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Astronomy & the Vatican Observatory

Date: 04-30-08
Host: George Noory
Guests: Brother Guy Consolmagno, Randall Lockwood

Astronomer and Curator of Meteorites at the Vatican Observatory, Brother Guy Consolmagno gave an update on discoveries in space, and spoke about the intersection of science and religion. The Vatican has observatories at two sites, one in the small Italian town of Lazio (the Pope's summer residence) and the other on a mountaintop in southeastern Arizona. 24 years ago, in his research of "Centaurs"-- half comets/half asteroids, he observed an anomalous cloud of light next to a centaur beyond Neptune-- such clouds usually surround the object's nucleus rather than appear adjacent to it, he explained.

He cited evidence for the migration theory of planets-- suggesting that in the early days of our solar system, Uranus and Neptune moved further out while Jupiter swept closer in from their original positions. In his study of meteorites, he detailed one specimen that curiously had iron that appeared molten right next to rock that looked like it had never been hot.

Regarding, the "Wormwood" mentioned in the Book of Revelation, Consolmagno doesn't interpret the writing as being a prediction of something to come, but rather a folkloric way of giving strength to people who were facing persecution at the time. He also stated that the notion of a "Planet X" periodically coming into the inner solar system doesn't ring true to him.

Animal Attacks

First hour guest, Randall Lockwood, a senior vice president for the ASPCA, talked about the rise of animal attacks. We're seeing more attacks because humans are increasingly encroaching into wildlife areas, he said.

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Consolmagno Photos

Brother Guy Consolmagno is pictured holding a meteorite, at Castel Gandolfo, in a 2007 photo by Annette Schreye. To view a larger version and see additional images, click here.

Bumper Music

Bumper music from Wednesday April 30, 2008

  • Spooky
    Atlanta Rhythm Section

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