More than just looking up at the sky

More than just looking up at the sky

Admiring the sky and its stars is something everyone can do. But to really discover something in the vast expanses of the universe, you need the right equipment. The archabbey St. Ottilien.

Interviewer: On Archabbey St. Ottilien not only includes a high school where you teach, but also an observatory that you oversee.

Brother Josef Gotz (math and physics teacher at the Rhabanus-Maurus-Gymnasium in St. Ottilien): We have the wonderful Heinz Reinhardt Observatory here, which is used primarily by the school. It’s a great way to get people excited about physics and astronomy, the oldest natural sciences.

Interviewer: Do astronomy and theology not contradict each other for you?

Goetz: Astronomy and theology do not contradict each other. These are two sides of the same coin. Creation is described by physics, biology and many other disciplines, but also by theology. The fascinating thing is the whole thing, to describe it with Galileo Galilei: Heaven is described by physics, and how I get to heaven is described by theology.

Interviewer: Well said, let’s now follow in the footsteps of the old astronomers and dare to take a look into the depths of the universe. What can you observe?

Goetz: We will be on Friday at 22.45 o’clock offer an observation evening, which everyone can follow online. We will look at deep sky objects, i.e. deep distant objects. Each object will be presented for about ten minutes by a group of students and former students, and we will look at globular clusters. The evening also offers a chance to look at Jupiter and its moons, as well as Saturn.

So we will observe near and distant objects as best we can and finish the evening with astrophotography. To do this, we will take photos for ten, 30 seconds, three and five minutes, recognizing that the longer you expose, the more you see. Digital photography has become so good that it basically allows another deeper look into the universe.

Interviewer: If I want to participate in the observation, how can I register?

Goetz: Everyone can participate without registration in the live stream at 22:45. A group will be with me at the observatory to control the computers. We made this possible for many of our friends during the Corona crisis. Traditionally, 60 to 100 observers participate in the live stream observing evening.

Interviewer: This is certainly a great opportunity, because you can see more than if you look through a lens yourself.

Goetz: It has great advantages, I must say, because you can simply follow the explanations on the screen in peace and quiet. Only ten people fit in the dome. If we do it on site without a live stream, there are always 10.000 to 20.000 waiting to enter in turn. Internet also has great advantages here.

The interview was conducted by Hilde Regeniter.

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