© Jens Hackmann

Closer to the stars

Amateur and professional astronomers explore the night sky at the Weikersheim observatory. A new telescope gives them a clear view – with three fans from ebm-papst.

When Rainer Zierlein, director of the Weikersheim observatory, is asked what is so fascinating about looking at the sky in these days of multimedia, he draws a simple comparison: “When you look at pictures or go to a planetarium, that’s like listening to a recorded concert at home. When you go to the observatory, you experience the concert live.”

The club he chairs, Astronomische Vereinigung Weikersheim e.V., runs the observatory that makes this experience accessible to its members and the public. Once a month, interested people can drop by without an appointment and look at the stars there. Groups and school classes of all ages can tour the heavens by appointment.

Time for a new telescope

Many of the visitors look directly into the sky, but there are a few passionate astrophotographers among the club members. Some of them spend entire nights photographing special astronomical objects and events, combining multiple exposures to create impressive pictures. For all stargazers, the quality of the telescopes they use is key to the quality of the experiences they have.

Since the previous telescope was increasingly unable to meet expectations, the observatory began to look for a replacement. “A tip brought an EU funding program to our attention,” says Zierlein. “That enabled us to get a much higher-quality telescope than would have otherwise been possible with our club’s budget.”

“We sell our telescopes worldwide, including places such as Tibet, Kazakhstan or the Australian Outback.”

Wolfram Felber, General manager Alluna Optics

They decided on a reflecting telescope from Alluna Optics. The company relies on a network of experienced specialists who build custom telescopes for a wide range of uses. General manager Wolfram Felber says, “Expertise plays an extremely important role in our field. We have a dedicated expert for every part, from the basic design to the optics and the mirrors.”

Three fans from ebm-papst are also crucial to a clear view of the night sky. They are mounted directly behind the telescope’s main mirror, where they cool the mirror down to the ambient temperature before the telescope is put to use. In addition, their continuous air flow during use prevents distortions in the air when heat rises from the mirror.

Improved viewing thanks to compact fans

Wolfram Felber’s decision in favor of ebm-papst fans was mainly due to their quality and long service life. “We sell our telescopes worldwide, including places such as Tibet, Kazakhstan or the Australian Outback. Reliability is extremely important there, because customers don’t want to wait two weeks for a replacement filter.”

Star potential due to the new telescope: the Weikersheim observatory (Photo | Jens Hackmann)

In addition to ruggedness, high performance in a small package is another advantage of the ebm-papst products. Felber says, “There isn’t much room in a telescope since there are other components that need to be accommodated. But the compact fans still manage to cool the mirror down quickly even on hot days.”

Rainer Zierlein is very satisfied with the telescope, saying “Both our visitors and our astrophotographers have a clearer view of the sky.” When he discovered the ebm-papst fans in the telescope, he was especially pleased: In his day job, the observatory director is a department head at ebm-papst in Mulfingen.

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