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Astronomy & the Vatican Observatory

A remarkable discovery has emerged in astrophysics: key properties of the universe have just the right values to make life possible. Most scientists prefer to explain away this uniqueness, insisting that a number of unseen universes must therefore exist, each randomly different. Astrophysicist Bernard Haisch joined George Knapp in the first half of the show to propose the alternative—that the special properties of our universe reflect an underlying intelligent consciousness.

In the second half of the program, veteran journalist Chris Taylor talked about how the Star Wars franchise has conquered our culture with a sense of lightness and exuberance, while remaining serious enough to influence politics, and spread a spirituality that appeals to religious groups and atheists alike.

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Astronomy & the Vatican Observatory

Show Archive
Date: Wednesday - April 30, 2008
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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