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Vatican Observatory Foundation
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Scientists, Philanthropists, and the Catholic Church Promoting Scientific Research of the Heavens Through the Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope.
Scientists, Philanthropists, and the Catholic Church Promoting Scientific Research of the Heavens Through the Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope.

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This column first ran in The Tablet in September 2015 Eighty years ago, on September 29, 1935, Pope Pius XI dedicated new quarters and telescopes of the Vatican Observatory in his summer palace in Castel Gandolfo. To celebrate the anniversary,in September…

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We are particularly fond of the Milky Way because it is the home of the Sun and the (Earth as well as another 100 billion other stars and still more planets). The Milky Way forms the cornerstone against which we base our understanding of how other…

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I was delighted when fellow blogger, Chris Graney, floated the idea of the two of us doing a “blog and response” for The Catholic Astronomer. Given our common interest in matters of ecology and care for creation, this challenge seemed to be a perfect fit.…

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        The English language is lacking in positive affirmations glowing enough to encompass the significance of the Cassini Mission to Saturn. Side winding its way into my mind in the effort to find the right words came a memory of an old TV variety…

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A veritable riot of conjunctions is happening all week in the eastern predawn skies; Venus is VERY close to the star Regulus, and Mercury and Mars continue to be low in the sky before sunrise. These conjunctions can also be seen from the southern…

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I’m sorry to report that a terrific scientific and educational resource, the United States Historical Climatology Network (USHCN), is fading away.  A couple of years back the USHCN stopped updating its database—the last data available are from December…

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I have had Jon Larsen’s  In Search of Stardust on my stack of books to read because last spring the upper division research methods course I taught did an experiment to measure the heat capacities of meteorites, using the method developed by the Vatican…

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The Cassini mission to Saturn ranks right at the top of my list of favorite space missions; this morning, on NASA TV, I watched Cassini’s final moments as it plunged into the atmosphere of Saturn… and I had a good cry. It’s an odd juxtaposition of…

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This column first ran in The Tablet in September 2014 “Preparing for Discovery,” a two day symposium at the US Library of Congress to discuss the possible impact on society of finding life in space, was my destination [September 2014]. Discovering life…

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The emergence of the first stars in the universe must have been quite a spectacular sight. The standard lore is that the first stars were probably massive, bright, and short lived. As remarkable as these stars must have been, as well as the second…
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