Free from the pressures of tenure and grant proposals, Vatican astronomers can specialize in survey projects that last for decades:
- From 1891 until the 1950s, 18 nations including the Vatican, produced the Carte du Ciel (Map of the Heavens), the first photographic atlas of the stars.
- The first laboratory spectra of compounds found in stars was published by the Vatican Spectrochemical Lab from the 1930s until the 1970s.
- A project to characterize the colors of open cluster stars embedded in gas and dust clouds has been in progress since the 1980s.
- To match the famous Hubble Space Telescope survey of distant galaxies, Vatican astronomers helped produce a similar catalog of nearby galaxies.
- The Vatican Observatory has set up three sky camera systems to record bright bolides and faint meteors entering Earth’s atmosphere over Tucson and Rome.