Richard P. Boyle, S.J.

(Northeast Province, USA)


VATT Telescope Scientist


Area of Research: Star Clusters in the Milky Way Galaxy


  • B.A. Philosophy & Physics – St. Louis University – 1967
  • Ph.D. Astronomy – Georgetown University, Washington, DC – 1971
  • Theology studies– Weston School of Theology, Cambridge MA - 1975



  • American Astronomical Society
  • American Geophysics Union
  • International Astronomical Union


Fr. Richard Boyle SJ was born in 1943 at Everett, Massachusetts. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1961 and completed degrees in theology and liberal arts at Boston College (Shadowbrook, Lenox, Mass.) in 1965, and in philosophy and physics at St. Louis University in 1967. He obtained his doctorate in astronomy at Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. in 1971 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1975.

He worked as a post-doctoral research astronomer at the Manila Observatory at Quezon City (Manila), Philippines from 1975-76 and at Emmanuel College in Boston and Boston College from 1978-81 on contract for the Air Force Geophysics Lab in solar-terrestrial physics. Fr. Boyle joined the Vatican Observatory Research Group as staff astronomer in observational astronomy when the group was established in Tucson in 1981. He serves as telescope scientist for the Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope.  He also served as Dean of the 1993, 1995 and 2010 Vatican Observatory Summer Schools in Castel Gandolfo.


Research Interests:

Fr. Boyle specializes in observational astronomy, in studies of stellar populations in Milky Way Galaxy star clusters and in research of the atmospheres of giant red stars.

By making observations at VATT he collaborates with astronomers pursuing research on various objects like brown dwarfs, sdB stars for astroseismology, and discovery of solar system asteroids.


Recent Peer-Reviewed Publications:

  • Straižys, V., Maskoliunas, M., BOYLE, R. P., Zdanavičius, K., Zdanavičius, J., Laugalys, V., Kazlauskas, A., (2014). The Open Cluster NGC 7142: Interstellar Extinction, Distance and Age. MNRAS 37, 1628.
  • Straižys, V., Milašius, K., BOYLE, R. P., Vrba, F. J., Munari, U., Walborn, N. R., Černis, K., Kazlauskas, A., Zdanavičius, K., Janusz, R., Zdanavičius, J., Laugalys, V., (2014). The Enigma of the Open Cluster M29 (NGC 6913) Solved. Astronomical Journal 148, 89. (arXiv:1407.6291)
  • Wlodarczyk, I., Černis, K., BOYLE, R. P., Laugalys, V., (2014). Discovery and Dynamical Characterization of the Amorclass Asteroid 2012 XH16. MNRAS 438, 2621.
  • Straižys, V., Vrba, F. J., BOYLE, R. P., , Milašius K., Černis, K., Zdanavičius, K., Zdanavičius, J., Kazlauskas, A., Macijauskas, M., Janusz, R. (2015). Interstellar Extinction in the Direction of the Open Cluster M29. Astronomical Journal 149, 161.