You won’t simply stumble on this observatory while walking around Munich; you have to know where to look. Once you find it though, you’re in for a treat. Although Munich is home to a large astronomy collection at the Deutsche Museum and the Supernova Planetarium at Garching, the Volkssternwarte is a unique place, and should not be passed up by space fans in the city.
The Volkssternwarte München (Bavarian Public Observatory Munich) includes a unique 1950s planetarium, four large telescopes, an exhibition with a sizable meteor collection, and an array of astronomical photos, including some incredibly details shots taken of the International Space Station.
The planetarium is a special treat, and some might say the main attraction. This is because it’s a ZKP1 Zeiss planetarium from the 1950s. That means no projectors, beamers, or movies—this thing is fully analog and controlled manually. The result is a much sharper projection of the sky, coupled with a lively show given by the operator. It shows both night and day, the planets, the Milky Way, meteorites, and more, and can change the location of the night sky. It’s a must-see for anyone who enjoys the night sky.
On the roof, you’ll find four permanently set-up telescopes and a series of smaller ones in tripods. The oldest one is a 7-inch refractor from 1971 and the largest is a 32-inch reflector from 2005. All the telescopes have different purposes and are set up for specific targets and observations, allowing visitors to see very different sights when moving between them.