Double Anniversary

Double Anniversary: 100 Years Astronomical Institute - 200 Years Uraniae

Friday, 2022/11/25 - Saturday, 2022/11/26

Observatorium Zimmerwald
© Universität Bern

In November 2022, the Astronomical Institute of the University of Bern (AIUB) celebrated the double anniversary: 200 years Uraniae and 100 years Astronomical Institute. In 1822, the first observatory, Uraniae, was built at the current location of the building of Exact Sciences (ExWi) at the Sidlerstrasse 5 in Bern, exactly where later on the origin of the Swiss National Survey was located. In 1922, the Observatory Muesmatt was built and officially inaugurated as the Astronomical Institute of the University of Bern (AIUB) on November 25, 1922. On Friday, November 25 and on Saturday, November 26, 2022, the double anniversary was celebrated with a ceremony, a scientific symposium, and exciting activities for the general public at the University of Bern. In addition, a commemorative publication (“Festschrift”) is available.

Event organizer: Astronomisches Institut
Speaker: verschiedene Rednerinnen und Redner
Date: 2022/11/25 - 2022/11/26
Time: 11:00 - 17:00
Locality: ExWi
Foyer und Hörsaal 099
Sidlerstrasse 5
3012 Bern
Characteristics: open to the public
free of charge
Wann Wo Festakt
11:00 - 12:00 Uhr
Room 099, ExWi

Welcome adresses and greetings will be presented by representatives of the

  • University of Bern (UniBe) Video
  • International Association of Geodesy (IAG) Video
  • Federal Office of Topography (swisstopo) Video
  • Federal Agency for Cartography and Geodesy (BKG) Video
  • Swiss Geodetic Commission (SGK) Video
  • Swiss Space Office (SSO) Video
  • European Space Agency (ESA) Video
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Video
12:00 - 13:00 Uhr
Lunch break
13:00 – 13:40 Uhr
Room 099, ExWi Prof. em. Dr. Gerhard Beutler / Prof. Dr. Adrian Jäggi (AIUB):

«Recent and current research at AIUB»


13:50 – 14:20 Uhr Room 099, ExWi Prof. Dr. Markus Rothacher (ETHZ):
«GNSS Earth System Monitoring»


14:30 – 15:00 Uhr Room 099, ExWi Prof. Dr. Oliver Montenbruck (DLR):
«The Art and Science of Precise Orbit Determination»


15:00 – 15:30 Uhr Coffee break
15:30 – 16:00 Uhr Room 099, ExWi Dr. Elmar Brockmann (swisstopo):
«Satellite Geodesy in Swiss Federal Surveying and related disciplines»


16:10 – 16:40 Uhr Room 099, ExWi Dr. Tim Flohrer (ESA):
«Space Debris – Why worry? What do we know? And how can we continue?»


16:50 – 17:30 Uhr Room 099, ExWi Prof. Dr. Claude Nicollier (EPFL):
«Sustainability on Earth and in near-Earth space»



Prof. em. Dr. Gerhard Beutler / Prof. Dr. Adrian Jäggi (AIUB): Recent and current research at AIUB

Fundamental astronomy, the research domain of the AIUB, deals with the definition and realization of reference systems in the sky and on Earth, and with the orbital and rotational motion of the Earth, other planets, our Moon and artificial Earth satellites. Prior to the advent of the space age "only" the direction from an "Earth-fixed" telescope to objects in the sky could be measured. With the launch of artificial Earth satellites distances and distance differences to such objects and between them are accessible to measurement, as well. Here we report on "recent" activities after about 1960 and on "current" research, which includes gravity field determination of a non-rigid Earth, of the Moon, and of other planets.

Prof. Dr. Oliver Montenbruck (DLR): The Art and Science of Precise Orbit Determination

Precise orbit determination is a fundamental pillar of numerous space missions that require utmost knowledge of a spacecraft’s position in space. This applies likewise for global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) supporting terrestrial navigation and space geodesy, as well as remote sensing missions in low Earth orbit (LEO). The presentation describes the state-of-the-art and key problems faced in the precise orbit determination of GNSS satellites and LEO science missions using GNSS signals. Significant contributions made in this field by the Astronomical Institute are highlighted, and future challenges are identified. 

Dr. Elmar Brockmann (swisstopo): Satellite Geodesy in Swiss Federal Surveying and related disciplines

The modern satellite geodesy completely changed the Federal Surveying in Switzerland since the 1990 years. Surveying is no longer limited to the national borders and the accuracies and speed of surveying is considerably improved. Today, surveying bases on an international collaboration and requires global data exchange of reference stations and derived global products. Since then a new reference frame for Switzerland was implemented and is made available to the users even in real-time.
The permanent networks are considered as the backbone of the geodetic infrastructure in Switzerland and proved to generate interesting results also in related disciplines, such as meteorology and tectonics.

Dr. Tim Flohrer (ESA): Space Debris – Why worry? What do we know? And how can we continue?

