Astronomy Lecture at St John Vianney

On Tuesday, the 6th of September 2016, St John Vianney Seminary was privileged to play host to UNISA’s Department of Mathematical Sciences which delivered an Astronomy lecture. There were a number of lecturers and staff present from UNISA, with Zolile Mguda delivering the lecture.

The lecture first began with an address by the Vice Academic Representative, Vincent de Commarmond, who reminded us of the openness of the Catholic Church to the sciences such as Astronomy, as well as the Church’s own role through her various priests over the years such as Copernicus, and Fr Georges Lemaitre who advanced the world’s knowledge in these fields. Consequently, then we should view Astronomy as something far removed from the Church but rather as something to take an interest in as it is part of humanity’s quest for knowledge.

The lecturer of the day, Zolile Mguda, then proceeded with his lecture which illustrated the scope of the Cosmos in which we live, as well as the place of our small planet called Earth. Earth’s relation to its closest neighbor, the Moon, was illustrated, as well as how the phenomena of eclipses occur. Following this was a tour of the planets of the Solar System, starting from the small rocky planets (which includes Earth), to the great Gas Giants such as Jupiter and Saturn, as well was the other bodies moving in our Solar System such as asteroids and comets. We were then taken into the spectacular reality of galaxies, stars, star births and star deaths which cause fantastic phenomena such us star explosions, nebulae, and even black holes.

After nightfall on that same day, we then gathered on the sports fields where we were treated to star gazing through telescopes provided by UNISA. The provided a wonderful opportunity to look in detail at the lunar surface, as well as to see the planet Saturn with its rings, as well as the planet Mars. All in all, it was a very interesting and informative event, and we are grateful to UNISA for providing us with this opportunity.

By Jason  Lottering

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