31 July 2018

Everyone's eyes to the sky

Water on Mars; Century’s longest lunar eclipse: in Jerusalem An opportunity for an encounter between Science and Faith.

Actuality and events

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A July filled with beauties and discoveries in the Solar System...

Which ended with a big announcement: there is an underground lake of liquid water on Mars. These findings were confirmed by a team of experts led by Roberto Orosei of the National Institute of Astrophysics, together with other Italian research centres and universities and the Italian Space Agency.

On the night of 27 July, millions of people all over the world looked up to the sky to admire the beauty of the century's longest lunar eclipse... with one additional rarity: together with the Moon in alignment, the brightest planet Mars. 

Photographs, images were shared with extreme astonishment.. In Jerusalem, Stefano Cattolico, PhD student in Astrophysics and visitor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, tells us about his experience... 

STEFANO CATTOLICO
PhD student in Astrophysics
Finding a lake on Mars is certainly a great discovery, especially with the confirmation that it is indeed liquid water. A major discovery which opens the way to knowledge and to a deeper understanding of this planet.
 
STEFANO CATTOLICO
PhD student in Astrophysics
The eclipse has fascinated man since ancient times. Besides, this was a special eclipse, as we had a total reddening of the moon, so red that it almost looked like a little sister of Mars. And therefore I was very proud to live this experience in Jerusalem, which is a wonderful city. It is a city filled with culture, spirit and science too.
 
From the contemplation of the sky to research work at the University. 

STEFANO CATTOLICO
PhD student in Astrophysics
I work in a particular theoretical research center at the Physics Department of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in the Theoretical Astrophysics Section. I'm involved in simulating planetary systems which somehow will allow us to better understand our system, particularly our system at its origins.

STEFANO CATTOLICO
PhD student in Astrophysics
It is a beautiful university. It is a very avant-garde campus and above all it has an ancient tradition of the founding fathers and Albert Einstein and it is quite nice to go around the various gardens of the campus and see reproductions of Albert Einstein, there are even statues of him on a bicycle. All of this makes the university important and prestigious. 

For a researcher in Jerusalem, the holy city for the three monotheistic religions, is this also an opportunity for an encounter between Science and Faith? 

STEFANO CATTOLICO
PhD student in Astrophysics
It is a wonderful experience, an experience which strikes the chords of the spirit. An experience of sharing and a great teaching of how these religions can live together. How we Christians can somehow approach the sacred places of our history and religion. This city fascinated me, I hope to be able to continue, to come back here both as a pilgrim and maybe as a future man of science.