From Ps 148:

Praise ye him, O sun and moon: praise him, all ye stars and light.
Praise him, ye heavens of heavens: and let all the waters that are above the heavens.
Praise the name of the Lord. For he spoke, and they were made: he commanded, and they were created.

This is in from Space Weather!

WEEKEND SKY SHOW: Saturn, Mars and a slender crescent Moon are gathering together for a pretty sunset sky show over the 4th of July weekend.  For people in the USA celebrating Independence Day, it’s a bit of heavenly charm among the smoke and flash of evening fireworks.  

EARTH AT APHELION: On the 4th of July, you will be farther from the sun than at any other time of the year. Earth’s orbit around the sun is not a perfect circle, it’s an ellipse, and on July 4th, Earth is at the end of the ellipse farthest from the sun. Astronomers call this "aphelion." When we are at aphelion, the sun appears slightly smaller in the sky (by about 1.7%) and global solar heating is actually a little less (by about 3.5%) than the yearly average. This provides scant relief from northern summer heat, however.  [So long as it doesn’t spin, dance and fall toward the earth, I don’t care how much smaller it is. Still, this is pretty interesting stuff!]

Happy 4th of Aphelion!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. mpm says:

    [So long as it doesn’t spin, dance and fall toward the earth, I don’t care
    how much smaller it is. Still, this is pretty interesting stuff! Fr. Z]

    LOL! Amen.

  2. Father Gary V. says:

    But Father, but Father, are you worried to open the combox below this topic because vile comments will spill in the combox?

  3. will says:

    This is always makes for good trivia. People tend to ignore the earth’s tilt when contemplating the seasons, and assume it has to do with distance to the sun.

    The heavens show forth the glory of God, and the firmament declareth the work of his hands.

  4. Cathguy says:

    In addition to adoring the extraordinary form, I am also a geo-centrist…

    There must be another way to explain this….

    I’ll get back to you.


  5. dark_coven says:

    As a traditional Catholic myself, I face Sacred Scripture at face value and interpret the Bible literally (unless specified by Church teaching and Tradition) following the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 116, says: “The literal sense is the meaning conveyed by the words of Scripture and discovered by exegesis, following the rules of sound interpretation: “All other senses of Sacred Scripture are based on the literal.”

    Furthermore, the Catholic Church, having adopted the rule of St. Augustine, teaches “not to depart from the literal and obvious sense, except only where reason makes it untenable or necessity requires; a rule to which it is the more necessary to adhere strictly in these times, when the thirst for novelty and unrestrained freedom of thought make the danger of error most real and proximate.” -Pope Leo XIII, Providentissimus Deus, No. 15, 1893.

    Hence passages like:

    Psalm 8:29 – “…when he marked out the foundations of the earth.”

    Psalm 93:1; 96:10– “Yea, the world is established; it shall never be moved.”

    Psalm 104:5 – “Thou didst set the earth on its foundations, so that it should never be shaken.”

    Psalm 119:90 – “thou has established the earth, and it stands firm.”

    Can be interpreted in the figurative or symbolic sense, BUT without refuting or dismissing the literal interpretation in which these senses (e.g. symbolic) based their interpretation; otherwise, the entire meaning of passage falls. It is then worthy to note that traditionalist-Catholic position of Geocentrism is scripturally tenable, and has the unanimous consent of the Fathers.

    Instavrare Omnia In Christo,

  6. Cathguy says:

    dark coven,

    (weird name for a traditional Catholic).

    I know all that. One of my favorite apologists, John Salza, has an entire essay on the topic on his home page.

    I was just cracking a joke…


  7. Matthew says:

    Argh Father!

    I’m a grad student at SLU. The combox being closed is like waving a steak in front of a starving dog!

  8. Padre Steve says:

    This is interesting stuff! You educate us in so many ways! Gracias!

  9. Matthew says:

    Just to clarify-

    I didn’t mean to insinuate that I wanted to come on this blog hurling insults at anyone. The climate at the University is just a big part of my life.

  10. Paul Stokell says:

    Once upon a time, concepts such as slavery, feudalism, the death penalty and the abuses of capitalism – among others – were as “scripturally tenable” as Geocentrism.

    May the Holy Spirit be praised and adored for leading the human race away from these things (Dei Verbum 10, 1965).

  11. RBrown says:

    Once upon a time, concepts such as slavery,

    Do you know that in the Roman Empire Domestic Slaves were socially higher than free poor people?



    the death penalty

    Still permitted.

    and the abuses of capitalism

    Under paying labor has always been considered immoral.

    – among others – were as “scripturally tenable” as Geocentrism.
    Comment by Paul Stokell

    Like Einstein (and St Thomas) I do not think there is any such things as Absolute Time or Place (Space).

    The difference between Geocentricism and Heliocentricism is that the formulae used to describe the motion in the latter system are more simple than those used in the former system.

  12. Cathguy says:

    I think this debate is kind of silly. I just cracked a joke! Common people! Geesh!

    One can be a good Catholic and believe in geo-centrism, or NOT. It doesn’t matter.

    Of course, the vast majority of scientists now posit that neither geo-centrism (which posits the Earth is the center of the universe ) nor helio-centrism (which posits the Sun is the center of the universe) are true. Rather, I think the mathematical models point to a center of the universe from which the universe is expanding out from, and the earth is part of a solar system that is one of many.

    Of course, it is all relatively unimportant. God created the heavens and earth, and he made each and everyone of us and our first parents. And that is all Catholics NEED to be believe as an article of faith. I leave this one to the astronomers. No harm no foul either way. I personally think it is kind of cool that there are still geo-centrists out there.

    One point I will make. During the middle ages the Catholic Church invented the University System. According to no less an authority than Albertus Magnus, it wasn’t the appropriate role of theology to force its ideas on natural philosophy, nor vice versa. That, at least, has been an acceptable part of Catholic tradition since the invention of the University. I leave this stuff to the “masters.” I am just a guy, made in the image and likeness of God.

  13. Brian Kemple says:

    Somehow, the earth being as far away from the sun as it ever is did not help me avoid sunburn.

    *shakes fist angrily at science*

  14. Felix says:

    May I express my concern about people who argue that the earth goes around the sun, but deny that the earth is flat. Let’s have a consistent literalism!

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