The Unexpected Object The Vatican Owns In Arizona

This brings us to the mysterious object that the Vatican owns in Arizona, USA: a massive research telescope. Per another Vatican Observatory website, this astronomical device is called the Alice P. Lennon Telescope; it’s a reflecting telescope with a mirror about six feet in diameter, which makes it very large for a telescope of its type. Together, the Alice P. Lennon Telescope and surrounding research facility are known as the Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope, or VATT.

Construction was completed on the VATT in 1993. It’s located in an isolated part of southeastern Arizona several miles outside of Tucson, the nearest large city. Due to Arizona’s high elevation and clear skies, the VATT is just one among dozens of telescopes located in the state; as the Vatican Observatory website reports, Arizona is “where sky conditions are among the best in the world, and certainly the Continental United States.” Time on the VATT is shared between the Vatican and the University of Arizona on a 75/25 split; both institutions are also responsible for performing maintenance on the device.

Since the Vatican’s Arizona-based telescope is relatively new, it’s difficult to name any groundbreaking discoveries that have originated from the VATT; it mostly focuses on imaging work, which it does quite well. But, one day in the near future, you may hear about a breakthrough discovery in astrophysics that was first published by the Vatican. That’ll impress Galileo … or possibly leave him rolling in his grave.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here