• of the observatory on the roof of the FEZ, Brain City Berlin

    Travel to the sun from the classroom

Schoolchildren across Germany can now observe the sun live online. This is being made possible by two telescopes that were installed on the roof of Berlin's FEZ youth and leisure centre, complete with observatory dome. The "DLR_School_LAB Online Observatory" is operated by DLR in cooperation with the FEZ and is funded by the BMBF as part of the Science Year 2023.

Flying into space in a spaceship is not only a dream for children and young people. In the recently opened Orbitall observatory dome in the FEZ in Wuhlheide, schoolchildren can now observe the processes on the sun live in telephoto mode, as if from a spaceship: from impressive sunspots to spectacular flows of matter, so-called prominences. Two telescopes were installed especially for this purpose on the roof of the orbitall space centre, which the Youth and Leisure Centre in Wuhlheide operates together with DLR_School_Lab_Berlin - as one of a total of 16 student laboratories of the German Aerospace Center (DLR).

The special thing about the observatory on the roof of the FEZ: It is also accessible online: In the "DLR_School_LAB Online Observatory", schoolchildren from the 7th grade upwards can observe the sun throughout Germany, as the telescopes can also be operated via a special project website. The school classes can take their own pictures of the sun's surface, evaluate them and include them in their reports on the project website. The aim of the online observatory: to introduce young people to scientific work - including empirical data collection, interpretation and publication. And, of course, the objective is also to get the students excited about science.

"Das Klassenzimmer als Online-Sternwarte" (“The classroom as an online observatory”) is one of three DLR school projects as part of the Science Year, which in 2023 has the main theme "Our Universe". In the other two projects, around 20 schools each receive so-called stratospheric balloons for atmospheric research and observation of the Earth. Or they can observe shooting stars and fireballs with special camera stations. All three DLR projects are funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

Not to forget: A visit to the orbitall space centre in the FEZ is a great idea for children, young people and their parents during the summer holidays: Here you can not only do some astronaut training and test your own fitness in a training hall on replicas of modules of the ISS space station, but also fly virtually to the ISS or go on a "family mission" as a meteorologist, engine specialist, commander or flight director in the space control centre. DLR_Schoool_LAB Berlin also invites school classes to exciting experiments, short lectures and courses. On-site visits are definitely worthwhile! (vdo)

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