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The historian of astronomy from the Cabinet of Astronomy and Physics Kassel on the future of astrology

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Astronomy, the oldest and most beautiful of all the sciences - interview with Dr Karsten Gaulke (Part 3)

When did you make the decision to become involved in the history of astronomy?

I have actually been interested in astronomy since my school days. Astronomy was in fact always a hobby for me, which you can use to withdraw from the world and experience the magic of the night sky. For some reason, however, I first studied history and political science, but it didn't make me happy - particularly the political science. I then became aware of a small specialist area called "History of Natural Sciences and Technology". There were just 20 students throughout all of the semesters and I decided to give up political science in favour of the history of astronomy. From today's perspective, of course, that was a wonderful decision. I ended up doing a doctorate in the history of astronomy on a topic from the early modern era: Johannes Kepler and the supernova he measured in 1604.

What discoveries do you actually expect from astronomy in the next 20 years?

I think we’ll find out a lot more about our own planetary system. There are already various missions that are first and foremost investigating the outer planetary system. Perhaps in the next 20 years humans will land on Mars. The investigation and detection of exoplanets, i.e. planets outside our own planetary system, will certainly advance. Perhaps we will find many more planets than we think that resemble our Earth.

Why is it so important for us humans to find other life in space?

Because it is a very scary feeling to be alone in this infinite universe. I am convinced that finding other life in space would also lead to societal changes on Earth. Such a change of perspective could, I hope, bring humankind a little closer together and make us reflect on the fact that we are all human beings after all, and that this fact truly unites us...

Previous article in the series:
Astronomy, the oldest and most beautiful of all the sciences - interview with Dr Karsten Gaulke (Part 2)

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Published on 08.02.2019

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