A total of 36,000 man-made objects larger than the size of a tennis ball are orbiting Earth, of which only about 15% are actively operated. At average impact velocities of 40,000 km/h that growing population of non-controlled objects poses a constant threat to our space infrastructure. Despite of internationally recognised space debris mitigation guidelines, technical standards, and national space regulations in place, the disposal of space systems from protected regions and the prevention of in-orbit break-ups still have a too low success rate.  The risk of more collisions in space will grow further as we observe accelerating launch rates and further break-ups creating more fragments in orbit. Today, space debris is already a major issue for the design and operation of spacecraft, and while societies are becoming ever more dependent on satellites – for mobile internet, personal navigation and autonomous driving – it comes with further economic risks.
This presentation will present a short history of space debris and detail today’s challenges. Special attention will be on the contributions from AIUB and the Zimmerwald Observatory during decades of highly successful collaboration with ESA. We will introduce ESA’s goal to proceed in driving space sustainability forward through a Zero Debris approach for ESA missions by 2030.  

Prof. Dr. Claude Nicollier (EPFL): Sustainability on Earth and in near-Earth space

This lecture will present the state of knowledge and current developments in the area of sustainability on Earth and in near-Earth space. It will address the issues of sustainability specifically related to the space environment, essentially because of the large amount of space debris in LEO, and of the very rapid increase in the number of satellites placed in the same region of space. The possible impact of asteroids or comet nuclei on the Earth surface will also be addressed because is clearly a sustainability issue. A significant effort is underway to insure early detection of a potential intruder, and various deflection techniques are envisioned if a probable impact on Earth is predicted. Alternatively, the estimated impact location on Earth will have to be determined early enough to organize evacuations in the area of concern.

Wann Wo Was (in German)
09:00 - 17:00 Uhr
Foyer and Room 099, ExWi

Aktivitäten für die ganze Familie

  • Himmelsbeobachtung mit verschiedenen Instrumenten auf der Einstein-Terrasse
  • Ausstellungen und Videos im Foyer-ExWi
  • Demonstrationen im ExWi
  • Führungen in der Sternwarte Muesmatt
  • Planetarium
  • Basteln von Sternkarten und Kometen
  • Suchen von Meteoriten
  • Satellitenfischen
  • Grosses Astro-Quiz
09:00 Uhr
10:00 – 10:15 Uhr Hörsaal 099, ExWi Andreas Verdun: Vom Pulverhäuschen zum Gebäude Exakte Wissenschaften
10:20 – 10:35 Uhr Hörsaal 099, ExWi Felix Frey: Die Dufourkarte als Schweizer Kulturerbe
10:40 – 10:55 Uhr Hörsaal 099, ExWi Felix Frey: Der Stich der Dufourkarte auf Kupfer
11:00 – 11:15 Uhr Hörsaal 099, ExWi Andreas Verdun: Die Sternwarte Muesmatt als Astronomisches Institut
11:15 – 11:30 Uhr Hörsaal 099, ExWi Matthias Haupt / Adrian Jäggi / Andreas Verdun: Buchvernissage im Hörsaal 099
11:30 – 12:00 Uhr Hörsaal 099, ExWi Apéro zur Buchvernissage vor dem Hörsaal 099
12:00 – 13:00 Uhr Mittagspause
13:00 – 13:15 Uhr Hörsaal 099, ExWi Andreas Verdun: Der Nullpunkt der Schweizerischen Landesvermessung
13:20 – 13:35 Uhr Hörsaal 099, ExWi Rolf Dach: GPS & Co.
13:40 – 13:55 Uhr Hörsaal 099, ExWi Daniel Willi: Anwendung von GNSS im Alltag
14:00 – 14:15 Uhr Hörsaal 099, ExWi Andreas Verdun: Das Observatorium Zimmerwald (Geschichte)
14:20 – 14:35 Uhr Hörsaal 099, ExWi Thomas Schildknecht: Das Observatorium Zimmerwald heute
14:40 – 14:55 Uhr
Hörsaal 099, ExWi Adrian Jäggi: Was man aus Satellitenbahnen lernen kann
15:00 – 15:15 Uhr Hörsaal 099, ExWi Daniel Arnold: Geodäsie der Planeten und Monde
15:20 – 15:35 Uhr
Hörsaal 099, ExWi Timm Riesen: Beobachtung des Sternenhimmels   
15:40 – 15:55 Uhr Hörsaal 099, ExWi Lucia Kleint: Space Weather – Eruptionen auf der Sonne
16:00 – 16:15 Uhr Hörsaal 099, ExWi Thomas Schildknecht: Suche nach Weltraumschrott
16:20 – 16:35 Uhr Hörsaal 099, ExWi Rolf Dach: GPS & Co. (Wiederholung)
16:40 – 16:55 Uhr Hörsaal 099, ExWi Adrian Jäggi: Was man aus Satellitenbahnen lernen kann  (Wiederholung)   
17:00 Uhr Ende des Anlasses im ExWi
11:15 Uhr Foyer, ExWi Buch-Vernissage zur Festschrift «Astronomie und Geodäsie in Bern»
17:00 - 19:00 Uhr
Sternwarte Muesmatt
Beobachtung des Nachthimmels
Satelliten, Planeten, Sternbilder
Nur bei gutem Wetter