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Baader Planetarium

About Baader Planetarium

We first became acquainted with Baader Planetarium (pronounced "Bahder") over 20 years ago, as a result of our own interest in Zeiss astronomical equipment.  Baader Planetarium products go way beyond the Zeiss equipment they are so well known for distributing and producing.  Baader Planetarium has been innovating and producing a large array of equipment and astronomical accessories for the European market for decades.  In fact, Baader Planetarium was founded in Germany over 50 years ago, and the Baader family has been involved in producing astronomical instruments for over 100 years. For a more detailed summary of the history behind this company and its founders, please see the Baader Planetarium Historical Reference (below).

Baader Planetarium products really do bring a level of ingenuity, quality, and detail that is unique in this hobby.  Though it may sound cliché, the influence of German engineering and manufacturing is immediately obvious when you are able to see and use this equipment.  Everywhere you look you will find small details that not only add to the fit-n-finish of the parts, but increase the part function as well.  We encourage you to look over the product information we have put together, and these details will become apparent.

As you will find, Baader Planetarium has carefully designed their products to all function closely together to provide a true system that enables many unique visual, imaging, and scientific applications.  One result is the Baader Planetarium ASTRO T-2 System™.  Based on the T-2 thread standard (M42 x .75) this system also includes the necessary adapters to couple onto virtually all major telescopes. This system has been further expanded to larger thread sizes to enable larger fields for the increasing size of CCD and CMOS image detectors.  In addition to their system of adapters, spacers, and couplers, Baader Planetarium provides a number of unique optical components and world-class eyepieces that can expand the performance and usefulness of your telescope.   Like us, you will likely find that this equipment is so flexible and useful that you will uncover potential uses or configurations beyond what you originally intended.

As we tried many of these unique accessories, we began to realize the need for access to these products here in America.  In order to acquire this equipment, we had to learn of their use (most of the information was only in German) and deal with the headaches of importing directly from Germany.  Since 2002 Alpine Astronomical has offered the wide range of Baader Planetarium products to amateurs and dealers in North America.  Alpine Astronomical is a fully authorized Baader Planetarium distributor and warranty center, providing expert and official support for their products.  We invite you to tour the extensive line of Baader Planetarium products featured on this website.  Of course, feel free to contact us by phone or email for answers to any remaining questions

History of Baader Planetarium

Baader Planetarium is situated near Munich, Germany. The company was founded in Munich in 1966 and has produced over 15000 school type planetaria since then, as well as over 500 observatory domes of all sizes. In Germany, Baader Planetarium acts as importer for Astro Physics and SBIG instruments and services Carl Zeiss Amateur Telescope Products by contract with Carl Zeiss Jena.

The history of the name Baader in Astronomy, however, dates back to the year 1852, when Michael Baader opened an Optical Manufacturing Company in the middle of Munich, after having worked since 1838 in the optical glass works company of "Martin Woerle" and being married with Woerle's daughter. Woerle had gained deep knowledge in the production of optical glass and the secrets of production and testing of achromatic lenses under direct supervision of Josef von Fraunhofer, one of the founders of modern optics and inventor of the "German Mount".

More than 600 Achromatic Refractors up to 5" aperture had left the "Optische Fabrik M. Baader" in the time from 1852 to 1870. Baader Telescopes won prizes for excellent optics and mechanical workmanship at a number of International Industrial Fairs of that time from Berlin to Paris. Seven telescopes of Michael Baader are still to be seen at the present company as well as the prize awarding documents.

Claus Baader, the founder of the modern company Baader Planetarium, had designed a sophisticated orrery in the early sixties, which was patented in 1966. It was one of the first astronomical instruments of German origin to be tested in the magazine "Sky and Telescope". It was Owen Gingerich, then at the Smithsonian Institute, Harvard University, who concluded:

.."Ingeniously engineered and constructed in Germany, this unit is without doubt the most sophisticated tellurion ever made available on a mass-produced basis .....The Baader instrument's most novel contribution and most spectacular effect has been achieved by enclosing the tellurion within a semiopaque plastic shell representing the celestial sphere. The motorized solar machine is readily viewed through the near side of the plastic shell; but the near and far sides combined appear virtually opaque, thus giving the remarkable effect of a darkened hemispherical canopy of stars regardless of the direction from which the mechanism is examined."

Throughout these 43 years, countless students in all the world have had their first encounters in "heavenly mechanics" with the aid of the "Baader Planetarium".

In 1995, after the passing of our founder, the "AG" (German Society of Professional Astronomers) assigned Minor Planet 5658/1950DO the name "clausbaader", in honoring his lifelong work and achievements for astronomical education.

Over the years, the fine mechanical skills required for the elaborate gear systems in various sizes of Baader Planetarium Instruments (the largest being 1,3 Meter in diameter, with all nine planets and moons in their correct, geared orbits) have led to producing a whole family of astronomical accessories to increase the capabilities of many astronomical telescopes.

Besides this, another branch inside the company already had produced huge numbers of projection domes for the Baader school type planetarium, which, 35 years ago, eventually led to producing astronomical domes as well.

Today, some of these domes serve as remote controlled robotic observatories under world’s most adverse climactic conditions. One of our domes is situated at 2965 Meter (~ 10000 feet) above sea level, right at the very top of the "Zugspitze"- Germany's highest mountain. Another one serves at Europe's highest observatory at 3700 Meter above sea level at the "Jungfraujoch" in Switzerland, just beside the famous "Eiger-Northface". Both locations endure wind loads of measured 300 km/h (185 miles/h).

Whatever your requirements are in this wide field of Astronomy, we try hard to make your task a little easier and we give greatest care to our products, to have them made - not as cheap, but as good and affordable as ever possible.

You surely know about our patented "Baader AstroSolar Safety Film" - it is a good example of what we are constantly trying to achieve.

Try us - and be thanked for your trust.

Thomas Baader

Baader Planetarium GmbH

Mammendorf/Munich Germany