A solar observatory began operating on the Wendelstein in 1941, originally constructed for military reasons. Before the start of the Second World War, scientists had detected the effect of solar activity on radio transmission, which they wanted to explore using monitoring stations on the exposed summit of the Wendelstein. However, military aspects soon took a back seat in favour of basic research.
A complete scientific reorientation took place at the end of the 1980s, when solar observations had to be terminated due to increasing pollution of the Earth's atmosphere. Up until 2012, the scientists on the Wendelstein were working with an 80cm telescope. The observatory has been “upgraded” in recent years to remain competitive, provide a high level of education and perform supporting measurements for large-scale telescopes. Now the modern dome of the University Observatory sits astride the summit of the Wendelstein and its 2-metre reflector telescope is used to observe objects in the night sky. Scientists are searching for extrasolar planets and dark matter in international collaboration with other observatories. The Wendelstein has proved itself to be an exceptional observation site with the best ‘seeing’ conditions, that is to say good atmospheric image sharpness.
Guided tours of the observatory on the Wendelstein are offered every Friday from the beginning of June to the end of September, at 14.00 and 15.00. Registration at http://www.usm.uni-muenchen.de/wendelstein/htdocs/fuehrungen.html, at last two weeks prior to your preferred date, is essential! (Please note: Java Script must be enabled in your browser for the page to load. Confirmation of registration may take a few days).
Guided tours will only take place in reasonable weather, i.e. when the Summit Trail is accessible.
There is also an information showcase on the summit, which provides information about the work of astronomers on the Wendelstein. The observatory can be accessed along the Summit Trail.