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Vatican astronomer: Webb telescope space images are ‘food for the human spirit’

The first images from the James Webb space telescope reveal God’s creation and feed our souls, a Jesuit brother and astronomer said Thursday.

“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,” Brother Guy Consolmagno, director of the Vatican Observatory since 2015, said in a July 14 statement.

Consolmagno said the images are “a necessary food for the human spirit — we do not live by bread alone — especially in these times.”

“The science behind this telescope,” he said, “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,” he continued. “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.”

With roots dating to 1582, the Vatican Observatory is one of the oldest active astronomical observatories in the world. Its headquarters are in Castel Gandolfo, a town just outside Rome and the location of the summer residence of the popes.

The Vatican Observatory also operates the Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope, located in rural Arizona about 200 miles southeast of Phoenix. 

Consolmagno said that he is personally delighted by the success of the Webb telescope because he is friends with many of the scientists who built the instruments and planned the observations.

Read more at Catholic News Agency

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