"YOU CAN'T TEACH A PERSON ANYTHING, YOU CAN ONLY HELP THEM DISCOVER IT WITHIN THEMSELVES."
It was 21 July 1969. I (just seven months old) was about to go to sleep when my brother sat me down in front of the television in the evening.
My mother wanted to know why he was doing this.
He said, "So he's in!". And I was there.
It was the evening of a small step for one man and yet a giant leap for mankind when a certain Neil Armstrong became the first man to set foot on the moon. Thank you for that, brother heart!
My interest in astronomy started back in the mid '70s at the tender age of five. My grandpa explained the signs of the zodiac to me and some of it stayed with me. Amazing to think of all the things you did NOT listen to back then, but grandpa must have had a sense that this subject was to be with me all my life. Thank you grandpa! My observatory is named after you.
Over the years, I was fascinated by series like Captain Future, "Our Cosmos" with Carl Sagan, Star Trek, Space: 1999 and the like. I remember the first shuttle launch in 1981 very clearly. At that time, the liquid tank was still bright white. The crew of STS-1 were revered by me like heroes even then, alongside Juri Gagarin, Werner von Braun, Neil Armstrong and Captain James Tiberius Kirk. Well, I preferred Bones. And lately it's Captain Christopher Pike from Star Trek "Strange New World".
But of course there was no money, so for a long time it remained a dream to reach for the stars. For the time being...
In 2009, I was at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, USA - a childhood dream came true. Experiencing space travel live, countless shivers ran down my spine when I was at the place where history was made. I was there, I was really there! You could feel the past. Successes and disasters, and even a shuttle launch in the "Launch Experience", which is hard to beat in terms of realism.
When my daughter took a course as part of her summer holiday programme in 2010, in which a telescope was made out of a plastic tube (HT), I had no idea that through the newsletter she received, my contact with astronomy was now finally complete.
The course leader, Dr Christoph Claude, invited us to a public stargazing event in the city centre in October 2010, and as we had nothing else to do, we went. I saw Jupiter through his Dobson telescope with its moons Ganymede, Io, Europa and Calysto with my own eyes, and I was blown away! I was amazed at how good and cheap the optics became.
Just one week later, we had our first telescope. A Skywatcher Newtonian, 6″ f5. And quickly we invested heavily. But that is another story. Thank you, little darling!