80th ANNIVERSARY OF THE VATICAN OBSERVATORY IN CASTEL GANDOLFO

80th ANNIVERSARY OF THE VATICAN OBSERVATORY IN CASTEL GANDOLFO 19  

“As you see, what we are doing here is to assure I repeat that implicit, even explicit, defense of the Faith and Religion. That defense shines and is more than ever persuasive whenever respect for the faith is joined in a spontaneous way with the development of Science.” It was with these words in an address eighty years ago on 29 September 1935 that Pope Pius XI inaugurated two new telescopes and an astrophysical laboratory located at the apostolic palace in Castel Gandolfo: a double-astrograph telescope for taking spectra and photographic images of star fields; a large refractor telescope for direct observation; and an astrophysical laboratory for spectro-chemcial analysis. He also confirmed the management of the research facilities to Jesuit scientists. A plaque affixed to the outer wall of the facilities has the following words engraved on it: “Come, let us adore God the Creator”. The words recall those read by Pope Pius XI in his inaugural address and have served as an inspiration for both resident scientists and visitors alike. The Philatelic and Numismatic Office is celebrating the 80th anniversary of the Vatican Observatory in Castel Gandolfo with a series of two postage stamps, each on a sheet of ten, with artwork by Daniela Longo. The 80 cent euro stamp depicts the papal palace in Castel Gandolfo where the new facilities were inaugurated, along with the profile of Pope Pius XI and the Schmidt telescope which was installed there in 1957. The 95 cent euro stamp features the large refractor telescope for direct observation installed in 1935 on the terrace of the papal palace and in the background the profile of Pope Francis and the moon.