Sensation reigns supreme within its own domain, but its domain is not the whole of what is knowable. But Seagrave apparently thinks it is. He appears to attribute to the bare sense of sight the capacity to judge the most abstract propositions—for example, whether natural selection is capable of crafting organs as intricate as a human eye. Now, the human eye is certainly a remarkable organ, but it is an organ of sense, not of judgment. Judging truth and falsehood is the prerogative of reason, not of any bodily organ.
Robert Royal and the staff over at The Catholic Thing are celebrating the site’s five-year anniversary with the publication of a book of selected essays from The Catholic Thing‘s first five years. My recent essay “One God: No More, No Less” is among those included, along with a number of excellent selections from TCT‘s writers. A reception will be held on Wednesday, June 19th at the Catholic Information Center, in Washington, D.C., to mark the occasion. I plan to be there, and any TCT readers in the area are invited to attend as well. Here is more information from Robert Royal.
China has launched its fifth manned mission to space, with mission Shenzhou 10 reaching orbit after launch from Inner Mongolia. The capsule carrying three astronauts will reach China’s demonstration space station Tiangong 1, where they are scheduled to stay for two weeks, testing technology, equipment, and procedures in preparation for China’s future long-term space station, planned for construction around 2020.
Stars and their solar systems form via the agglomeration of dust particles in vast disks of dust and gas. The puzzle with respect to this process is that although small particles are known to tend to clump together, once they get larger, rocky clumps in space tend rather to fly apart. In the vast crowded disk of a young solar system, where collisions frequently threaten to demolish growing objects, how do planets form? How do some disks of dust and gas manage to support the growth of large objects, rather than simply remain pulverized rubble fields?
A new image fromradio telescope has provided a new piece of evidence to consider. Astronomers have proposed that the process of planet formation must involve “vortices” or “eddies” of particularly high particle density in disks, most likely created by the passage of other nearby stars or substellar gas giants. Like a boat on water, the object’s gravity will produce a “wake” of disturbed regions that have higher-than-usual particle density, allowing larger clumps to form.
Previous studies have shown a gap in the disk surrounding the star Oph IRS 48, which lies about 390 light years away from Earth. This gap is a sign of the presence of an orbiting large gas planet or a companion star, about ten times the mass of Jupiter. Now, a new image from ALMA reveals that one portion of the disk holds an arc-like region of higher dust and gas density, most likely caused by the effects of the secondary star/gas giant, just as planetary formation models predict.
The astronomers note that in the case of Oph IRS 48, this dust region lies much farther from the star than do the planets in our own solar system, but they suggest that the same effect likely occurred here on a smaller, closer-in scale.
Images: NRAO/ALMA/Nienke van der Marel
De profundis clamavi ad te, Domine;
Domine, exaudi vocem meam. Fiant aures tuæ intendentes
in vocem deprecationis meæ.
Si iniquitates observaveris, Domine, Domine, quis sustinebit?
Quia apud te propitiatio est; et propter legem tuam sustinui te, Domine.
Sustinuit anima mea in verbo ejus:
Speravit anima mea in Domino.
A custodia matutina usque ad noctem, speret Israël in Domino.
Quia apud Dominum misericordia, et copiosa apud eum redemptio.
Et ipse redimet Israël ex omnibus iniquitatibus ejus.
Prayers are requested for the unexpected death of my uncle yesterday. My uncle was an admirer of the art of Salvador Dali, so this is for him. Please remember him and his family in your prayers.
Image: Christ of Saint John of the Cross, Salvador Dali (1951)
Our Solar System’s Milky Way neighborhood just went upscale. We reside between two major spiral arms of our home galaxy, in a structure called the Local Arm. New research using the ultra-sharp radio vision of the National Science Foundation’sindicates that the Local Arm, previously thought to be only a small spur, instead is much more like the adjacent major arms, and is likely a significant branch of one of them.
“Our new evidence suggests that the Local Arm should appear as a prominent feature of the Milky Way,” said Alberto Sanna, of the Max-Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy. Sanna and his colleagues presented their findings to the American Astronomical Society’s meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Image: New view of the local galactic arm’s place in the Milky Way. Robert Hurt, IPAC; Bill Saxton, NRAO/AUI/NSF. See the story for a high resolution version.
Video: ISS Expedition 35 returning to Earth in a Soyuz capsule earlier this week (NASA).