Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Marshall Connolly (Catholic Online)

2/21/2014 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (

It's esoteric knowledge, so it's hard to care, but you should and here's why.

Scientists have calculated the rotation rate of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) using a combination of old and new scientific techniques. The result is a better understanding of how the Milky Way's closest companion is behaving.

The LMC as seen from Australia.

The LMC as seen from Australia.


By Marshall Connolly (Catholic Online)

Catholic Online (

2/21/2014 (1 year ago)

Published in Technology

Keywords: LMC, Large Magellanic Cloud, map, Hubble, humans, nature, future, science, astronomy

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Astronomers using a combination of old-school methods and new technology have managed to precisely calculate the rate at which the Large Megallanic Cloud (LMC) a galaxy close to ours, is rotating.

The LMC is a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way and is gravitationally bound to ours. It is our closest companion galaxy and is visible only from the southern hemisphere.

Saint Dominic de Guzman, patron saint of astronomers

Scientists used redshift, which helps them to determine the relative motion of stars. As stars on one side of the galaxy move towards Earth, their light waves are compacted, which gives their light a distinctive "blue shift" when viewed through a prism and measured. Conversely, stars on the other side of the galactic disk, moving away from Earth, have their light "stretched" which gives them a "red shift."

This technique is nearly a century old and helps astronomers to determine which way objects are moving in space. Astronomers have now combined this with observations made by the Hubble Space Telescope use to track the minute movements of stars against the background of deep space. Those measurements combined with the red-shift measurements gave scientists what they needed to answer a very basic question about the LMC.

The LMC rotates once every 250 million years.

Okay, so what?

The measurements allow astronomers to build an accurate 3D model of the stars in the LMC and their motion. While the knowledge is inherently valuable to astronomers, it will also help them to prefect mapping techniques that will be used on stars much closer to our own.

Astronomers hope to map at least a billion stars in 3D within the next several years. Those billion stars, which will be the closest ones to Earth, make just 1 percent of the galaxy. They will also be star systems around which emerging technologies will allow us to hunt for planets as well as signs of life on those planets.

So the techniques practices on the LMC will eventually help us to study stars and planets closer to home and assist in the search for habitable world beyond our own. Eventually, in the next few million years, or even much less, humans will need to leave the Earth and colonize other worlds around other stars, if the human species is to survive indefinitely.

Although this may seem like impractical science fiction, we should remember there were times, over 2,400 years in the past, when people thought the Earth was flat and impermanent. To adopt a short-sighted view of the world and cosmos, and to ignore that which is beyond, is against our fundamental human nature, and contrary to the spirit which has allowed our species to flourish over tens of thousands of years.

We explore because it is in our nature; as a species, we simply cannot imagine not exploring, not traveling.

Pope Francis calls for your 'prayer and action'...


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'

Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2015
That human trafficking, the modern form of slavery, may be eradicated.
Evangelization: That with a missionary spirit the Christian communities of Asia may announce the Gospel to those who are still awaiting it.


More Technology

Bet you've never seen a space rocket do THIS! Watch

Image of The New Shepherd rocket, safe on its West Texas launch pad, after the first-ever such landing made by a space rocket.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In a technological upset, Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos has successfully tested a reusable rocket by flying it into space and landing it back on Earth. The test puts Bezo's Blue Origin ahead of Elon Musk's Space X in the race to develop a reusable rocket. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading

What the heck is Dark Matter and what's Triangulum II? Watch

Image of Triangulum II may have a greater concentration of dark matter than any other object yet observed.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Scientists have discovered a galaxy that may be composed mostly of dark matter. Dark matter is an elusive substance that is yet to be described by scientists. They know what it does, but not what it is. The discovery could help solve the mystery. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading

Anonymous VS ISIS: Hacker group launches counter-terrorism attacks from the shadows Watch

Image of Hacker group Anonymous takes on ISIS (YouTube).


While ISIS supporters and member utilize social media to attract recruits and sympathizers to their cause, hacker group Anonymous has stepped forward to fight back. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Following the Paris terror attacks Friday, hacker group Anonymous ... continue reading

3 reasons why having sex with robots is wrong, according to the Catholic Church Watch

Image of Should we have sex with robots? Not according to the teachings of the Church, and Natural Law itself.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

As robotics manufacturers look to the future, they're planning to tap into the multi-billion dollar sex industry. In the not-too distant future, people will be able to keep robot companions that provide them with sexual gratification. What happens when people begin ... continue reading

Ever wonder why the other line always moves faster? This book has the answer Watch

Image of The practice of lining up is taught in school and is a quintessential aspect of modern civilization.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Why does the other line move faster than yours? This is a question explored, and answered in a new book which used science and history to study standing in line. In "Why Does the Other Line Always Move Faster: The Myths and Misery, Secrets and Psychology of Waiting in ... continue reading

The unimaginable truth behind Facebook's threat to society that you need to know NOW Watch

Image of Has social media taken over?


Teenage internet sensation Essena O'Neill decided to leave social media behind after realizing it did nothing but make her dependent on anonymous "likes" and "shares." Her dependency on social media is just one of many. What else does social media cause? LOS ANGELES, ... continue reading

Move over Uber - Check out the newest 'Air Taxis' that the richest people will ride Watch

Image of Magnetic levitation technology produces the lift and forces the car to propel forward, which makes the system energy efficient.


Futuristic, "Jetsons" -styled "air taxis," that glide 20 to 30 feet above the air on elevated tracks will be debuting in Israel shortly. The dream project of Skytran, based in Mountain View, California had been perfecting the technology over the past five ... continue reading

Here are five shocking surprises from Comet 67P that are keeping scientists awake at night Watch

Image of Rosetta and the Philae lander. Both are on a three-year mission to gather data about comet 67P, but so far they've served to mystify as much as they have explained.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The recent announcement that Comet 67P/Churymov-Gerasimenko (67P) is rich in oxygen molecules has sent scientists scurrying to explain this extraordinary finding. It is the latest in strange discoveries reported by the Rosetta spacecraft in orbit around the enigmatic ... continue reading

If it's not an alien megastructure, could it be... a black hole? Watch

Image of Could it be aliens? No.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Astronomers continue to puzzle over a distant star that for some reason, is having a substantial quantity of its light blocked from reaching Earth. The find is one-of-a-kind and is fueling speculation that intelligent life could be at work. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading

Are you under surveillance? Watch

Image of The government sanctions the use of tech that is able to connect to your phone and pull anything they want from it.


Stingray is the name of a device called an IMSI-catcher or a "cell-site simulator," and is roughly the size of a briefcase. It works by impersonating cell phone towers and strips metadata or content from phones that connect to them. What does the government have to say ... continue reading

All Technology News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • St. Andrew: Saint of the Day for Monday, November 30, 2015
  • The Miracle Prayer HD Video
  • Your Daily Inspirational Meme: Advent
  • Daily Readings for Monday, November 30, 2015
  • The shocking amount of control El Chapo's drug cartel has across the ...
  • Will the Chinese Yuan overtake the U.S. Dollar? China moves to ...
  • Prayer For Courage HD Video

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Romans 10:9-18
9 that if you declare with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and if you ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 19:2-3, 4-5
2 day discourses of it to day, night to night hands on the ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 4:18-22
18 As he was walking by the Lake of Galilee he saw two brothers, Simon, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 30th, 2015 Image

St. Andrew
November 30: Andrew, like his brother Simon Peter, was a ... Read More