Vatican astronomers make two new discoveries in space

Two Jesuit astronomers from the Vatican Observatory were part of recent discoveries: one finding a new member of the solar system and another finding evidence for a long-lost galaxy “eaten up” by the Milky Way.

Jesuit Father Richard Boyle discovered the existence of a new object, named “2021 XD7,” in the outer solar system past Neptune, and Jesuit Father Richard D’Souza co-authored a new study identifying a previously unknown dwarf galaxy, named Pontus, that merged with Earth’s home galaxy of the Milky Way.

The Vatican Observatory made the first announcement February 2, saying Father Boyle discovered the new object in early December after his observations were analysed by Kazimieras Cernis, a Lithuanian astronomer and astrophysicist.

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