As long as we've got you reading the College of the Redwood's Board of Directors' agenda for Feb. 3, you may have noticed in the documents packet (p. 42) that CR prof Dr. Jon Pedicino is asking for a little out-of-country travel cash ($1,800) so he can go to the Pope's summer digs at Castel Gandolfo, Italy, this June.
There, he intends to hobnob with likeminded starry eyed folks at the Vatican Observatory.
Yes, the Vatican Observatory -- an old-timer of an astronomical research institution that's connected these days to the Mount Graham International Observatory in Arizona.
The affair? The Vatican Observatory's Summer Symposium.
OK, so you're hung up on the whole Galileo thing -- how the Roman Catholic Church condemned and arrested him in 1633 for saying the Earth moves around the Sun. Let that burden go: The Church did, when John Paul II forgave Sir Galileo Galilei in 1992, saying the poor man had been ahead of his time.
In fact, the Vatican and others are going all out this year to celebrate astronomy and the 400th anniversary of Galileo's use of the telescope to study the sky, with a big bang of events planned for The International Year of Astronomy 2009 .
So there. Vai con Dio, Pedicino.