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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.


Phone: +49 36427 / 863-0

Fax: +49 36427 / 863-29


Thüringer Landessternwarte Tautenburg
Sternwarte 5
07778 Tautenburg


We offer tours for groups and individuals.

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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

Bauhaus - Tautenburg: When Art Meets Science


On February 22, we had the chance of welcoming PhD students in Art and Design from the Bauhaus University in Weimar, led by Prof. Alexandra Toland. The goal of this first meeting between the two Thuringian institutes was to know each other with the idea of fostering future collaborations between art students and scientists. The visit started with a tour of the 2m-Alfred Jensch telescope by Eike Guenther and an explanation of the LOFAR radio telescope by Alexander Drabent. Then, roundtable ...

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What solar physicists can learn from the solar eclipse.


  A total solar eclipse is a spectacular natural event. The moon moves between the sun and the earth, blocking our star. It gets dark in the middle of the day, and the night sky becomes visible. Millions of people will observe this event on April 8, 2024, in North America. Professor Dr. Markus Roth, Director of the Thuringian State Observatory, explains why the solar eclipse of 2024 is so special. A total solar eclipse is an impressive natural spectacle. On April ...

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Thuringian State Observatory Achieves Milestone in Construction of New Spectrograph PLATOSpec


  The Thuringian State Observatory Tautenburg is part of a consortium building the high-resolution spectrograph PLATOSpec. This instrument will be mounted on a 1.52-meter telescope at the European Southern Observatory (ESO) in La Silla, Chile, during the course of 2024. An important milestone has now been reached for the project: a new front-end has been installed on the telescope, and the calibration unit has been installed.   The workshops of the Thuringian State Observatory have developed, built, and tested the calibration unit for ...

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Asteroid 2024 BX1 observed at the TLS shortly before its impact near Berlin


The time around the full moon is actually not suitable for astrophotography. Nevertheless, the night of January 20th to 21st, 2024 had a surprise in store for Dr. Stanislav Melnikov and his colleagues. He carried out observations for the ``Near-Earth Asteroid program´´. The sky was already so bright that faint asteroids were barely visible. Thus, the researcher was pleased when a new object named Sar2736 suddenly appeared on the target list. Its brightness and speed suggested it was close to ...

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Interesting Topics


When you gaze at the sky on a clear night, you see thousands of stars. Centuries ago, people wondered how many of these stars might be orbited by planets and whether one of these planets might be like Earth. The first discovery of a planet outside our solar system only happened towards the end of the 20th century. Now, there is a whole series...
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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).

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