In March 2019, Germany's largest Science Center will be opened in Heilbronn. After extensive construction work, the new experimenta building on the banks of the Neckar will be open to the public and offers daily visitors a varied and exciting program.
The final piece of the building is the observatory, which complements the Science Dome with a Planetarium and provides a live view into the cosmos.
On September 20, 2018, the dome was lifted onto the building. The claim to build a state-of-the-art science center was also valid for the observatory. Therefore, we are pleased that we have been awarded the contract for the construction of a turn-key dome with all required instruments for the observatory.
Although the new 6.5 m AllSky Dome in Heilbronn does not have to withstand such extreme weather conditions as many of our other worldwide domes, it does have to cope with permanent workload: every day, the two telescopes in the dome are aimed at the sun, if the weather allows it. In addition there are regular evening star tours in cooperation with the second observatory in Heilbronn: The Robert Mayer Observatory dating back to 1914 (www.sternwarte.org) is one of the oldest public observatories in Germany; both institutions work together to convey the enthusiasm for astronomy.
A big advantage of the AllSky dome is that it can be completely opened. The visitors are then in the open air, and the devices can quickly adapt to the ambient temperature and reach their full capacity. For wind or light protection, the individual segments can be closed separately and completely automated - whether to protect against rain showers, or to operate the observatory fully automatically for teaching. The dome is maintenance-free and was built turn-key by us - quality made in Germany.
The telescopes – a 25cm TEC refractor and a 20" mirror telescope from Planewave Instruments – will be parallel installed in the next few weeks on an azimuthal AZ 4000 HPS mount made by the Italian manufacturer 10Micron. Four smaller observation islands will be set up at the experimenta for student internships.
This makes Heilbronn a unique location for astronomical public relations in Germany. A similar observatory was recently built in Austria for the "House of Nature", also with an AllSky dome, complemented by a classic 6.15m slit-dome.
On the left you can see a video of the experimenta dome lifting, with an interview by the Science Center director Dr. Kai Noeske.
The german paper "Heilbronner Stimme" has also reported on the construction of the experimenta dome.