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Francis Appoints New Director of Vatican Observatory

Pope Francis has appointed Jesuit Brother Guy Consolmagno as the new director of the Vatican Observatory.
The appointment was announced today by the Holy Press Office, shortly after the Popes audience with participants of a Symposium sponsored by the observatory.

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Vatican's space mission

"If the Big Bang was the start of everything, what came before it?"

That is one of the questions being posed by a new website being set up by the Vatican and Italy's scientific community.
After centuries of mistrust between religion and science, the intention is to give the public a greater understanding of both sides.

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On Wednesday afternoon, September 16th, Benedict XVI inaugurated the new premises of the Specola Vaticana, the Vatican Observatory.The Popes astronomers moved from the Papal Palace in Castelgandolfo - granted to them by Pius XI in 1935 - to occupy a renovated monastery located in the southern end of the Castelgandolfo Villa.Luis Funes, the Argentinean Jesuit who runs the Specola said that the new location is almost a metaphor of the observatorys mission: though inside the Church, close to the Pope, it is however on the border with the world, open to dialogue with everyone, with those who believe and those who do not.The building houses a conference room and a school area for didactic activities.

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On September 16, Pope Benedict XVI toured the new headquarters of the Vatican Observatory. Once located within the apostolic palace at Castel Gandolfo, the Observatory was relocated this year to a new space in a former monastery, still on the grounds of the summer papal residence.

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If one catches the Rev. George V. Coyne looking up at the night sky, its easy to assume that hes prayerfully connecting to God.
Though that may be the case, the Jesuit priest might simply be scanning the blackness of space for binary star systems with their sudden bursts of intense energy.
Rev. Coyne may wear a Roman collar, but he does know a thing or two about quasars, globular clusters, supernovas, dark matter and other objects contained within the cosmos.

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After more than half a century based at the papal palace in Castel Gandolfo, the Vatican's astronomers will be moving to bigger, more modern facilities.
The astronomers' new offices and residences still will be located on the grounds of the papal summer residence in the hill town of Castel Gandolfo, about 15 miles south of Rome, but they will be in a completely renovated convent nestled in the papal gardens.

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sky.jpg
Astronomical Observatory of Rome

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Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Jesuit Father Josť Gabriel Funes as the new director of the Vatican Astronomical Observatory, replacing Jesuit Father George Coyne.

Father Coyne, a native of Baltimore, Maryland, US, had been director of the observatory since 1978.
The Vatican press office announced the new director on Saturday.
Father Funes, 43, is a native of Cordoba, Argentina. He earned a degree in astronomy from the University of Cordoba.
He studied theology in Rome at the Gregorian University, and earned a doctorate in astronomy from the University of Padua in 2000. Father Funes has done considerable research on disk galaxies.
Pope Gregory XIII established the Vatican Astronomical Observatory to study the elements necessary to reform the liturgical calendar, which took place in 1582.
After a long period of inactivity, Pope Leo XIII founded the new Vatican Astronomical Observatory in 1891. The main headquarters of the Vatican Observatory is in Castel Gandolfo.
In 1981, when the Roman skies became too luminous for observation, the Vatican Observatory Research Group was founded in Mount Graham, Arizona.

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