An initiative of leading German scientists wants to establish a German Astrophysics Centre (DZA) in Lausitz. To this end, they submitted a plan at the end of April to the ideas competition “Knowledge creates perspectives for the region!”, organised by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the Free State of Saxony. This centre would not only be good news for astrophysics, but also possibly create jobs and more cooperation in the region. Prof. Dr. Günther Hasinger, research director of ESA is leading this initiative, which is supported by the Max Planck Society, the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam, the Helmholtz Society, including DESY, and the Technical University of Dresden.
DZA wants to focus on the data flows of future large telescopes, such as the Square Kilometre Array and the Einstein Telescope. Furthermore, they want to become a technology centre for observatories. Finally, they want to investigate whether they can join the Einstein Telescope, and investigate the suitability of the subsurface in the region to house the instrument. Saxony could thus become a third possible location for the Einstein Telescope, alongside Sardinia and the Euregio Meuse-Rhine.
The first step was to submit the pre-proposal, which was done at the end of April. Within two months, the scientists will hear whether they have been selected to develop this proposal into a full proposal. In total, a maximum of six groups can submit a full proposal. From these six proposals, two will be selected in the spring of 2022 to be implemented.