• Short Summary


    The Vatican is considering whether to move its famous astronomical observatory from Castel Gandolfo because of air pollution.

  • Description

    1. GVs Observatory at Castel Gandolfo with telescope dome rotating ZOOM INTO telescope. (3 SHOTS) 0.22
    2. INTERIOR SV PAN DOWN From Telescope to Father Coyne operating controls. 0.39
    3. CUs Details of telescope as it rotates. (5 SHOTS) 1.01
    4. CUs Photographs taken by telescope. (2 SHOTS) 1.16
    5. CUs Father Coyne speaking overlaid with shots of telescope and dome. (SOT) (4 SHOTS) 2.33
    TRANSCRIPT: FATHER COYNE: (SEQ 5) "If we want to see distant galaxies, very faint objects in the universe, we can't see them here for two reasons, the sky is too bright, simply because of all the city lights because we are in an urban area and we can't see very faint objects and secondly, because the equipment is not suitable for those very faint objects. This telescope is an excellent telescope but located in this location it cannot see very distant objects. There is some thought of moving one or other of our telescopes to mainland China, and that wouldn't necessarily be this telescope. I'm not talking about this telescope. The reason for that is that since the Cultural Revolution there has been a very, very thorough and serious attempt to build up various fields of research and there is a large number of young Chinese being trained in astronomy. But they don't have any major observatory and they'd like to start off with some modest telescopes to begin to set efforts going with the idea of them building up a major observatory. So there's a very good possibility that we will locate either in a collaborative way with them for sure a telescope in mainland China. But mostly in a way of helping to build up their research opportunities."

    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved


    The Vatican is considering whether to move its famous astronomical observatory from Castel Gandolfo because of air pollution. Castel Gandolfo lies just outside Rome and suffers pollution problems caused by traffic and industry in the area. For fifteen years there has been discussion of moving one or other of the observatory's telescopes to more favourable locations. Its director, Father George Coyne, says even mainland China has been considered as a possible location. He claims that many young people in China are keenly interested in observing the night sky, and would like to be able to use a sophisticated telescope for their research. If one or all of the telescopes are found more favourable locations, it will not be the first time that the papal observatory has been moved. It was re-housed from the Vatican gardens to Castel Gandolfo in 1983 because officials believed the skies would be clearer in its new location. The Papal Observatory has a long and interesting history. It was founded in 1759 under Pope Gregory XIII. The church continued to sponsor research into the stars for several centuries and their financial support paid off in the 19th century when the astronomer and Jesuit Secchi made important discoveries about the sun. He is now considered by some to be the founder of modern astrophysics. The modern Vatican Observatory was founded in 1891 under Pope Leo XIII.


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