In my previous entry I explained about the HUDF/XDF image, urging everybody to take a good look at it. Apart from the fact that it is always good to contemplate Beauty (and it this case there is both visual or intellectual beauty), I must confess that I had another had a hidden agenda. When I give talks to the general public, I try to illustrate the immensity of the Universe and of the “astronomical” numbers by showing a succession of images. First, I show the Sun and how enormous it is compared to the Earth. Then I point out that the Sun is of of the stars of our Milky Way Galaxy which comprises about 300 billion stars. The number is so large that I need to go back and show pictures of Omega Centauri, a globular cluster with a mere 10 million stars (30,000-times fewer than the Galaxy). Then I return to the Milky Way and illustrate what it generally looks like … Continue reading →
About Fr. Paul Gabor
Fr. Paul Gabor SJ was born in 1969 in Košice, Slovakia. He studied Particle Physics at Charles University Prague, Czech Republic (1988-1995). His work was primarily instrumental, participating in the development of the ATLAS detector for the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics in Geneva, Switzerland.
He entered the Society of Jesus in 1995, did his 2-year novitiate in Kolin, Czech Republic, then 2 years of Philosophy studies in Cracow, Poland. After this, he taught philosophy for a year in Olomouc, Czech Republic, and studied Theology in Paris, France. He was ordained to the priesthood in 2004. After ordination, he earned a PhD in astrophysics in 2009 in Paris, where he again opted for instrumentation, working with Alain Léger, the author of the proposed Darwin space observatory. Gabor's work under Alain Léger was carried out at the Institut d’Astrophysique Spatiale, University of Paris XI, focusing on two optical test beds, SYNAPSE and NULLTIMATE.
Fr. Gabor is interested in the tests of achromatic phase shifters, stabilization (through optical path dithering), wave front filtering (with single mode fibers), polarization and other issues regarding the implementation of nulling interferometry, techniques and instrumentation that can be used to discover planets orbiting other stars.
Fr. Gabor joined the Vatican Observatory in September 2010. He became its Vice Director in September 2012 and is in charge of its Research Group in Tucson.
My favorite astronomy picture is the Hubble Ultra Deep Field image (HUDF). NASA has released its ultimate version, called XDF, a couple of years ago. Whether it is the original version of the HUDF or the XDF version, I find both absolutely breathtaking. Let me explain a little bit to help you appreciate them. The field of view is tiny: if you wanted to cover the whole sky with a grid of similar images you would have to make 16 million of them! It would not be very practical because the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) had enough trouble taking this one picture. It took it about a month of accumulated gazing at one spot in the sky to obtain just one image. Not in a million years (literally) could the HST cover the whole sky with such images! What was the point in having one of the world’s most famous and most expensive scientific instruments dedicate so much of its time to a single spot in the sky? … Continue reading →