Philippine Daily Inquirer: Fr. Victor Badillo, SJ on planetary alignment

By Tarra Quismundo, Jocelyn Uy
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 02:53:00 05/15/2011

To 81-year-old Fr. Victor Badillo, a Filipino Jesuit astronomer who has spent 30 years studying the firmament at the Manila Observatory, the cosmic phenomenon is just one among the many amazing sky shows to enjoy.

“There are so many wonderful things [in the sky] for us to enjoy than to worry about,” Badillo said by phone from the Jesuit Residence Infirmary at the Ateneo de Manila University.

Instead of treating this event as a harbinger of doom, it must be considered “something beautiful to behold,” just like the meteor storm in 1999 that marked the night sky with dazzling lights, he said.

Badillo said that in his years working as head of the Manila Observatory, he had witnessed planets forming a line several times.

“This is not very rare … Sometimes we have two planets close together; sometimes we have three, or four or five,” he said, adding:

“Planetary lineups have happened many times before and there was no end of the world [so they are not interrelated].”

The Manila Observatory, a non-profit research organization housed at the Ateneo, is engaged in research on various subjects, including seismic and geomagnetic events and solar physics.

It initially served as a weather forecasting and earthquake research unit when the Jesuits established it in 1865.

One thing that scientists can predict is when these celestial events would take place, using scientific calculations, Badillo said.

But no one, not even scientists, can tell when the world will stop turning.

“In the Bible, the Lord said nobody knows when the hour or day will come. No one can know … If anybody says he knows, then he must be better than Jesus,” Badillo said.


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About ateneophysicsnews
Physics News and Features from Ateneo de Manila University

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