Weekly Space Hangout: May 15, 2019 – Brother Guy J. Consolmagno, SJ – Director of the Vatican Observatory

Hosts:
Fraser Cain (universetoday.com / @fcain)
Dr. Kimberly Cartier (KimberlyCartier.org / @AstroKimCartier )
Dr. Morgan Rehnberg (MorganRehnberg.com / @MorganRehnberg & ChartYourWorld.org)
Dr. Paul M. Sutter (pmsutter.com / @PaulMattSutter)

Brother Guy J. Consolmagno, SJ is the Director of the Vatican Observatory and President of the Vatican Observatory Foundation. At the Vatican Observatory since 1993, Brother Consolmagno’s research explores connections between meteorites, asteroids, and the evolution of small solar system bodies, observing Kuiper Belt comets with the Vatican’s 1.8 meter telescope in Arizona, and applying his measure of meteorite physical properties to understanding asteroid origins and structure.

Brother Consolmagno obtained his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Planetary Science from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his PhD, also in Planetary Science, from the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory. After postdoctoral research and teaching at Harvard College Observatory and MIT, in 1983 he joined the US Peace Corps to serve in Kenya for two years, teaching astronomy and physics. After his return he took a position as Assistant Professor at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania.

In 1989 he entered the Society of Jesus, and in 1991 took vows as a brother. In 1993 Brother Consolmango was assigned as an astronomer to the Vatican Observatory where he also serves as curator of the Vatican Meteorite collection, a position he has held since then. In addition to his continuing professional work in planetary science, he has also studied philosophy and theology.

In addition to over 40 refereed scientific papers, he has co-authored several books on astronomy for the popular market, which have been translated into multiple languages. During 1996, he took part in the Antarctic Search for Meteorites, ANSMET, where he discovered a number of meteorites on the ice fields of Antarctica. An asteroid was named in his honor by the International Astronomical Union, IAU in 2000: 4597 Consolmagno.

On July 2, 2014, he was awarded the Carl Sagan Medal for outstanding communication by an active planetary scientist to the general public by the Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society.

Known as “The Pope’s Astronomer,” he was named by Pope Francis to be the Director of the Vatican Observatory in September 2015.

You can learn more about Brother Consolmagno by visiting his biography on the Vatican Observatory website: http://www.vaticanobservatory.va/content/specolavaticana/en/who-are-we-/staff/guy-j–consolmagno–s-j—1-.html

You can read Brother Consolmagno’s writings on the Vatican Observatory Blog here: https://www.vofoundation.org/blog/author/br-guy/

To learn more about the Vatican Observatory visit http://www.vaticanobservatory.va

You can learn about the Vatican Observatory Foundation, the fundraising arm of the Vatican Observatory, by visiting: https://www.vofoundation.org/

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