astronomy

Brother Guy Consolmagno SJ, Director of the Vatican Observatory, has joined presenter Cathy Macdonald for an interview on BBC Radio Scotland on Sunday morning.Trying to identify the origin of the conflict between science and religion, Br Consolmagno explained the dichotomy started during the Victorian era, when they mistook the growth of technology with the growth of ethics. While we developed the idea that machines could reach heaven and provide everything without resorting anymore to God, the...
Portrait of Fr Stephen Perry SJ
The Jesuits and wider Catholic Church have a long history with astronomy. In October 1582, Pope Gregory XIII introduced the new Gregorian calendar to replace the Julian system which, by that time, had drifted by ten days. The new calendar also altered the lunar cycle used by the Church to calculate the date for Easter, restoring it to the time of the year as originally celebrated by the early Church. The Gregorian calendar was developed by the astronomer Aloysius Lilius and modified by the...
Total solar eclipse
As North America goes into a solar eclipse meltdown, gazing upwards at the heavens may prove to be a blessed relief from recent tensions and confrontations.  Ten years ago, NASA identified the small town of Hopkinsville as the ‘point of greatest eclipse’ during the first coast-to-coast eclipse in 100 years.  This rural Kentucky town will experience an unrivalled 2 minutes and 42 seconds of totality. Huge crowds of tourists, astronomers and religious groups are expected; hotel rooms...
On 17 September we celebrate the feast of a Jesuit theologian who was a key figure in the Counter-Reformation. St Robert Bellarmine is perhaps best known for his dealings with one Galileo Galilei, whom he warned off teaching the Copernican ideas that would later underpin astronomy. However, Vatican astronomer Br Guy Consolmagno SJ takes a closer look at the interaction between the theologian and the scientist and finds that there was more to the Galileo Affair than meets the eye. The...