science

Eclipse gives Viz students insight into women and the sciences

Coronal flares of the sun are visible at full totality of a solar eclipse Aug. 21, 2017.

At the initial moment of totality Aug. 21, excitement quickly spread among Visitation Academy students gathered on Ritter Field as they observed the rare solar eclipse.

They whooped and hollered then kept it up for the duration of the one-minute, seven-second celestial light show  ... well, the non-light show. Only the sun's corona was visible as the moon blotted out the rest, a black ball inside a pulsating circle of light.

Faith and science closely linked

This artist’s concept shows what the TRAPPIST-1 planetary system may look like, based on available data about the planets diameters, masses and distances from the host star. The system has been revealed through observations from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope and the ground-based TRAPPIST (TRAnsiting Planets and PlanetesImals Small Telescope) telescope, as well as other ground-based observatories. The system was named for the TRAPPIST telescope. The seven planets of TRAPPIST-1 are all Earth-sized and terrestrial, according to research published in 2017 in the journal Nature.

Recent headlines about the TRAPPIST-1 solar system and its seven Earth-sized planets have created quite a buzz among astrophysicists, astronomy lovers and the general population.

Surrounding a dwarf star, the system is relatively close at 40 light years from earth, and three of the planets are in the so-called habitable zone, which means a TRAPPIST-1 planet "easily could have developed a life form," Jesuit Father Robert J. Spitzer said Feb. 27 at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary.

With an important caveat.

BRIMMING WITH HOPE | The beauty of science and Catholic education

The 1633 trial of Galileo Galilei is often used as evidence that the Catholic Church opposes scientific thought. The reality is that the Catholic Church has had a fruitful relationship with science and has been one of its biggest proponents. Scientific historian J.L. Heilbron asserts, "The Roman Catholic Church gave more financial aid and social support to the study of astronomy for over six centuries ... than any other, and probably, all other, institutions."

Kenrick-Glennon classes to show links of science, theology

Kenrick-Glennon Seminary professor John Finley taught Philosophy of Nature to juniors and pre-theology I students at the seminary.

In some quarters of society, faith and science are considered to be mutually exclusive, akin to oil and water, incompatible with modern life.

One problem with that: It's wrong. The two fit hand in glove.

"Absolutely, they go together," said John Finley, a philosophy professor at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary. "Anything legitimately discovered by science can only help in terms of the overall evangelization effort of our Church ... and our understanding of God's creation.

"Since God is the author of it all, of course, it's going to complement what we learn in theology."

STEM Scouts’ lab lessons redefine what’s fun

Lucas Kenniston and Maggie Niemeyer secured wires into the “MaKey MaKey” control board which, when connected to pieces of conductive clay and a computer, made a piano keyboard. STEM Scouts is a new program sponsored by the Greater St. Louis Area Boy Scout Council for elementary and middle-school groups.

Nico Balassi, a fourth-grader at Assumption School in south St. Louis County and a Cub Scout, talked about a STEM program and gave an example of what's "cool" and "fun."

It involves a MaKey MaKey, an electronic invention kit that turns everyday objects into computer touchpads and interfaces them with the Internet as computer programs.

"You use wires and hook it up. If you touch something it will go off," Nico explained.

St. Peter students help NASA scientists via data collection program

St. Peter School students Danny Schneider, Katie Kruse and Brenton Lanteigne took notes as they observed clouds as part of the NASA GLOBE Project. The students charted clouds on an overcast day and found no contrails, but a sky filled with high cirrostratus, altostratus and low stratus with nimbostratus (rain-filled) encroaching on their position.

Jack Schellingerhout and Shane McKelvey craned their necks as they observed a tapestry of clouds.

The St. Peter School eighth- graders referred to their worksheet to determine what they were seeing. The large grey blanket hanging low in the sky consisted of stratus clouds, they agreed. A debate ensued: were they nimbostratus — the rain-producing type?

At that moment, a smattering of fat raindrops hit the pavement.

"Wetness!" shouted one student.

"It's definitely nimbostratus," science teacher Travis Coleman said. "OK let's go in."

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