The Vatican Observatory Foundation has a two-fold mission:
Supporting scientific research into the knowledge of the universe and education of the public based upon the knowledge derived from that research.
In the early 1990’s the marvels of technology and the commitment of a few visionary philanthropists made possible the creation of the Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope, which empowered scientists to look with more acute “eyes” into the universe. Today, the VATT continues to provide stunning access to the heavens for researchers from around the globe. Combined with other technologies and the continued commitment of Vatican Observatory scientists, our work is literally pushing the boundaries of what we know and how we know it.
Each year members of the Observatory staff share their expertise by making educational presentations to over 5,000 persons from 90 educational, religious and academic groups. With recent technology the staff can now use the telescope remotely enabling expanded educational outreach programs for students and the public. Vatican Observatory scientists are playing an increasingly important role in the dialogue on science and religious faith.
To ensure the important work of the Vatican Observatory continues into the future, the Vatican Observatory Foundation was established in 1987 as a tax-exempt, charitable organization in the United States. The VOF's first priority was funding the construction of the Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope. With the generous support of the twelve founding benefactors the VATT was built and dedicated by Pope John Paul II in 1993.
The Foundation today remains committed to the VATT as its first priority, seeking philanthropic support for its ongoing maintenance and modernization. Recently this modernization has included the addition of a new spectrograph, the use of the Galway Ultra Fast Imager (GUFI) and the development of remote observing capability. All of which serve to enhance research at the observatory and the foundation’s educational mission. From international seminars and presentations to local educational outreach programs for students and the general public it is our mission to promote and encourage the scientific research of the Vatican Observatory.