Faith Inspiring Science

Mission

The Vatican Observatory is an institution established by the Holy See for astronomical research and public outreach to advance the scientific understanding of our universe.

Vatican Observatory

About

The Vatican Observatory is one of the oldest active astronomical observatories in the world, with its roots going back to 1582 and the Gregorian reform of the calendar.

The Vatican Observatory stands at the forefront of scientific research covering a broad range of topics, from an examination of the tiniest specks of interplanetary dust to the origin and structure of the universe.

Headquartered at the papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, outside Rome, this official work of the Vatican City State supports a dozen priests and brothers (Jesuits and diocesan) from four continents who study the universe utilizing modern scientific methods.

The Vatican Observatory works with the Vatican Observatory Foundation to promote education and public engagement in astronomy, and constructive dialogue in the area of faith and science.

Pope Paul VI watching the moon landing

Pope Paul VI watching the Moon landing

Our Impact

For 400 years, the Vatican has been advancing scientific inquiry and promoting awareness of how our universe works. Here are a few examples of our contribution throughout the centuries.

Astronomy

Unique among large observatories, the Vatican Observatory has specialized in long-term survey projects from the 19th century Map of the Heavens to modern catalogs of galaxies, open clusters, and peculiar stars.

Technology

With the Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope and its state of the art CCD cameras, the Observatory has pioneered new ways of building large telescopes.

Physics and Planetary Sciences

Observatory scientists study a range of related sciences such as quantum gravity; meteorites and Moon rocks; and possible life on planets orbiting other stars.

Education

The Vatican Observatory Summer Schools (VOSS) and Astronomy for Catholic Ministers and Educators (ACME) workshops are just two examples of our commitment to education, from K-12 to postgraduate students in the developing world.

Culture and History

The 1582 Gregorian Calendar, biographies of notable Catholic scientists, and workshops on the peaceful uses of space all show the Observatory’s active role in the larger society and the Church.

Latest

Recent news, reflections from our scientists, and anything else we are eager to share!

Feature

Special content we wouldn’t want you to miss.

Education

We are passionate about our education mission. Find below recent content worth checking out. Compliments of our friends at the Vatican Observatory Foundation.

Press

We are always delighted when other organizations take interest in our work. Below is some recent coverage on our activities or scientists.

Team

Meet the folks who make sure the scientists have all they need to do their work.

Join Us

If you are energized by what we do at the Vatican Observatory consider joining us as a monthly benefactor.

Your support makes our work possible and grants you access to a fascinating network of people from around the world!