The Bochum Observatory As A Shining Landmark

The Bochum Observatory As A Shining Landmark

Project Details

19. January 2022
Support association of the Institute for Environmental and Future Research e.V.
Blankensteiner Straße 200 a
(Postal address)
44797 Bochum

Project Description

The Bochum Observatory and its Institute for Environmental and Future Research are concerned with the exploration of the Earth using space technology. It is also an Education Centre with activities in the fields of sustainability, climate change and sky observation. Furthermore, it is part of esero Germany, the German Space Education Office of the ESA.

The foundation for today’s facility was laid as early as 1946 by Heinz Kaminski with the founding of the Bochum Public Observatory. The space age began in the summer of 1957, when preparations were made to receive the first American satellites. On the morning of 5 October 1957, the first signals from the Soviet earth satellite Sputnik I came out of the loudspeaker in Bochum. Bochum was the first station to receive Sputnik I in the western world!

In the following decades, space pioneer Heinz Kaminski developed the Bochum Observatory into an internationally recognised institution for satellite and space research. The first extensive use of the facility was to accompany the American Apollo missions, most famously the landing of Apollo 11 on the moon on 20 July 1969. Even today, the independent records of the Bochum Institute are used as proof of the American landing. Today’s facility, headed by Thilo Elsner, is involved in research projects of NASA and DLR; with the 20 m parabolic antenna in the radome of the Bochum Observatory, solar data from the STEREO space probes are received daily from a distance of more than 100 million kilometres.

The light projections on the foil-covered dome with a diameter of approx. 40 m attract numerous sightseers in the evening and transform the building into a living landmark. The projection system, a PHOS 85 outdoor, is located under the eaves of the building opposite, at a distance of approx. 75 m. The tele-projection lens used, with a focal length of 135 mm, enables bright and high-contrast projections after sunset. In order to project the motifs as straight as possible, the distortion caused by the inclined projection angle was previously determined with the help of a measurement projection. Using the data obtained in this way, the projection motifs were made with a “pre-distortion” that compensates for the original distortion. The procedure is called keystone correction.

1 x PHOS 85 outdoor
1 x Telephoto lens 135 mm
Gobos incl. keystone correction

Daniel Dorstewitz, Markus Lueck