Thursday, September 24, 2009

Jesuit Vatican Astronomer Explains Why Science and Religion are a Match Made in Heaven

Jesuit Brother Guy Consolmagno was interviewed by Canadian magazine The Walrus about his work at the Vatican Observatory Research Group, the second research center of the Vatican Observatory based in Tucson, Ariz. Read an excerpt below:  
 Installed on the second floor of a small building on the summit of Arizona’s Mount Graham, Guy Consolmagno is multi-tasking. He’s checking email on his laptop and listening to the Penguin Cafe Orchestra on his iPod, all the while keeping an eye on a bank of computer monitors. One floor up, nestled in a silvery-white dome, a telescope is trained on a potato-shaped chunk of rock and ice known as Haumea, which orbits the sun some six billion kilometres from Earth. Thin clouds have been drifting overhead since sundown, but if they dissipate, the telescope’s digital camera will record changes in Haumea’s brightness as it tumbles through the outer reaches of the solar system, offering Consolmagno and fellow astronomers hints about the structure and evolution of our planetary family.
All this is typical fare for a scientist. What is perhaps surprising is that Consolmagno is also a Jesuit brother, that many of his colleagues are ordained priests, and that they’re scanning the heavens with the Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope or, more affectionately, the “Pope scope.”
For more about Jesuit Brother Consolmagno's worked with the Vatican Observatory, go here.

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