HdA building inaugurated

A ceremony with 100 invited guests marks the official opening of the HdA's galaxy-shaped new building.

December 16, 2011
Image: Doris Anders (MPIA)

On December 2011, starting at 12:30 pm, the spectacular galaxy-shaped building of the Haus der Astronomie, Heidelberg's new Center for Astronomy Education and Outreach, was inaugurated.

After Thomas Henning, managing director of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, had opened the proceedings, around 100 invited guests attentively listened to a distinguished roster of speakers: Peter Gruss (President of the Max Planck Society), Klaus Tschira (the new building's sponsor), Theresia Bauer (Minister for Science, Research and the Arts, State of Baden-Württemberg), Gabriele Warminski-Leitheußer (Minister for Education, Youths and Sports, State of Baden-Württemberg), Bernhard Eitel (Rector of Heidelberg University), and Eckart Würzner (Lord Mayor of the City of Heidelberg).

Following a handing-over ceremony initiated by the building's architect, Manfred Bernhardt, the new Center's managing scientist, Markus Pössel, gave a brief account of the Haus der Astronomie's many activities. This was followed by a lively lecture by Michael Kramer, director at the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy, on the cosmos as a laboratory for extreme physics. A planetarium presentation, which also featured simulations by astronomers from Heidelberg, concluded the ceremony.

Haus der Astronomie is the result of an unusual partnership between private and public institutions: The Center was founded in late 2008 by the Klaus Tschira Foundation and the Max Planck Society (which delegated the responsibility of leading the new institution to the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy); the other partners are the University of Heidelberg and the City of Heidelberg. The Center receives additional support from the Baden-Württemberg State Ministries of Science, Research and the Arts, and of Education, Youths and Sports. Important cooperation partners include the popular astronomy magazine "Sterne und Weltraum" and the non-profit organization Astronomieschule e.V.

Beginning in 2012, members of the public can visit the Haus der Astronomie during guided tours (reservations required) and on the occasion of public lectures. Elementary and high school students can participate in the Center's workshops.

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