Sunday, July 07, 2024

Vatican astronomers can work in Italy again

Vatican Observatory - FAQ

At last, Vatican astronomers will once again be able to observe the sky from their historic headquarters in Castel Gandolfo, Italy. 

As the Vatican Observatory announced on Thursday, its telescope in the US state of Arizona has been equipped with an automatic control system. This allows astronomers to use the space telescope remotely.

This is particularly interesting for the employees in Castel Gandolfo. Previously, they had to travel to the observatory on the 3,270 metre high Mount Graham in Arizona to use the telescope.

Researching since 1582

Astronomers have been exploring the universe on behalf of the Pope for centuries. The calendar reformer Pope Gregory XIII (1572-1585) first commissioned Jesuits to observe the heavens in 1582. 

The Vatican Observatory, now located in the park of the former papal summer residence Castel Gandolfo, was officially founded in 1891.

The Vatican research centre in the USA is in turn one of the largest and most modern centres for observational astronomy. 

The sky conditions above the 30-year-old "Alice P. Lennon" telescope are considered ideal. 

With its new control system, the instrument can now track celestial objects for 20 minutes with great precision and without human guidance.