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Thuringian State Observatory

A Little Bit Closer To The Stars

The Thuringian State Observatory Tautenburg (TLS) is a research institute of the Free State of Thuringia. It conducts basic research in astrophysics. The astronomers

  • search for and characterize extrasolar planets,
  • observe and analyze solar and stellar oscillations,
  • explore gamma-ray bursts,
  • investigate the processes of star formation,
  • examine the structure and evolution of the Milky Way and distant galaxies,
  • and track asteroids.

TLS researchers use various telescopes for their observations: TLS astronomers observe at large telescopes worldwide. The centerpiece in Tautenburg is the 2-meter Alfred-Jensch Telescope for observation in the optical spectral range. The Thuringian State Observatory also operates a station of the European radio telescope Low Frequency Array (LOFAR).

The optical Alfred-Jensch Telescope is the largest Schmidt camera in the world. Due to its design, the Schmidt mirror has a very large field of view, allowing the 2-meter telescope of the Thuringian State Observatory to observe and photograph extensive celestial objects such as galaxies, nebulae, star clusters, and the orbits of asteroids well. As a universal telescope, it can be converted into a Coude telescope.

LOFAR is the world's largest radio telescope for receiving radio waves and ultrashort waves. The receiver stations are distributed across several countries in Europe: 38 stations are located at the headquarters in the Netherlands, six in Germany (one of them in Tautenburg), and others in France, Ireland, Latvia, Poland, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. Since January 2024, LOFAR is operated by a European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC). The Thuringian State Observatory represents the German participants in the LOFAR ERIC.

A solar laboratory is being established at the Thuringian State Observatory to develop instruments for continuous, automatic monitoring of the sun. Solar activity can affect technological systems. Therefore, its investigation is becoming increasingly urgent. The exploration of the interior of the sun and of stars and their magnetic activity is being expanded as a research field at the Thuringian State Observatory.

Currently, a total of 50 employees are employed at the Thuringian State Observatory, including 35 in the scientific field, including junior research groups and scientific assistants.

Contact Tours
Long Night
Date 26.10.24 17:00 - 23:30

We stand for an open-minded Thuringia

The Thuringian State Observatory in Tautenburg is a research institution that promotes diversity and individuality based on respect and tolerance, and opposes anti-democratic and discriminatory tendencies. For this reason, we support the initiative "Weltoffenes Thüringen" (Open-minded Thuringia). The decentralized, networked initiative aims to send a signal that many people, institutions, associations, and companies in the state stand for a democratic, diverse, and open-minded Thuringia. For more information about "Weltoffenes Thüringen" and the opportunity to support the initiative, please visit:

Latest News

  • Active cooperation with astrophysicists from Uganda

    Active cooperation with astrophysicists from Uganda

    10 June 2024
    The Thuringian State Observatory has been cooperating with universities in Uganda for many years. In May, two astrophysicists from the African country visited again. One of them knows the Tautenburg Observatory very well because he did his Ph.D. work there. Dr. Benard Nsamba and Dr. Cosmos Dumba, bo...
  • ESO signs agreement for ANDES instrument on the ELT

    ESO signs agreement for ANDES instrument on the ELT

    06 June 2024
    ESO has signed an agreement with an international consortium of institutions for the design and construction of ANDES. The Thuringian State Observatory is part of the international consortium. ANDES stands for "ArmazoNes high Dispersion Echelle Spectrograph". ANDES is a powerful spectrograph that wi...
  • Amateur and professional astronomers keep an eye on minor planets together

    Amateur and professional astronomers keep an eye on minor planets together

    30 May 2024
    The „Small Planets“ group of the association Vereinigung der Sternfreunde e.V. (VdS) visited the Thuringian State Observatory in Tautenburg on May 26, 2024,. The observation of so-called “Near Earth Objects” is a research focus there. We explain what these Near Earth Objects are and why they are obs...
  • Why watching a total solar eclipse is so special

    Why watching a total solar eclipse is so special

    14 May 2024
      A total solar eclipse, like the one that was visible over North America on April 8, 2024, is one of the most magnificent events we humans can observe from Earth. Why? Because for a brief moment it vividly shows us our place in the universe. We can watch as the moon moves in front of the sun, as the...

Interesting Topics


How unique is our solar system in our galaxy, the Milky Way? How are planets actually formed? How common are extrasolar planets? And what conditions must be present for life to arise on planets ? Astronomers at the Thuringian State Observatory have been studying ...
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Galaxies, Galaxy Clusters, Quasars

Since light travels at a finite speed, looking deep into space is also a look back into the history of the universe. In recent decades, it has become possible to look so deep into the universe that observations reveal cosmologically relevant developmental effects on large scales...
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2-m Universal Mirror Telescope

The centerpiece of the Tautenburg Observatory for optical spectral range observations is the 2-m Universal Mirror Telescope. When it was first commissioned, it was one of the five largest telescopes in the world. In 1992...
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History of TLS

The history of the observatory in the Tautenburg Forest begins in 1947 with a meeting between the then director of the Astrophysical Observatory Potsdam, Hans Kienle, and leading employees of the astronomy department of the company Carl Zeiss (CZ) in Jena, during which Kienle...
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Prof. Dr. Markus Roth

Prof. Dr. Markus Roth

Direktor | Forschung | Sterne & Planeten

+49 36427 86351

Prof. Dr. Matthias Hoeft

Prof. Dr. Matthias Hoeft

Stellv. Direktor | Forschung | Extragalaktik

+49 36427 86361

Job Postings

Research Associate in Radio Astronomy


The Thuringian State Observatory (TLS) is a state research facility near the university town of Jena. The TLS conducts research in various fields and deals with a variety of topics such as extrasolar planets, diffuse magnetized plasma in galaxies and galaxy clusters, the evolution of faint extragalactic sources and the variability of quasars. The TLS operates the 2m Alfred Jensch Telescope, participates in many instrumentation projects and operates an international station of the Low Frequency Array (LOFAR).

Download the full announcement.


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