This page was
last updated on
2 February 2011
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
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.