February 25, 2019

Jupiter’s dramatic storms. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Kevin M. Gill

Father Michael Dodds, O.P., asks whether science and faith are compatible.

NASA and SpaceX have announced that the first unmanned test of the Crew Dragon spaceraft is now scheduled for March 2nd.

Elsewhere in space, a privately funded Israeli robotic lander has been launched towards the Moon, and the Japanese probe Hayabusa 2 has retrieved a sample of an asteroid’s surface.

And the world’s largest bee has been found again in Indonesia.

February 11, 2019

Image: Greatly expanded polar cap on Uranus, as seen in newly released Hubble Space Telescope images of the solar system’s outer ice giant planets. [NASA, ESA, and A. Simon (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center), and M. Wong and A. Hsu (University of California, Berkeley)]

Father Thomas Joseph White, O.P., speaks on “When is religious belief irrational? On the harmony of faith and reason”.

Analysis of the latest images from New Horizons’ flyby of Ultima Thule reveal that it is flatter than previously supposed.

Dr. Edward Murphy of the University of Virginia lectures on “The origin of the elements”: ”In this lecture, we will trace the origin of a gold atom from the Big Bang to the present day, and beyond. You will learn how the elements were forged in the nuclear furnaces inside stars, and how, when they die, these massive stars spread the elements into space. You will learn about the origin of the building blocks of matter in the Big Bang, and we will speculate on the future of the atoms around us today.” (Lecture from 2012.)

And Sky & Telescope looks at the sky this week.

February 4, 2019

Image: The New Horizons spacecraft has released its newest image of the “Ultima Thule” object, deep in the solar system. “This image, taken during the historic Jan. 1 flyby of what’s informally known as Ultima Thule, is the clearest view yet of this remarkable, ancient object in the far reaches of the solar system – and the first small “KBO” ever explored by a spacecraft. … “This new image is starting to reveal differences in the geologic character of the two lobes of Ultima Thule, and is presenting us with new mysteries as well,” said Principal Investigator Alan Stern, of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado. “Over the next month there will be better color and better resolution images that we hope will help unravel the many mysteries of Ultima Thule.” (NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute)

Fr. Thomas Davenport, O.P., explores the Big Bang and the doctrine of Creation (Thomistic Institute audio lecture).

The Vatican Observatory Foundation’s 2019 calendars are available here.

Sky & Telescope offers a guide to this week’s sky, and to this month’s sky.

Finally, the newest information about the Society of Catholic Scientists conference.