Maximilián Hell Regional Observatory and Planetarium, Rimavská Sobota

Krajská hvezdáreň a planetárium Maximiliána Hella (KHaP), Rimavská Sobota
Contact: Dr Pavol Rapavý Director
Tomašovská 63, 979 01 Rimavská Sobota, Slovakia
421 (0) 47 562 4709
421 (0) 47 562 4709
8am - 3.30pm on working days, on Mondays until 10pm (in summer until 11pm)

Popularising, educational and methodical activities of KHaP focus at all age categories and types of schools. The observatory annually organizes 200 events for ten thousand visitors. In addition to the wide range of popularisation and education programs (thematic classes for schools, competitions, lectures and lecture cycles, discussions, observations, films, video projections, environmental programs, practices, meetings, seminars etc.) it organizes also a fine arts advancement competition - Universe through the Eyes of Children and a quiz competition Universe is our World). There had been a tremendous public response to observation of a comet Hale-Bopp, the transit of Venus over the sun's disc and the great opposition of Mars. Methodical assistance is provided for group members and also outdoor observations upon request. Astronomical summer camps, practices, alternative schools and astronomical weekends for amateur astronomers and their families have been organized within the observatory premises. Specialized library, videotape collection and instrumentation are available for group members, fellow workers and members of Slovak Union of Amateur Astronomers. Working with foster home children, the disabled or retirement home people is carried out depending on their interest. Private phenomena photographs that had also been put on display for public viewing via an exhibition are made use of at popularisation and the Astronomical Photographs exhibition remains a touring exhibition still today. Outdoor observations for the public are carried out also during eclipses.

Promotional events are held on the Astronomy Day, which falls on Sunday nearest to the date of the spring equinox, and on the Children’s Day when the outdoor observations are held but also on other internationally declared events such as International Heliophysical Year. Since 1992, ‘astropark’ with small arboretum has been being self-built in KhaP premises. 2007 additions to planet models include two types of sundials, planets’ signs, notice board with passing 20th meridian, new benches, pathways and cactus garden. Through ‘astropark’ we are trying to develop a comprehensive harmonious relationship with nature and to satisfy the aesthetic feeling. With help of European Social Fund projects, which we have been submitting continuously for several years, we manage to maintain the park. Lecture hall with 60 seats is equipped with audiovisual and didactic technology with a possibility of using a large-scale projection and computer animation, including a virtual planetarium and other astronomical software.