Friday, 26 August 2011

Astronomy - a dream job

When I was around 12 to 15 years old I knew what I would like to do: become an astronomer, a stargazer.

That was largely before Hubble was launched giving us those gorgeous photos I coulnd't even dream of seeing. Nevertheless, there was open space, unlimited distance, the infinity, the idea of stars being light-years away from here.

Our little computer room. How do you like the desk top image on this 24" LED flat screen? On the wall are my flight simulator diplomas: my every-day-hobby.

Later it became obvious to me that my mathematical possibilities were next to a deflated tyre. In fact I dreaded the math classes in school, geometry, algebra, I was always a struggler, the rear guard and tried my best to be invisible to the teacher during those hours.

Professionally I had to do something else, no doubt about that. But the fascination remained. And there was something else about astronomy that would have made trouble. I don't like to stay awake at night. My daily adult life span ends at Midnight AT THE LATEST, to be continued happily next day.

Being obliged to stay awake during the small hours of next day, 1, 2, 3 o'clock in the morning: I hate that. As an astronomer I would have been compelled to become a Sun specialist, no doubt about that. But I am not that much interested in our Mother Star.

However, this love for astronomy brought me a lot of splendid hours. And it taught me a few important things and answered some questions:

- is there any sens in life, is there a destiny? No, there isn't. Look at those black holes, super novae and exploding and imploding stars, colliding galaxies. They come and go and we can do nothing about it.

- is there a superior being, a God, looking benevolently at you and me? No, there isn't, sorry for that. We are like the mice our cat is chasing day and night. If you have the right trajectory, you pass unscathed. If not..............

In about 2 billion years our galaxy the Milky Way will have a collision with the Andromeda Galaxy and in about 3 billion years they will have merged into a new, bigger one. Milky Way King Size. What does that mean to our Solar System and to our Earth? Nobody knows but all options are on the table.