This column first ran in The Tablet in April 2015 At the edge of the world, the top of the world, is a window of our world into the rest of the universe: the telescopes of the European Southern Observatory (ESO) in Chile. Nearby are other large observatories at Cerro Tololo, Las Campanas, and the Alma radio array at Chajnantor. These telescopes have shown how the expansion of our universe is accelerating; they’ve explored hundreds of planets around other stars; they’ve traced the motions of stars orbiting a super-massive black hole at the center of our Milky Way galaxy. I am visiting [in 2015] here with a half-dozen patrons who support such telescopes (including the Vatican’s own telescope in Arizona). Along with our host, Dr. Fernando Cameron, our small group includes a businessman who sits on the boards of universities; a retired schoolteacher; a NASA engineer… eclectic in background, but joined by a fascination of the bigger universe, and the …Continue reading →
A group of Vatican Observatory Foundation friends accompanied by astronomer Br. Guy Consolmagno and Dr. Faith Vilas were hosted by the European Southern Observatory on a magnificent tour of observatories and telescopes in Chile. The 12-day tour visited La Silla, Las Campanas, Paranal, and ALMA with evening star gazing to view the incredibly clear skies and some of the brightest stars on earth. Never has the Milky Way been so amazing!