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Public Outreach

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Solar Observatory at Schauinsland

Public Tours

The Schauinsland Observatory was the breeding ground of the Leibniz Institute for Solar Physics. Erected during WW2, it hosted the early institute until the 1950s.  The observatory is located at an altitude of 1200 m east of the Schauinsland summit in the Hofsgrund district, about a 45 min drive from the centre of Freiburg. The observatory has a solar tower telescope with a 45 cm opening and a Littrow spectrograph, as well as a Maksutov telescope with a 35 cm opening for star observation. Due to the weather, around 100 observation days per year can be used for observations at Schauinsland.

Scientific observations at Schauinsland took place until the 1980s. Since then, research has concentrated on the Tenerife observatory and the Schauinsland observatory has been used intensively for student training in physics in cooperation with the University of Freiburg and for public outreach.

In summer months, free guided tours of the historical solar observatory and its instruments are offered during "open-door days".  We also offer tours for groups and school classes. In 2021, these events could not be offered due to the COVID-19 situation.

The day of open doors (Türöffnertag - Maustag)

Each year, on 3 October, the Sendung mit der Maus has its door-opening day. We also open the doors to you at the solar observatory on the Schauinsland mountain near Freiburg.

Of course, it's more fun when the weather is good. But then, even we solar physicists sometimes travel to a solar telescope just to find ourselves surrounded by clouds. Don't let that discourage you from visiting us anyway; you will enjoy it nevertheless. Depending on the weather, you will learn about topics such as:

  • What is the sun, how big is it, and how far is it from the earth?
  • How can you observe the sun and what can you actually see on it?
  • How does a rainbow form, what do the colours in the light of the sun and the stars tell us?
  • We'll take you through a (large) telescope (our telescope is so big you can walk around in it). 
  • What does one do at a solar observatory and why can't one observe the sun with all telescopes?
  • How does a telescope work?

We can guide four tours, consisting of up to 10 children and their escorts. The tours start at 10:00, 11:00, 12:00 and 13:00 and last about an hour each.

Suppose you're enough English speaking people to fill an entire group. In that case, we are happy to offer tours in English but regretfully we cannot do mixed-language presentations. Please register early!

Please register and send further enquiries to: maustag@~@leibniz-kis.de


As mentioned above, our plan is to experiment with sunlight and, for example, create an artificial rainbow and demonstrate a large telescope. Still, even if it is cloudy or raining, we can show you the telescope and explain many exciting things about the sun.  So the event will take place even if the sun is not shining.

We look forward to your visit!

In 2021, the door-opening day unfortunately had to be cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions.



The solar observatory is located near Freiburg's 1284 m high Black Forest mountain Schauinsland.  You can either take the cable car to this mountain (here's how to get to the valley station) or drive to the "Rotlache"  parking near the cable car mountain station.  From there, you have to walk about 1 km to the observatory (duration 15 minutes).