There has been a public observatory in Munich for more than 60 years now, which has grown from small beginnings to one of the biggest und best known public observatories in germany.
The cornerstone of the Public Observatory Munich was laid in the year 1946, when amateur astronomers where sought for regularly meetings by a small newspaper ad. One year later the small group of amateur astronomers could place their observation tools on the platform of a former air raid shelter in the east of Munich, 35 meters above street level. A small room measuring only six square meters was rent in the attic of the building as club room. On 31 May 1947 the first public guided tour was arranged, using a telescope with a lens diameter of only 50 mm as main instrument.
Much has changed since then. More and more rooms were acquired in later years and the number of instruments increased steadily. Today the Public Observatory Munich is equipped with several large telescopes, a planetarium, a lecture room, an exhibition hall, a substantial library, laboratories and its own machine shop.
Only the continuous support and an annual grant by the city of Munich, the honorary work of the members of the club and the support by many sponsors made this development possible, which served the spread of astronomical knowledge as primary public task of the club.
Today, the club has some 600 members and about 20,000 people visit the more than 800 public shows per year, so that up to now more than half a million visitors could experience some of the wonders of the universe in our premises. Director of the Observatory is Dr. Benjamin Mirwald.
The 300 square meters sized observation platform is located at an altitude of 35 meters above street level and provides a splendid view over the city of munich and the Alps. Two telescope domes und two smaller huts, housing the large telescopes are located here. In addition to these the visitors can use a series of smaller, portable telescopes.
The Public Observatory operates four main telescopes: Two reflecting telescopes and two refracting telescopes with optics up to 80 cm in diameter are available to observe the celestial objects with our visitors. A historical 10 cm Merz refractor, some smaller portable telescopes with an aperture of 10 - 20 cm and a large binocular 25x100 are also available.
Our instruments give impressive views of the craters and mountains on the Moon. On nearby planets such as Mars, Jupiter and Saturn many fascinating structures of the planetary surface, distant moons and ring systems can be seen. During spells of fine weather distant nebula, star clusters and galaxies become visible in the telescopes and offer an good insight into the amazing variety of space to the observer.
In our planetarium with 32 seats a Zeiss projector creates an impressive view of the night sky, independent of the weather or time of day, which in nature could only be seen under the best weather conditions. The constellations and the movement of the sun, moon and planets can be clearly demonstrated and these important aspects of the science of astronomy can be easily explained.
Dedication of Stars
Our fund-raising campaign "Dedication of Stars" enables us to fund the purchase of new instruments and to carry out necessary renovation work, such as the installation of our powerful planetarium projector (Zeiss ZKP 1) and the huge 80 cm telescope.
Membership in the Bavarian Public Observatory Munich
Are you interested to become a member of the Bavarian Public Observatory Munich? Learn more about it here.