The Vatican Observatory
The Vatican Observatory is one of the oldest astronomical research institutes in the world. It was originally based in the Roman College of Rome. Currently, the headquarters of the Vatican Observatory are in Castel Gandolfo, Italy.The history of the Vatican Observatory is related to the great interest the Catholic Church had in astronomy. This is mainly due to the astronomical basis of the church’s calendar. Pope Gregory XIII is the one who first came up with the idea of the Vatican Observatory. Due to the Papal interest in astronomy, Pope Gregory XIII called on Jesuit astronomers and mathematicians to carry out the study on the scientific data and the implication it had in the reforms of the Catholic Church calendar.

The Vatican Observatory has been moved from one place to another due to several reasons among them  pollution. In 1930s, the smoke and sky-glow of the city made it difficult to carry out the astronomical research and make useful observations of space from Rome. This led to the relocation of the Observatory to Castel Gandolfo, which is 25 km southeast of Rome. The relocation was facilitated by Pope Pius XI. In 1961 when the Observatory was in Castel Gandolfo, it experienced the same problems of light pollution which made it difficult to observe the skies. It was then that the Observatory established the Vatican Observatory Research Group (VORG). VORG completed constructing the 1.8 m Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope in Arizona. The Vatican telescope was said to be among the most advanced telescopes at the time. Today, the research activities of the Vatican telescope continue as planned without being affected by obstacles like before.

There are lots of research activities that take place at the Vatican Observatory. Many scholars and other astrological researchers from other stations and institutions hold conferences at the Vatican Observatory to discuss their findings and the implications which they have on our current knowledge of astronomy. The research results obtained at the Vatican Observatory are normally published in many journals, including the leading international journals. There is also an annual report which is compiled and distributed in several institutes across the world.The Vatican Observatory also organizes seminars, conferences and exhibitions for astronomy and astrophysics students from different parts of the world. The students get an opportunity to be taught by invited prominent scholars in the astronomy field.

The Vatican Observatory has become a major center of research for astronomy studies. The funding for the Vatican Observatory is accomplished the Holy See and the Vatican Observatory Foundation. If you wish to have a comprehensive review of astronomy and the relation it has with the Catholic Church calendar, you should pay a visit to the Vatican Observatory in your next visit to Rome. You will also have the privilege of seeing the Vatican telescope, which is exclusive and definitely world-class. The observatory also has several other instruments and machines that aid in the research activities. The Vatican Observatory is a vast source of astronomical knowledge and research.