“It is also necessary—may God grant it!—that in providing others with books to read I myself should make progress, and that in trying to answer their questions I myself should find what I am seeking. Therefore at the command of God our Lord and with his help, I have undertaken not so much to discourse with authority on matters known to me as to know them better by discoursing devoutly of them.” -St. Augustine of Hippo, “The Trinity” I, 8
For readers who love to gaze heavenward, the moon and the red planet Mars will put on a show over the weekend.
“What then is time? If no one asks me, I know what it is. If I wish to explain it to him who asks, I do not know.” -St. Augustine of Hippo, Confessions, Chapter 11
At the turn of the last century, a little remembered but dramatic debate took place between prominent astronomers Harlow Shapely and Heber Curtis. The debate concerned essentially several key issues: the location of the sun in the Milky Way galaxy, the size of the universe, and whether spiral nebulae were other galaxies.
Four hundred years after the trial, the mere mention of the name “Galileo” is often considered a powerful one-word refutation against the Catholic Church. Why? Because, according to the popular telling of the “Galileo Affair,” it was Galileo who: 1) proved heliocentrism, despite a Church that officially declared heliocentrism to be a heresy; 2) was tortured and martyred by the Church, and; 3) discovered that Scripture—and by extension, the Catholic Church—was a fraud.
Fr. George Coyne, SJ, passed away on February 14, 2020. He was an astrophysicist, a priest, the former director of the Vatican Observatory, and a “remarkable man.” His life and contributions are celebrated in moving tributes from the Vatican Observatory website and many other outlets, including the New York Times.
Do faith and science operate in completely separate, non-overlapping realms? In the first of a series of articles for Thinking Faith, Vatican Astronomer, Guy Consolmagno SJ, explores how science works, how scientists work, and the place that faith has in science—simply because scientists are people.
The last week of January was a historic week for space news.
David H. Levy’s bio on the Vatican Observatory website declares that he is “one of the most successful comet discoverers in history.”
Appearing once again in the morning sky, Mars is visible just before sunrise from October to December. While this might be of interest to stargazers and early risers, Mars has also appeared in the news with startling regularity.