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18. Apr 2024 - 31. May 2025

„Two boys who dreamt of stars. Struve, Fraunhofer and the 200-year-old telescope”

11:00 - 17:00

Tartu city | Tartu Tähetorn

  • Exhibition/museum
  • Lisaprogramm
Ticket booth (on location) 3 - 4 €


New exhibition in the Old Observatory.

Fraunhofer refractor 200: During his short but eventful life, Fraunhofer reformed the optics of telescopes, achieving an unprecedentedly clear view of the starry sky.The Fraunhofer refractor was the best in the world at the time of its construction and it is the foundation of the greatest scientific achievements of the Tartu Observatory.

In 2024, it will be 200 years since the best telescope in the world at that time arrived in the Tartu Observatory from Munich – it was a large and technically innovative telescope with a lens made by Joseph v. Fraunhofer. As a result, the Tartu Observatory became one of the best in the world for its technical equipment and enabled the astronomer Friedrich Wilhelm Struve to make a series of important scientific discoveries. The tower of the observatory, which has become one of the symbols of Tartu, was rebuilt and acquired the shape as we know it today to accommodate the new telescope.
On its anniversary, the Tartu Observatory reveals the backstory of the telescope, its maker Fraunhofer and its first user Struve, introducing them in a way that anyone without prior knowledge would also understand, especially the younger generation. The exhibition tells the story of two boys’ dreams and their arduous journey towards their achievements.The most important discovery made with the large telescope in Tartu was arguably the successful measurement of the distance of the star Vega, which, for the first time, gave us a reliable understanding of cosmic distances. Another crucial discovery was the compilation of a new catalogue of binary stars containing more than 3000 of them.

The exhibition is displayed both in the courtyard as well as inside the observatory. It offers activities for children and is suitable for families.

If you want to grab a bite or need a place to stay, see what the Tartu 2024 hospitality network offers in the area:


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Tartu tähetorn


Uppsala 8, Tartu, Tartu maakond, Eesti

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