Join us December 26th for our next Full Moon-th Meetup with our guest Br. Bob Macke, SJ, curator of meteorites at the Vatican Observatory, and member of the mission teams for the OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return mission, and the Lucy mission to the Trojan asteroids. Br. Bob was also a guest for one of our podcasts back in July of 2022: The Stuff of Stars.
Our tradition of hosting online meetups with our Sacred Space Astronomy members and the Vatican Observatory staff, scholars and friends during the Full Moon in Tucson (or thereabout) continues on Tuesday December 26th at 12:00 Noon ET (10:00 AM Tucson time). This meetup is a perk for our Sacred Space Astronomy subscribers- you get to chat with each other, and astronomers and scientists from the Vatican Observatory!
We’ll also have the latest astronomy news and an update about the Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope*.
Brother Robert Macke SJ is a member of the U.S. Central and Southern Province of the Society of Jesus. He was born in Fort Worth, Texas in 1974. After studying physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Washington University in St. Louis, he taught astronomy for a few years Bowling Green State University (Bowling Green, Ohio) before entering the Society of Jesus in 2001.
As a Jesuit, he studied philosophy at St. Louis University. He then taught physics, astronomy, and mathematics at Rockhurst University (Kansas City, Missouri) for one year, and then began a doctoral program studying meteorite physical properties at University of Central Florida. His dissertation, Survey of Meteorite Physical Properties: Density, Porosity and Magnetic Susceptibility, detailed measurements on more than 1200 individual meteorite specimens from major collections throughout the United States and Europe. Between 2011 and 2013 he studied theology at Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, during which time he also constructed a new ideal-gas pycnometer for measuring meteorite densities. Br. Macke joined the Vatican Observatory in July 2013, where he studies meteorite physical properties in the observatory’s meteorite laboratory. In August 2014, Br. Macke became the curator of the Vatican collection of 1200 meteorite specimens.
Br. Macke studies meteorite physical properties, including density, porosity, magnetic susceptibility, and more recently, thermal properties. His research has been conducted on most of the major meteorite collections in the United States and Europe. In addition, Br. Macke is involved in a study concerned with interpreting gravimetric data from the surface of the moon and mars. This requires measuring the density and porosity of lunar and Martian materials including not only meteorites but also lunar samples brought back to earth by the Apollo space missions of the 1960’s and 1970’s. He has measured about 60 individual Apollo moon rocks from all 6 successful missions and all representative lithologies.
Br. Bob has become quite the pro at 3D printing – making displays for the Vatican Observatory Museum, and an impressive replica of St. Ignatius Church with Angelo Secchi’s spectroscopic observatory from the mid-1800’s on top.
Br. Bob’s skills at
3D printing and meteorite analysis has led him to positions on the mission teams for not one, but two asteroid missions: the Lucy mission to the Trojan asteroids, and OSIRIS-REx, where he designed a custom Ideal-Gas Pycnometer to study asteroid samples.
Br. Bob was a guest on Episode #24 of the Master Minds Podcast
Check out Br. Bob’s YouTube channel: Macke Makerspace
When? Tuesday, December 26th: Rain or shine
What time? These meetups will happen around lunch time in North America: in particular, 12:00 PM Eastern Standard Time, which is 10:00 AM Tucson time.
How do you access the Zoom link? Join Sacred Space Astronomy and you’ll get an email with the full link! If you are already a member, log in to the Vatican Observatory site, and you will see the Zoom info at the bottom of this post.
This meeting was created in a non-BAA environment and is not intended for the discussion of healthcare, health education, or health data research.
*The Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope consists of the Alice P. Lennon Telescope, and the Thomas J. Bannan Astrophysics Facility.