The Historical Observatory
of the University of Innsbruck

Visit the historical observatory

in personor virtually


Astronomy was already being taught at the University of Innsbruck in the 19th century, but there was still no observatory. This did not change until 1901, when Egon von Oppolzer became a Professor of Astronomy at the University of Innsbruck. In the following years, he built his observatory with his own funds, according to his own plans and many new ideas at the time.

The observatory was completed in 1904, but Oppolzer died just three years later. The family sells the observatory to the state, which transfers it to the University of Innsbruck. Today, the well-preserved historical observatory, together with its original instruments, is an important, essentially unchanged memorial of the history of Austrian science.

Egon von Oppolzer

Egon von Oppolzer

Brief overview

Professor Egon von Oppolzer builds the observatory according to his own plans and with private funds in the immediate vicinity of his villa in the Innsbruck district of Hötting.

Oppolzer had not yet finished setting up and adjusting the instruments when he died of blood poisoning at the age of 38.

The observatory was bought from the Oppolzer family by the state and attached to the University of Innsbruck as the University Observatory.

Until the 1970s
The observatory was used for research (presently it is used only for student education).

The well-preserved historical observatory in the north-east of the Botanical Gardens, together with its original instruments, is an important, largely unchanged monument to the history of Austrian science.  The facility has been gently adapted by the University of Innsbruck with the help of the City of Innsbruck and is open to visitors.

Astronomical research and education
is now carried out at the University Institute for Astro- and Particle Physics (Technikerstraße 25). Sky images for scientific purposes are obtained by Innsbruck scientists from large international telescopes such as those of the European Southern Observatory (ESO) in Chile, and also from telescopes in the orbit.

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