Out of this World – Wonders of the Solar System


Oberhausen Gasometer from 2nd April 2009 to 30th December 2010 – Project of the European Capital of Culture Ruhr.2010

For thousands of years, human beings have observed the 'vault of heaven' in order to learn how the movement of the stars is linked to their fate.

The exhibition 'Out of this World' takes its visitors off on a journey into the cosmos. It shows our solar system as a huge process of growth and decay. Spectacular reproductions of the planetary system, extraordinary images of the sun, of the planets and their moons, precious historical instruments and the most modern technology of space research graphically present to us the drama of the birth and development of our solar system - up to its end. The exhibition 'Out of this World' combines natural science, cultural history and artistic points of view. In the spirit of the ‘International Year of Astronomy 2009’, ‘Out of this World’ invites visitors to marvel, wonder and reflect – this exhibition offers us a cosmic experience inside the unique industrial cathedral that is the Oberhausen Gasometer.

The exhibition starts in the area below the former gas-pressure disc with a space-filling scene: - the sun and its planets hover there as if on a disc in a 68 metre-wide room. Large format images, obtained during the latest American and European space missions, show our solar system, its development and its wonderful multiformity.

On the gas-pressure disc, cult relicts, historical telescopes, measuring instruments, astronomical charts and old globes - and beside them the most modern instruments of space research are to be found. Here it becomes clear how findings concerning cosmic happenings always made progress when new observation technologies revolutionised the gaze into the depth of the macrocosm and the microcosm. On the basis of the exhibits, it is, moreover, shown how the ideas about the origins and the development of the solar system changed from the myths of primitive peoples up to our scientific age.

Finally, the arena provides a unique experience of space over which the roof extends at a height of 100 metres. As a gigantic sculpture here the largest moon on Earth, with a diameter of 25 metres, is shown. The installation passes through, with a soft background music, all of the phases of the moon from new moon to full moon. The romantic character of this moon experience supplements the scientific part of the exhibition in a moving way.

The exhibition ‘Out of This World – Wonders of the Solar System’ is jointly organised by DLR (German Aerospace Center) and Gasometer Oberhausen GmbH to mark the International Year of Astronomy 2009. It offers unique items on loan from important international space companies as well as museums of technology, cultural history and art.

Curators: Wolfgang Volz, Peter Pachnicke

Media partners: WDR 5, WAZ, NRZ

Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt
Zeiss-Planetarium Bochum