Maria M. Winkelmann Kirch's husband Gottfried Kirch passed away on July 25th, 1710. He was 71 years old, which was a long time to live back then. When he passed, Maria was allowed to stay in the house that had been provided for the family. After he died, Maria asked the Royal Berlin Academy of Sciences if she could fill her husband's position as Royal Astronomer. Her argument was quite simple. Her husband had been sick for a while, so she had actually been doing the job herself for some time.