The Pope’s Astronomer visits The Arts Centre

1 May 2019

The Pope’s Astronomer, Brother Guy Consolmagno, visited The Arts Centre Te Matatiki Toi Ora last week to learn about the $10 million restoration of the Observatory Tower, take a site tour and share anecdotes with staff and supporters.

On Friday afternoon the American research astronomer, who is a leading scientist both inside and outside the Catholic Church, gave an engaging talk about his experience as the leader of the Vatican Observatory and the relevance of astronomy in a religious context.

He told the audience about his great interest in researching meteorites and how some of this research is helping Japan with its spacecraft that are currently probing asteroids.

Accompanying Brother Guy on his trip to Aotearoa was his “small” telescope, which he said he used to enjoy the southern hemisphere night sky and discovering new stars he had not seen before.

He also explained how he became a Jesuit Brother after a trip to Africa to complete volunteer work, and how he has made a vow to be celibate, in poverty, and obedient. He now spends half of his year in Arizona and the other half at the Vatican.

The Pope’s Astronomer – who is touring around Christchurch, Auckland, Hamilton and Wellington until 8 May – was awarded the American Astronomical Society’s Carl Sagan Medal for outstanding communication of planetary science to the public in 2015. He obtained his doctorate in planetary science at the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory.

The gifted speaker and well-known science writer is also a Jesuit religious brother, director of the Vatican Observatory and president of the Vatican Observatory Foundation. He also served as the curator of the Vatican’s meteorite collection.

For more information, please contact:
Jo Gilbert
Communications and engagement manager
The Arts Centre Te Matatiki Toi Ora
jo@artscentre.org.nz
027 609 7973
(03) 364 9725