The Vatican Observatory is based in Castel Gandolfo, but since the 1980s, observations are conducted at Mount Graham in Arizona, USA, where the Observatory works in partnership with the University of Arizona.
Do you feel that Tucson, Arizona, is a long way from Rome?
That’s because you don’t have the same idea of distances as the astronomers do! The conditions for observations are better there (no light pollution like in Rome), as are the possibilities for interaction with other scientific teams. However, we learned during the visit that only a small part of the Specola’s work is the actual time spent with the telescopes. Some of the Jesuits on the team spend their lives interpreting the data received from the observations, making calculations to better understand astronomical phenomena and venturing down the difficult paths of philosophical and theological reflection that arise from observing the sky...
To have a taste of what we experienced, take a look at some photos of our visit to the Specola Vaticana.