Jewish Journal


June 28, 2009

The Vatican’s worldly mission in the cosmos


Here’s a story I neglected to mention last week from The New York Times. It concerns the Vatican’s observatory in Arizona—I once met a priest/researcher from there—and it opens with what the Times’ reporter must have thought was a surprisingly worldly scene:

Fauré’s “Requiem” is playing in the background, followed by the Kronos Quartet. Every so often the music is interrupted by an electromechanical arpeggio — like a jazz riff on a clarinet — as the motors guiding the telescope spin up and down. A night of galaxy gazing is about to begin at the Vatican’s observatory on Mount Graham.

The headline for this story was “Vatican’s Celestial Eye, Seeking Not Angels but Data.” Yeah, I know that’s a bit ridiculous: No telescope is going to revealing angels traveling to and from heaven, and I don’t know anyone stupid enough to believe it might. But the story is worth reading.

An excerpt is after the jump:

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