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JESUITICA: Moon-gazers

moon_01.jpg“That orbèd maiden with white fire laden, whom mortals call the Moon” has at least 35 craters named after Jesuit astronomers. And one of the earliest maps of the moon’s surface (pictured here) appeared in Almagestum novum, the work of two Jesuits, Giambattista Riccioli and Francesco Grimaldi. A large copy of that map adorns the Moon exhibition in the Smithsonian. Written in Latin across the top appears a curious clarification: “Neither do men inhabit the moon nor do souls migrate there”. And in more recent times a Filipino astronomer, Fr Victor Badillo SJ, was honoured by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) by having an asteroid named after him.