Category Archives: Astronomy

Astronomy Conference

This looks interesting. The Vatican Observatory Foundation is offering a five-day conference in Tucson next January: What can modern astronomy tell us about creation – and its Creator? Guy Consolmagno, SJ, on it: Our hope is that this can become … Continue reading

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Things That Happened Fast

1. The expansion of the early universe. 2. Newark priest banished to the lay state. The earlier event pumps some life into the cosmology branch of astronomy. Exoplanets were getting a lot of attention. But scientists win the Nobel Prize … Continue reading

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Cosmos, The Next Generation

I’ve been noticing the advance media (like here) on the Cosmos reboot one-third of a century after Carl Sagan popularized astronomy for the tv masses. It’s a good idea. Neil deGrasse Tyson is the right choice to front the show. … Continue reading

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Small Planets

These are small planets, relatively speaking. 715 confirmed. A bounty larger than any single discovery in space. I don’t think a passel of comets or asteroids this large has ever been announced. These planets are smaller than Neptune and bigger … Continue reading

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Just a Little Hot Weather

The latest story of astronomy curiosity is the mapping of clouds on the nearest brown dwarf, Luhman 16B, only 40 trillion miles away*. Universe Today has an in-depth feature. The weather report of 1700-degree winds and iron rain is considered … Continue reading

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Deep Life

If my Catholic friends and foils think I’m an outlier for asking difficult questions and goring sacred cows like Gregorian propers, you should also know I take the same approach to the discussion of life beyond Earth. I don’t think … Continue reading

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Crescent2

Driving home tonight from the parish, the crescent moon hung in the southwestern sky. Venus below. Nice photo at UT showing both the moon and the much smaller crescent Venus. By the time of this writing, you might think about … Continue reading

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On My Bookshelf: Five Billion Years of Solitude

Lee Billings has written a very worthy first book, one of the best science volumes I have ever read. This young science journalist manages to describe the search for life in the universe with intelligence–but unburdened by technical details. One … Continue reading

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An Infusion of the Holy into Holiday Music

On the drive to Thanksgiving dinner yesterday, we tuned in to two of central Iowa’s “Christmas stations.” I told my wife about my plan to count mentions of Jesus in holidays music. I think she’s amused by little projects like … Continue reading

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Sun Blasts Comet

Comet ISON won’t be spraying pre-dawn skies as was hoped. Passing within a million miles of the sun was too much; BBC reported the 6,000-ft wide body was “largely destroyed.”  

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On My Bookshelf: The Milky Way

William Waller’s book is subtitled “An Insider’s Guide.” One might think that from inside a galaxy we know quite a bit about our own. And we do. Much of it has come in the fairly recent past. But inside doesn’t … Continue reading

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CRS Typhoon Haiyan Relief

Our archbishop urged parishes to promote this. I’m sure most of you know about it, but just in case not, assist Catholic Relief Services in their work in the Philippines. ISS & NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg captured this image of … Continue reading

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Clavius, Jesuit on the Moon

Jesuits have lent their names to thirty-some craters on the moon. The largest of these is Clavius, named for the 16th century astronomer Christoph Klau (Latinized to Clavius). Clavius is fairly prominent in the lunar southern hemisphere, and at 135 … Continue reading

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Seven-Planet System

Ever hear of the star KIC 11442793? Me either. It’s over 14 quadrillion miles away–a good bet that none of us have ever been there. It now hold the current record of seven planets in orbit. That we know of. … Continue reading

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The Allure of a Universe

The BBC site is a near-daily visit for me. But fascinating is the consistent popularity of astronomy news. These news items frequently appear on the BBC’s sidebar, “Most Popular In News.” Today it was a distant newly-discovered galaxy churning out … Continue reading

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