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Touching the Edge of the Universe world premiere

05/05/2009 1695 views 1 likes
ESA / About Us / ESOC

ESA will present the world premiere of Touching the Edge of the Universe, a stunning new planetarium show, starting 7 May 2009 at 30 planetaria in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The premiere comes just days before the launch of Herschel & Planck, two of the show's starring missions, scheduled for 14 May.

Both missions will make fundamental contributions to astronomy and cosmology and serve as Europe’s cornerstone contribution to the 2009 Year of Astronomy.

In 1609, Galileo Galilei pointed his telescope at the sky, discovering worlds unknown and proving that Aristotle's long-held theories on the cosmos were in fact wrong. His findings marked the beginning of an intellectual revolution that continues today, underpinning much of modern science.

Touching the Edge of the Universe tells the story of astronomy from the time of Galileo and his simple optical telescope to today’s sophisticated space astronomy missions. Viewers will experience an entirely new view of the cosmos conveyed through stunning 3D graphics and a professionally acted script, much of which was shot on location at various ESA Establishments.

Content based on latest knowledge

The show includes the most current knowledge based on the research of scientists working on present and future ESA missions.

Providing a 360° 'full dome' projection, the show takes the audience on a breathtaking voyage of discovery, from Galileo's 16th Century Tuscan villa to the tense countdown, launch and orbiting of the next generation of space telescopes - and out into the Universe.

"The ESA planetarium show provides a lively and compelling picture of space exploration today and what it means for people in everyday life," says Jocelyne Landeau-Constantin, ESA's Project Manager for the show.

"It also reminds us that scientific exploration remains a grand project, just as during the time of Galileo and Kepler, 400 hundred years ago," she adds.

ESA partnership with European planetaria

More than 30 German-language planetaria located in Germany, Austria and Switzerland are partners in Touching the Edge of the Universe. These planetaria offer some of the best connections between formal academic learning and the power of infotainment.

"While books, TV and many other media present the topic of space to the general public, nowhere else can we experience the fascination of space as impressively as in a planetarium," says Fernando Doblas, Head of ESA’s Communication and Knowledge Department.

Digital projection systems using full dome video technology are fast displacing traditional analogue projection systems and planetaria can now provide audiences with a full-surround, cinematic experience.

But digital production techniques are far more demanding and with Touching the Edge of the Universe, the Agency relied on the expertise of the creative team at the Media Faculty of the Kiel University of Applied Sciences, Kiel, Germany.

Show poster - with German-language title 'Augen im All'
Show poster - with German-language title 'Augen im All'

In addition to complex digital imagery recorded using 'green screen' substitution techniques, the show includes detailed and accurate 3D renderings of Herschel, Planck and ESA’s future Mars Rover, as well as of Europe’s Ariane 5 launcher.

Professional actors from the Kiel theatre were employed to ensure a truly authentic educational experience.

ESA will also release the English-language version in June this year.

These premieres will be followed by further releases throughout 2009. ESA scientists and managers will be on hand at several of the premieres for an introductory talk.

Further information at


Jocelyne Landeau-Constantin
Head of Corporate Communication Office,
ESA/ESOC, Darmstadt, Germany

Tel: +49-6151-902696
jlc @

Show premieres

World premiere in Berlin, Vienna and Lucern, 7 May 2009

  • Vienna - Zeiss Planetarium Wien
  • Berlin - Zeiss Großplanetarium Berlin
  • Lucern - Planetarium Luzern

Grand openings in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, May 2009

8 May 2009
Planetarium Hamburg
Nicolaus Copernicus Planetarium, Nürnberg
Planetarium Klagenfurt
Planetarium Sigmund Jähn Rodewisch, Rodewisch

9 May 2009
Planetarium Augsburg Planetarium Herzberg
Planetarium Drebach
LWL Planetarium Münster
Planetarium Laupheim

11 May 2009
Planetarium Cottbus

12 May 2009
Zeiss Planetarium Bochum
Planetarium Osnabrück

13 May 2009
Mediendom der Fachhochschule Kiel

14 May 2009
Planetarium Jena
Wilhelm Foerster Sternwarte Berlin

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