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Why Science Inspires Me To Be A Better Priest. - The Catholic Astronomer
Since I began writing for The Catholic Astronomer, I have had to address many misconceptions about my relationship with the Vatican Observatory. Many times, people presume that I am a Vatican scientist - No I am not. Others presume that I am a professional scientist turned priest - Nope. Some presume that I have an advanced degree in cosmology or hold a university position - Wrong again. What I am is a diocesan priest, pastor, chaplain of a college ministry who visits the Dunn County Jail weekly for communion calls and has a grade school in which the mascot is a "Joey." Nothing like a baby kangaroo to accentuate the cute factor of a Catholic School.
Given my rather "typical" priesthood, people often ask me: Why are you so interested in faith and science if this isn't a central part of your priestly ministry? The light hearted answer I often give is that I have always cared about things that nobody else cares about. The truer answer is more direct and simple: The sciences inspire me to be a better priest.
religion  science  astronomy 
yesterday by rgl7194
Closest temperate world orbiting quiet star discovered • European Space Observatory
<p>A temperate Earth-sized planet has been discovered only 11 light-years from the Solar System by a team using ESO’s unique planet-hunting HARPS instrument. The new world has the designation Ross 128 b and is now the second-closest temperate planet to be detected after Proxima b. It is also the closest planet to be discovered orbiting an inactive red dwarf star, which may increase the likelihood that this planet could potentially sustain life. Ross 128 b will be a prime target for ESO’s Extremely Large Telescope, which will be able to search for biomarkers in the planet's atmosphere.

A team working with ESO’s High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS) at the La Silla Observatory in Chile has found that the red dwarf star Ross 128 is orbited by a low-mass exoplanet every 9.9 days. This Earth-sized world is expected to be temperate, with a surface temperature that may also be close to that of the Earth. Ross 128 is the “quietest” nearby star to host such a temperate exoplanet.

“This discovery is based on more than a decade of HARPS intensive monitoring together with state-of-the-art data reduction and analysis techniques. Only HARPS has demonstrated such a precision and it remains the best planet hunter of its kind, 15 years after it began operations,” explains Nicola Astudillo-Defru (Geneva Observatory – University of Geneva, Switzerland), who co-authored the discovery paper.</p>


Red dwarf stars are dead, surely? But this is close-ish, astronomically.
astronomy  star  life 
yesterday by charlesarthur
What Happens If China Makes First Contact?

Science fiction is sometimes described as a literature of the future, but historical allegory is one of its dominant modes. Isaac Asimov based his Foundation series on classical Rome, and Frank Herbert’s Dune borrows plot points from the past of the Bedouin Arabs. Liu is reluctant to make connections between his books and the real world, but he did tell me that his work is influenced by the history of Earth’s civilizations, “especially the encounters between more technologically advanced civilizations and the original settlers of a place.” One such encounter occurred during the 19th century, when the “Middle Kingdom” of China, around which all of Asia had once revolved, looked out to sea and saw the ships of Europe’s seafaring empires, whose ensuing invasion triggered a loss in status for China comparable to the fall of Rome.

Every so often, a Hans Zimmer bass note would sound, and the glass pane would fill up with the smooth, spaceship-white side of another train, whooshing by in the opposite direction at almost 200 miles an hour.

seti does share some traits with religion. It is motivated by deep human desires for connection and transcendence. It concerns itself with questions about human origins, about the raw creative power of nature, and about our future in this universe—and it does all this at a time when traditional religions have become unpersuasive to many.

China could rightly regard itself as the lone survivor of the great Bronze Age civilizations, a class that included the Babylonians, the Mycenaeans, and even the ancient Egyptians. Western poets came to regard the latter’s ruins as Ozymandian proof that nothing lasted. But China had lasted. Its emperors presided over the planet’s largest complex social organization. They commanded tribute payments from China’s neighbors, whose rulers sent envoys to Beijing to perform a baroque face-to-the-ground bowing ceremony for the emperors’ pleasure.
astronomy  seti  china  alien  chinese  project  state  scientist  scifi  technology  development  2017  future  human  discovery  history  Space  interview 
2 days ago by aries1988
Voyager - Mission Status
I could have sworn KUSC FM's Alan Chapman said that Voyager 1 was multiple light years away during his program on the morning of Monday, November 13, 2017. Ridiculous! But how far IS it? Turns out it's pretty easy to get a handle on that, and even for two different frames of reference: distance from the Earth, and distance from the Sun.
history  space  exploration  NASA  JPL  Voyager  astronomy 
2 days ago by JJLDickinson
Institute for Astronomy Special Events
THURSDAY: Astronomy Talk with Dr. Ken Chambers on "KILONOVA"
space  astronomy  from twitter
4 days ago by hawaii
Twitter
THURSDAY: Astronomy Talk with Dr. Ken Chambers on "KILONOVA"
space  astronomy  from twitter
4 days ago by hawaii
APOD: 2017 November 10 - Williamina Fleming's Triangular Wisp
Explanation: Chaotic in appearance, these tangled filaments of shocked, glowing gas are spread across planet Earth's sky toward the constellation of Cygnus as part of the Veil Nebula. The Veil Nebula itself is a large supernova remnant, an expanding cloud born of the death explosion of a massive star. Light from the original supernova explosion likely reached Earth over 5,000 years ago. Blasted out in the cataclysmic event, the interstellar shock waves plow through space sweeping up and exciting interstellar material. The glowing filaments are really more like long ripples in a sheet seen almost edge on, remarkably well separated into the glow of ionized hydrogen atoms shown in red and oxygen in blue hues. Also known as the Cygnus Loop, the Veil Nebula now spans nearly 3 degrees or about 6 times the diameter of the full Moon. While that translates to over 70 light-years at its estimated distance of 1,500 light-years, this field of view spans less than one third that distance. Often identified as Pickering's Triangle for a director of Harvard College Observatory, the complex of filaments is cataloged as NGC 6979. It is also known for its discoverer, astronomer Williamina Fleming, as Fleming's Triangular Wisp.
astronomy  photography  APOD 
4 days ago by rgl7194
APOD: 2017 November 9 - NGC 1055 Close up
Explanation: Big, beautiful spiral galaxy NGC 1055 is a dominant member of a small galaxy group a mere 60 million light-years away toward the aquatically intimidating constellation Cetus. Seen edge-on, the island universe spans over 100,000 light-years, a little larger than our own Milky Way. The colorful stars in this cosmic close-up of NGC 1055 are in the foreground, well within the Milky Way. But the telltale pinkish star forming regions are scattered through winding dust lanes along the distant galaxy's thin disk. With a smattering of even more distant background galaxies, the deep image also reveals a boxy halo that extends far above and below the central bluge and disk of NGC 1055. The halo itself is laced with faint, narrow structures, and could represent the mixed and spread out debris from a satellite galaxy disrupted by the larger spiral some 10 billion years ago.
astronomy  photography  APOD 
4 days ago by rgl7194
Research Notes of the AAS - IOPscience
Research Notes of the AAS is non-peer reviewed, indexed and secure record of works in progress, comments and clarifications, null results, or timely reports of observations in astronomy and astrophysics. Research Notes are currently free to publish and read.
science  publishing  astronomy 
6 days ago by euler

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