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Prof. José Funes
Specola Vaticana
(address) Castelgandolfo
(phone) +39-06-698-85266 

Steward Observatory
University of Arizona
Tucson Arizona 85721 USA


Dr. Gabriele Gionti

In its historical roots and traditions the Vatican Observatory is one of the oldest astronomical institutes in the world. In 1981, for the first time in its history, the Observatory founded a second research center, the Vatican Observatory Research Group (VORG), in Tucson, Arizona in the United States, one of the world's largest and most modern centers for observational astronomy. The Observatory staff have offices at Steward Observatory of the University of Arizona.


In 1993 the Observatory, in collaboration with Steward Observatory, completed the construction of the Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope (VATT) on Mt. Graham, Arizona, probably the best astronomical site in the Continental United States. This is the first optical-infrared telescope of the Mount Graham International Observatory (MGIO), a project which in the coming years will see the construction of some of the world's most sophisticated and largest telescopes. The VATT has pioneered the new technology of creating large, lightweight, stable mirrors in a rotating furnace (illustrated). With the VATT we are pursuing long-term research programs which, although they were the hallmark of research at Castel Gandolfo, we have never been able to carry out before in Tucson. Thus from its two centers, located at Castel Gandolfo and at Tucson, the Observatory is continuing various current studies and international collaborations.


At intervals of about every two years we host either at Castel Gandolfo or at Tucson a scientific meeting with some twenty invited scholars on one of the current studies of the Observatory, and a book is published based on the results of the conference.

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