Category Archives: Astronomy

Sixty Trillion Miles

One of the more glorious sights in the universe: a pillar of dust sixty trillion miles high. If one of NASA’s Voyagers was launched from the base, it would take almost 200,000 years to hit the top. I make the … Continue reading

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Voyager 1 At The Boundaries

David Gibson at RNS writes: Voyager 1 has left the solar system. This is pretty awesome, in the true sense of that shopworn word. Has anyone parsed the theology of this moment? Is there one? I wish there were. Let … Continue reading

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Eclipse of the Sun, Martian Style

The Mars Curiosity rover caught the moon Phobos passing in front of the sun as seen from the surface of Mars. Some background here. Compared to the Earth, the sun appears smaller in the sky as seen from Mars. The Martian … Continue reading

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On My Bookshelf: Parting The Cosmic Veil

Kenneth Lang’s book blends astronomy, art, and history. It’s a unique volume to my experience, and mostly an enjoyable read. Professor Lang looks at five major topics, in five large chapters: Cosmic Vision, War, and Technology Brave New Worlds Motion, … Continue reading

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Fire Watch

Jerry Ryan posts on Thomas Merton’s essay “Fire Watch” at dotCommonweal. I read Robert Barron somewhere also praising this epilogue to The Sign of Jonas. For me, several years ago, revisiting this writing was less about content and more about … Continue reading

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On My Bookshelf: The Five Ages of the Universe

I recently reread one of my favorite science books of all time, The Five Ages of the Universe. It confirmed my regard for the writers, Fred Adams and Professor Gregory P Laughlin, and their exploration of the “physics of eternity.” … Continue reading

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To The Boundaries

Pope Francis visited the Vatican Observatory. A brief interview from Vatican Radio with Fr Father José Gabriel Funes: We greeted the Pope, then we took him to see some of the places we have here at Castel Gandalfo. The Pope … Continue reading

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Blue Planets

First, we knew astronauts spied the beautiful blue Earth from lunar orbit on Christmas Eve, 1968: Next we had Voyager II’s view of the sun’s planet number 8: Astronomers found that when the planet HD189733b passes behind its star, HD189733, … Continue reading

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A Few Space Things

Another Carnival of Space, the 303rd, is up. They linked my post on planets from last week. I’ve been keeping up with the Astronomy Picture of the Day. I hope you have that site bookmarked for a daily read. I’ve … Continue reading

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Transits and Other Close Encounters

Venus, Mercury, and Jupiter align low in the Western sky this weekend. If your skies and horizon are clear, you can check a solar system triangle that shifts evening to evening. This conjunction got me thinking … how close do … Continue reading

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Space Carnival 302

Steve Nerlich hosts Carnival number 302 (not 203) at his site, Cheap Astronomy. I’d like to get into the routine of more astronomy posts. Without repeating what other bloggers are doing. Jeez, the Catholic sites are all hitting the MR3 … Continue reading

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On My Bookshelf: Are We Being Watched?

I just finished Paul Murdin’s 2013 book, Are We Being Watched? The subtitle gives it away as a science book, not conspiracy theory: The Search for Life in the Cosmos. An astronomer pens a book that amasses planetary science, geology, … Continue reading

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Satellite Imagination: Pioneer’s Near Miss

In 1961, UCLA grad student Michael Minovitch (image here) figured out the gravity assist maneuver for space travel. The young mathematician, working for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), crunched some numbers. And the numbers showed that if a rocket was aimed … Continue reading

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Astro Ramadan

I see that Muslims in France have adopted an astronomical start to Ramadan, rather than believe their eyes on that first crescent moon in the western sky. Muslim scientists have been arguing for using astronomy to  determine Islamic dates for … Continue reading

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Carnival of Space 293

They threw my book review into the 293rd Carnival of Space. The first 290 are linked here. Most of them, anyway.

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