September 22, 2009.
Benedict XVI blessed the new headquarters of the Vatican Observatory. It’s a new set of buildings about a mile from the old headquarters south of Castel Gandolfo.
The pope was accompanied by the Jesuits that direct the observatory. They showed him around the new installations, telescopes, and pieces of meteorites from their collection.
The Vatican Observatory changed its headquarters because it required more space to accommodate the large number of students and researchers that work there.
Before, the observatory was in the summer residence of the popes. But for security reasons the number of visits were limited.
The new center has a conference room, more classrooms, a library, and a space for the Jesuit community that’s separate from the space for students and researchers.
Though large part of the activities of the observatory are done at another center in the Arizona desert, the observatory in Castel Gandolfo is still a point of reference for astronomical investigation.
With their observatory the Vatican is securing a place in the area of world astronomical research.