Tuorlan Astronomical Society

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Tuorla Observatory Visitor Centre

Tuorla Observatory is part of the Department of Physics and Astronomy in the University of Turku. It is the largest unit of astronomy in Finland and the most significant Finnish partner of European Southern Observatory. Besides its research the observatory presents its operations and achievements of astronomy to general public. Several thousand people visit the observatory annually. Additionally astronomers visit schools and various events to give presentations and courses.

Public outreach has a growing demand but no resources. Therefore professional astronomers founded the Tuorlan Astronomical Society to maintain the observatory public outreach traditions. The society commissioned a feasibility study of the visitor centre for the observatory. The study strongly supported the centre and all potential collaboration partners are interested in forwarding the project and participate in the operation. Especially the University of Turku has been very positive about the visitor centre.

A business plan was commissioned in 2007. It supported the centre and found it possible to run it either as a commercial unit or a non-profit corporation with support from collaboration partners. A fund-raising is currently being prepared for. The aim is to collect the funds to build the visitor centre so that it is in operation in a few years time.

There will be approximately 1000 square metres of space in the visitor centre, with exhibitions, cafeteria, planetarium, 3D theatre, a small meeting-room, and a major auditorium. The auditorium will have a capacity of 200 people and will be well-equipped for versatile use for meetings, conferences and teaching, and can be used for theatrical and music performances.

Tuorla planetarium

As a forerunner to the visitor centre a 38 seat planetarium was opened at Tuorla Observatory during autumn 2008. The most modern 3 megapixel high resolution digital planetarium device enables breathtaking whole sky movies to be presented on astronomical phenomena. Please, see further information at the planetarium web site.