Argentinean stargazer for Vatican Observatory

An Argentine-born expert on disk galaxies has been named as the new Director of the Vatican Observatory, which has its headquarters in Castel Gandolfo, Italy, but does its main observing work in the US state of Arizona.

Zenit reports that Pope Benedict has appointed Jesuit Fr Josť Gabriel Funes who will replace Jesuit Fr George Coyne, who had been director of the observatory since 1978.

Fr 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. Fr 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.

New Vatican Astronomer Appointed (Zenit, 20/8/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Vatican Observatory Website

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22 Aug 2006