The Vatican Observatory has science groups doing research in: Planetary Sciences, Stellar Astronomy, Extragalactic Astronomy and Cosmology. The Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope (VATT) is twenty years old but its capabilities are not exhausted. With remote-observing opportunities and the available instruments (CCD Camera, GUFI CCD Camera, and VATT Spectrograph), there are many exciting projects that can be carried out with VATT.
- Observation of Near Earth Objects and Trans-Neptunian Objects to put limits on their physical properties,
- Examination of globular clusters to determine how many of the extreme horizontal branch stars are in binary systems,
- Performing follow-up studies for large surveys like Pan-Starrs, Kepler, etc.,
- Identification of multiple stellar populations in globular clusters,
- Observation of active galaxies in the central regions using the VATT Spectrograph,
- Direct imaging of nearby galaxies using broadband, narrow band, and SLOAN filters to study stellar populations,
- Use of VATT in combination with large telescopes and space-telescopes for multi-wavelength surveys.
One example of these possible projects was discussed at a meeting last year in Castel Gandolfo with scientists from the European “Gaia” Spacecraft mission. The project would use the VATT to complement the data collected by the ESA mission. The VATT would be an ideal instrument for following up transient discoveries and improving the navigation and pointing of the space telescope.