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Harestua Norway

The Solar Observatory at Harestua is the largest astronomical facility in Northern Europe, situated just north of Oslo (Norway). The Observatory was built by the University of Oslo in the 50’s and was at the time amongst the world leading solar observatories. During the following decades, the Solar Observatory at Harestua justified it’s international importance with it’s high quality optical- and radioastronomy telescopes, and the untiring effort from researchers, technicians and students at Harestua.

The research activities at Harestua came to an end mid 80’s when the University of Oslo decided continue their solar research at the Swedish Solar Telescope at La Palma (Spain). Since then, the Solar Observatory at Harestua have served it’s purpose as a science centre and educational institute, where the largest group of visitors have for decades been Norwegian school children. The main teaching subject have from the beginning been astrophysics while other disciplines from the natural sciences, like geology, biology have been given more focus in the recent years.

Today, the Solar Observatory is owned and run by the Tycho Brahe Institute which have since 2008 further developed the educational activities at Harestua. Along side with the old, preserved astronomical, technical buildings, have Tycho Brahe Institute have plans for building one the largest planetariums in Northern Europe. When these plans have been realised, the Solar Observatory at Harstua will become of international recognition as a leading educational centre for astronomy, space physics and natural sciences.

We found the plans by Jean Lillensten for building the planeterella very interesting for the activities at the Solar Observatory, and decided to have our own version of the Planeterella build. Given that the father of the terella, Kristian Birkeland, was Norwegian, we are proud to having build the very first Planeterella in Norway. The costs of having our planeterella build was covered by Sparebankstiftelsen DNB to whom we are ever grateful for trusting this project and towards the Planeterella as an educational tool. 



Vegard Rekaa (Ph.D.), Astronomer 
Solar Observatory at Harestua, Norway

Institut de Planétologie et d'Astrophysique de Grenoble (IPAG)