- Mar 1, 2021
As Perseverance, the latest probe on Mars, gears up to send to Earth high-definition images, video and audio of its surroundings, one papal astronomer said he hoped the fresh new discoveries will inspire future explorers.
A once-every-two-decade conjunction involving the solar system’s two gas giants will give earthbound observers a look at a so-called “Christmas Star” on the winter solstice.
Father Chris Corbally, a stellar astronomer at the Vatican Observatory, has had his name attached to a rocky body in the asteroid belt that orbits the sun in slightly less than four years.
Jesuit Father George V. Coyne, who led the Vatican Observatory as its director for 28 years, got his start in the field of astronomy as a young student in formation for the priesthood by secretly studying under his blanket, flashlight in hand.
When people ask why the Vatican has an observatory, one Jesuit priest says it’s because it cannot afford a particle accelerator.
Jesuit brother Guy Consolmagno, planetary scientist and director of the Vatican observatory since 2015, says that a new “space rush” is encouraging but also poses ethical challenges.