The Sobotište Observatory
In 1971, the construction of an astronomical observatory was initiated in elementary school in Sobotište. The architect Gabriel Gála began designing it. The construction was funded by the municipal national committee in Senica in the amount of 65 thousand Czechoslovak crowns.
The main author behind the idea of constructing an observatory was the director of the elementary school Ladislav Košinár. His idea came true thanks to voluntary work of the parents, pupils, Mr. Hollý and many other enthusiasts. After a year's work, the observatory was ready and started to serve its purpose on 1 September 1972. Originally, the observatory was established for educational purposes and to spark interest in astronomy. It fulfils this task to this day – by helping others to find the path towards this beautiful scientific discipline.
The observatory consists of one room, which serves also as a lecture and presentation room. The building's prominent feature is the traditional dome, housing the first telescope of Sobotište – MDN 120. The observatory currently holds multiple telescopes and other astronomical equipment used for the observation of the Moon, constellations and planetary eclipses. Locals and parents of the pupils helped with the construction. It should be noted that the observatory in Sobotište was built with the indispensable help of volunteers. Today, it would have been certainly harder.
The observatory is operated by the local organisation of the Slovak association of amateur astronomers. It is located near the Sobotište manor house and it is the only observatory in a 60 km radius. Its members focus on the observation of meteor showers, planetary eclipses, stellar eclipses by the Moon, variable stars and, last but not least, the astrophotography.
The Observatory in Sobotište is the only amateur observatory in Slovakia to observe the weather through a weather station and publish the measured data. For the general public, it offers regular evening observations of the starry sky using astronomical telescopes, of course, with expert commentary. In addition, it organizes various events for schools.
Pupils come here mainly in autumn and spring. Winter is not an ideal time as the observatory is not heated in this season and it is impossible to sit here. In summer, children from the nearby summer camps come for a visit. The observatory is also open to the public each Saturday. The visit shall be arranged in advance via telephone or e-mail.