A leading papal astronomer is to speak in Horsforth this Easter about the importance of the science to the Vatican.

Brother Guy Consolmagno is a Jesuit and acclaimed astronomer. Based at the Vatican Observatory headquarters in Castel Gandolfo, he curates its meteorite collection – one of the largest in the world.

The scientist, who has an asteroid named after him, has carried out research exploring the connections between meteorites and asteroids, and the origin and evolution of small bodies in the solar system. Along with more than 200 scientific publications, he is the author of popular astronomy books and writes a monthly science column for The Tablet.

Brother Guy will deliver a lecture entitled Would you baptize an Extraterrestrial? at Leeds Trinity University on Friday, April 25.

He said: “I am excited to be coming to Leeds and Leeds Trinity.

“I've always enjoyed visiting the north of England, and have never actually visited Leeds itself, so that will make this visit special for me.

“And of course the universities are well known, so I am looking forward to meeting the people at Leeds Trinity.”

The Catholic Church hasn’t always had an easy relationship with astronomers. Brother Guy’s lecture comes 400 years after Galileo was accused of heresy for his support of the theory that the sun was at the centre of the solar system. The Italian astronomer was later summoned to appear before the inquisition in Rome and was sentenced to life imprisonment – later reduced to house arrest.

Patricia Kelly, senior lecturer in Catholic Studies at Leeds Trinity University, who organised the trip, said: “I’m delighted that Brother Guy has agreed to visit Leeds Trinity University – it’s a real honour to have him here.

“He’s one of the best and most exciting speakers on science and religion, and having heard him speak before on astronomy and God, I can’t wait to hear him again.”

Brother Guy’s talk will take place at in Leeds Trinity University’s Auditorium from 6.30pm on Friday, April 25. Light refreshments will be served afterwards.

The talk is free to attend and there is no need to book a place. Contact Patricia Kelly at p.kelly@leedstrinity.ac.uk for further information.