The astronomer is the newest of those scenes from the dance of death, that are dated, namely from 1776.
The astronomer is busy contemplating the starry sky, and only his dog has noticed that Death has entered the room with a coffin: "look now — without glass — at this narrow box".
Kruspe's drawing shows how Death points towards the coffin in the left side of the painting. Götz and Kruspe disagree as to whether Death grabs the telescope or the astronomer's shoulder.
Der Tod zum Astronomen:
There are echoes of Lübeck's "new" text in Death's speech: »her mit mir zu jener langen Nacht« comes from Death to the duke: »Her, Herzog, her mit mir, zu jener langern Nacht!«; while »Beschau' ohn' Glas« is reminiscent of the words to the physician: »Beschaue […] nicht dein Krankenglas«; and the exhortation to let go off the "Grillen" (i.e. sily ideas): »Gieb deine Grillen auf« reflects the words to the hermit: »Laß […] den Schwarm der Grillen fliegen«.