can arrive?
We close at 17.00, and stop letting new visitors in at 16.45.
Can I bring my dog to the ESO Supernova?
Guide dogs are, of course, welcome. No other dogs are allowed, including dogs which can be carried or fitted into bags.
Is the building suitable for wheelchairs?
Yes. If you are a wheelchair user and you wish to see a planetarium show, we recommend booking two seats in the front row (the seats are quite narrow so two seats might be required to fit your chair). There are no stairs throughout the exhibit, and the exhibit is wheelchair friendly. The exhibition is arranged along a ramp that winds up and down the edge of the building, so the floor is slightly inclined at points.
Is the ESO Supernova accessible by public transport for people with limited mobility?
The Garching Forschungszentrum U-bahn station has an elevator for wheelchair users. The U-bahn exit is about 600 metres away from the ESO Supernova entrance. If this distance is too far, we also have disabled parking.
Special Events & Private Events
Which Friday night events can I attend?
The ESO Supernova sometimes hosts special events, such as special planetarium screenings, on Friday nights. A list of these events is available here.
I have booked a Friday night event, which starts at 19:00. The exhibition closes at 17:00. Can we stay in the centre between 17:00 and 19:00?
Unfortunately it is not possible to remain in the centre after the closing hour of 17:00. We need to prepare the centre for the Friday night event, and as our team is small we cannot manage people inside the exhibition and the special event at the same time. We recommend going into nearby Garching for an ice cream or dinner in the variety of restaurants there.
Can I book a private tour?
You can book a private tour, but as this requires us to have extra staff we have to charge a fee. The cost for a private tour is 200 euro. Due to the layout of the exhibition it is not effective to have over 25 people on a single tour, so if you wish to book for over this number, you will need to book multiple tours. For example, if you want to provide a private tour for 60 people, this would require three separate tours, and would cost a total of 600 euro. We offer several tours which are not part of our regular programme, so if you do choose to book a tour you have a considerable range to choose from. You can find out about them here.
Can I book a private planetarium show?
You can book a private show, but as this requires us to have extra staff we have to charge a fee. The cost for a private planetarium show is 500 Euros. There are 109 seats in the planetarium, so if you want to book for over this number, you will need to book multiple shows. For example, if you wish to provide a private show for 200 people, this would require two separate shows, and would cost 1000 Euros. Standing room is not an option, both for safety and the enjoyment of others.
Can I book the space for a private event like a party or a wedding?
Yes, you can. Please see our brochure for information on the various spaces and services we can offer. To make a booking, please contact Oana Sandu, our Community Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can I take photos in the exhibition?
Photography is allowed in the exhibition areas, including using a tripod. We do, however, ask that you are aware of other visitors and do not disrupt their visit with flash photography. Also please be aware that families with small children may be in the exhibit, and parents may prefer not to have their children in photographs.
Can I take photos in the planetarium?
No. Photography is strictly forbidden in the planetarium as it distracts the presenter and disrupts the enjoyment of other audience members.
Can I get copies of the photographs on display in the exhibition?
The ESO Supernova is open source and the ESO images used in the exhibition are all available online. If you would like a mounted image, however, these can be purchased at the ESO Supernova shop.