Pope Francis Meets The Astronomers


Sounds like a title of a children’s book. But it’s the one sentence descriptor of his encounter with students and faculty from the Vatican Observatory’s School in Astrophysics, a summer school akin to mine here in Omaha. Different topic, is all. Conclusion of the Holy Father’s address:

I would also encourage you to share with people in your own countries the knowledge about the universe which you have acquired.  Only a fraction of the global population has access to such knowledge, which opens the heart and the mind to the great questions which human beings have always asked:  Where do we come from?  Where are we going?  Does this universe made up of hundreds of millions of galaxies have any meaning? … The search for an answer to these questions can lead us to an encounter with the Creator, the loving Father, for “in him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28).

May the almighty and merciful God, who “tells the number of the stars and calls each one by name” (Ps 147:4), fill all of you with his peace and grant you his blessing.

The image above, by the way, is from the Hubble Ultra-Deep Field, an image captured over several months in 2003-04. Basically, the Hubble Space Telescope is aimed at a dim portion of the sky, in between any stars to cut down on glare. What astronomers get is all galaxies. The HUDF image is about the size of a large crater on the moon. It contains about 10,000 galaxies. The image above is about one-twentieth of the original. Astronomers captured additional radiation from the infrared and ultraviolet in 2008 and 2012 to flesh out the scene a bit more. This image captured juvenile galaxies near the edge of the known universe: what happened thirteen-some billion years ago. None of those light specks is a star, by the way. Each one is made up of millions to billions of stars.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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