The Hans Haffner Observatory is operated by the "Naturwissenschafliches Labor für Schüler am Friedrich-Koenig-Gymnasium e.V" (Association of the Natural Science Laboratory for Pupils at "Friedrich-Koenig-Gymnasium") in cooperation with the Chair of Astronomy at the University of Wuerzburg.
Thus, the observatory is used not only by pupils but also by students of the University of Würzburg for lectures, seminars and astronomical practical courses.
In addition to visual observations and astrophotography, the Hans Haffner Observatory also conducts scientific research, involving both pupils and students.
In the research project "Brightness fluctuations of active galaxy nuclei" the fruitful cooperation between school and research is particularly evident. Here, pupils in the school laboratory and students of astronomy regularly measure the brightness of the centers of selected galaxies together with specialist scientists. These measurements complement the research work of the working group headed by Prof. Dr. Mannheim, which uses the MAGIC telescope system on La Palma to investigate the same objects in the gamma-ray range.
The observatory was built in 2008 and 2009 by students, parents and teachers of the "Friedrich-Koenig-Gymnsium" themselves (see construction diary). They were actively supported by numerous companies and businesses of the region as well as by the municipality of Hettstadt.
A unique feature of this observatory is the dome. It was designed and built by the students of the Koenig & Bauer AG factory vocational school together with their teachers and instructors.
At the end of the International Year of Astronomy 2009, the observatory was inaugurated on December 18th, 2009. The main instrument of the Hans Haffner Observatory is a 50-centimeter Planwave astrograph on a 10-micron GM4000 mount, which had its first light on March 21st , 2012. This was also possible thanks to the support of the company Baader-Planetarium.
On February 22nd , 2016, the succesful cooperation between the Natural Science Laboratory for Pupils at the FKG e.V. and the University of Würzburg was permanently institutionalized by the conclusion of a cooperation agreement. Since then, the Hans Haffner Observatory has officially been a school and university observatory.
From autumn 2015, the Hans Haffner Observatory was extended by an additional and a 3 meters large radio telescope, which was inaugurated on October 4th, 2017. The construction was made possible by the Klett Foundation, the radio telescope was purchased by the Wilhelm and Else Heraeus Foundation.