Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Friday 25 June |
Saint of the Day: Bl. John the Spaniard
home iconArt & Culture
line break icon

Asteroid named for Jesuit priest to honor life’s work



J-P Mauro - published on 06/25/20

The honor came as a surprise to the Vatican astronomer.

Father Chris Corbally has become the 11th Jesuit priest to lend his name to an asteroid. The astronomical body was named for the cleric to honor his 37 years of good work at the Vatican Observatory.

Catholic News Service reports that the asteroid, which is about a mile wide, is now known as 119248 Corbally. 119248 Corbally was discovered in 2001 by Roy Tucker at the University of Arizona, who also worked with the Vatican to help build and maintain several pieces of stellar observational equipment.

Corbally, 74, has been working at the Vatican Observatory since 1983, where he has held the position of Director of the Vatican Observatory Research Group. He told Dennis Sadowski of CNS that the honor of having his name attached to a rock hurtling around the sun was unexpected:

“I’m not a kind of an asteroid guy” like some of his colleagues at the observatory, he said. “For me it came as a complete surprise. That’s why it’s kind of nice.”

Asteroids are indeed small (relative to other bodies in outer space) rocks, classified as minor planets, that are caught in the sun’s orbit. CNS noted that the orbit of 119248 Corbally takes it around the sun every four years.

Although he was pleased with the naming, Fr. Corbally noted that his interests lie more in star systems, their classifications, galactic structure and more. He said:

“I’m very much a star man. But realizing that stars are in our galaxy, I’m also interested in galactic structure and history of star populations in our galaxy. My way of probing all this is through the individual stars,” he told Catholic News Service.

Read the whole story at Catholic News Service.

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Philip Kosloski
Padre Pio’s favorite prayer of petition
Philip Kosloski
Prayers to be said at the elevation of the host at Mass
Bret Thoman, OFS
What Padre Pio saw in the Spanish Flu of 1918
Eric Clapton, Luciano Pavarotti, East London Gospel Choir
J-P Mauro
Hear Clapton and Pavarotti sing a prayer to the “Holy Mothe...
Theresa Civantos Barber
Celebrate “summer Christmas” with these 5 traditions ...
Cecilia Zinicola
The best method for transforming annoyance and frustration
John Burger
Parents of Amazon CEO donate $12 million to Catholic school
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.