Our meeting had a special character in several respects. It took place on the occasion of a historical event, and we have therefore taken the liberty of including the inauguration speeches and also of not presenting everything in English. In holding the meeting we also intended to offer a forum for the results of the recent satellite mission Hipparcos. These two strands of motivation for the meeting are connected through a traditional branch of astronomy - astrometry - which flourished around the year 1800 and has now received fresh impetus from the first precise satellite measurements of large celestial angles. Here, we have attemped to demonstrate the continuity between the past, present and future of our science. Analogously, it is our wish that the town of Gotha, as well as being the site of a once blossoming centre of astrometry, should now soon become a focus of active research into the history of astronomy.

The editors

Bibliographical details:

Foreword. In: Peter Brosche, Wolfgang R. Dick, Oliver Schwarz, Roland Wielen (Eds.): The Message of the Angles - Astrometry from 1798 to 1998. Proceedings of the International Spring Meeting of the Astronomische Gesellschaft, Gotha, May 11-15, 1998. (Acta Historica Astronomiae ; 3). Thun ; Frankfurt am Main : Deutsch, 1998, p. 10.