“The Webb space telescope takes snapshots of the sublime” (FT headline)

Indeed, God’s creation, the very definition of sublime!

The excitement and joy over the recent discoveries, as expressed by Bro. Guy Consolmagno is contagious! You don’t have to be an astronomer to be awed and excited by these photos!


From Bro. Guy Consolmagno, SJ, Director, Specola Vaticana:

We’re really excited by the new images from the Webb telescope!

The images are gorgeous, as anyone can see for themselves. It’s a tantalizing glimpse of what we’ll be able to learn about the universe with this telescope in the future. Such images are a necessary food for the human spirit— we do not live by bread alone — especially in these times.

(Other images can be seen here:

There’s also a personal side to how delighted I am with this success. Astronomy is a small field, we astronomers all tend to know one another. Many of the scientists who built the instruments and planned the observations are personal friends of mine. I know how long and how hard they and their colleagues have worked to make this incredible machine work. It is a tribute to the power of the human spirit, what we can do when we work together.

The science behind this telescope is our attempt to use our God-given intelligence to understand the logic of the universe. The universe wouldn’t work if it weren’t logical. But as these images show, the universe is not only logical, it is also beautiful. This is God’s creation being revealed to us, and in it we can see both His astonishing power and his love of beauty.

And at the same time I am amazed and grateful that God has given us humans, His creation, the ability to see and understand what He has done. “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor.” (Psalm 8)

I was especially delighted to see Webb’s first spectrum of water vapor in the atmosphere of an exo-planet. It was about 150 years ago when Father Angelo Secchi SJ put a prism in front of his telescope lens on the roof of the St. Ignatius Church in Rome, and made the first spectral measurements of the atmospheres of the planets in our own solar system. I can only imagine how delighted he would be to see the science he pioneered applied to planets unknown to him orbiting distant stars. —

Br Guy Consolmagno, SJ

Director, Specola Vaticana

NASA’s Webb Telescope Is Now Fully Ready for Science – James Webb Space Telescope



Pope Francis this morning met with 5 NASA astronauts of the ISS – the International Space Station – and enjoyed a lively exchange with them, speaking with and through Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli, who also gave the Pope his very own space suit, albeit with a papal white cape. The Pope had spoken wth the astronauts, via an uplink from the Vatican, in space last October 26.

Joining Nespoli were 3 American astronauts – Joseph Acaba, Randy Bresnik and Mark Vande Hei – and Russian member of the team, Sergey Ryazanskiy.

Here’s the first hand story from the terrace of EWTN’s Rome office where the men were scheduled to meet briefly with a few members of the press this afternoon before continuing their travels.


We all had a chance to speak to them individually and EWTN filmed several of the interviews for “Vaticano” and News Nightly.

As I entered the Vatican building that houses our offices, four of the astronauts were speaking to a few members of the media. I listened and then spoke to two of them and, as I was doing so, someone asked if I’d like a photo with the four men. Of course, I would! I handed him my camera but he never pressed down hard enough to actually take the photo (!) so later, on the terrace, as the group was about to change into travel clothes I asked for another group photo. I was the only one who had that privilege as they were pressed for time, but the daughter of a journalist colleague did slip into the photo.

I only partially heard the stories they were telling my colleagues for TV – and I did post a Facebook live. It was wonderful as they talked about the spiritual, about what it is like to view the world, the universe, our earth from space and have your own look at creation, at a Creator.

I overheard Mark Vande Hei, in answer to a question from the DC bureau, say that Christmas was a problem, it was a workday for the Americans but not for the Russians. However, all was resolved when the Russians decorated “their” part of the spaceship!

I asked Mark when they had arrived in Rome and he said ‘only yesterday’. I asked if all the time in space had actually helped them when it came to earthly travels and jet lag and he replied that he felt it had helped indeed.

Tune in to Vaticano and News Nightly for their stories, up close and personal!

Here’s the story from inside the apostolic Palace: