The Vatican Observatory is the only scientific research institute in the Vatican and is one of the oldest astronomical research institutions in the world. Its headquarters are located in the Papal Gardens at Castel Gandolfo outside Rome, Italy, with a research institute in Tucson, Arizona, USA. The origins of the Observatory go back to the 16th century when Pope Gregory XIII commissioned
a group of Jesuit mathematicians and astronomers to correct the Julian calendar. In 1980 a subsid- iary research institute was founded in Tucson, Arizona and in 1993 the Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope was dedicated at the Mt. Graham International Observatory in Arizona. Two particular areas of interest, out of the many areas of research carried out at the institute, are the study of the origin of our solar system through the study of meteorites and the evolution of the universe, which is found to be fertile with the ingredients for life.
George Coyne, SJ, is an astrophysicist, Jesuit priest, Director Emeritus of the Vatican Observatory, and the President of the Vatican Observatory Foundation.
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