Open Heritage Day on September 13th

On September the 13th the annual “Open Heritage Day“ takes place all over Germany. The opening ceremony for Potsdam will be held in the dome of the Great Refractor at 10 AM with a welcome by the Lord Mayor of Potsdam, Jann Jakobs. The “Förderverein Großer Refractor“ will act as host and offer guided tours and presentations for visitors throughout the day.
Open Heritage Day on September 13th

The Great Refractor (Credit: Dr. Bauers).

As the world’s fourth largest lens tele­scope, the Great Refractor is an important example of the fine mechanical and optical manufacturing of early astrophysical research at the turn of the 20th century.

It was inaugurated by Emperor Wilhelm II in 1899. In April of 1945, the building and the mechanical parts of the Great Refractor suffered heavy damage during an air raid. Following restorations between 1950-1953, observations focused on optical binary stars until scientific research ceased completely in 1968.

In 1997, the Förderverein Großer Refraktor Potsdam e.V. was founded in order to preserve the Great Refractor. Together with the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam, the Brandenburg Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs, and the historical preservation authorities, this development association is tasked with maintaining and preserving the building, its history and the telescope. Since May 2006 the Great Refractor is accessible for visitors during public events.

Many more monuments in Potsdam, Berlin and Brandenburg will open their doors September 13 to the public. More information on the programme is published in German here: and

How to get to Telegrafenberg


Media contact: Dr. Janine Fohlmeister,, +49 331 7499-802


The key topics of the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP) are cosmic magnetic fields and extragalactic astrophysics. A considerable part of the institute's efforts aim at the development of research technology in the fields of spectroscopy, robotic telescopes, and e-science. The AIP is the successor of the Berlin Observatory founded in 1700 and of the Astrophysical Observatory of Potsdam founded in 1874. The latter was the world's first observatory to emphasize explicitly the research area of astrophysics. Since 1992 the AIP is a member of the Leibniz Association.