The Vatican Observatory is one of the oldest astronomical research institutions in the world. Though we can trace our roots back to the reform of the calendar by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582, the modern version of the Observatory was established by Pope Leo XIII in 1891 “so that everyone might see clearly that the Church and her Pastors are not opposed to true and solid science, whether human or divine, but that they embrace it, encourage it, and promote it with the fullest possible devotion.”
Our headquarters are located at the papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, outside Rome. We also have a dependent research center, the Vatican Observatory Research Group, is hosted by Steward Observatory at the University of Arizona, Tucson, USA. This group operates the 1.8m Alice P. Lennon Telescope with its Thomas J. Bannan Astrophysics Facility, known together as the Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope (VATT), located at the Mount Graham International Observatory (MGIO )in southeastern Arizona.
Our international staff include a dozen research astronomers (mostly Jesuit priests, but also including two Jesuit brothers and one diocesan priest) plus a number of support staff, emeritus staff, and adjunct scholars. We come from many different nations and cultures, representing nearly every continent.