Ambassador Gingrich visited the Vatican Observatory on March 25 and met with Observatory Director, Brother Guy Consolmagno, S.J., and Vice-Director Fr. Paul Mueller, S.J. The Vatican Observatory is one of the oldest astronomical institutes in the world. The first one was built inside Vatican City in 1587 and then moved to its current location in Castel Gandolfo in the 1930s. Due to urban growth, the Vatican Observatory Research Group opened a second research center in Tucson, Arizona, in 1981 — one of the world’s largest and most modern centers for observational astronomy.
Brother Consolmagno, known as the “Pope’s Astronomer,” is an American and was named by Pope Francis as the Director of the Vatican Observatory in September 2015. He showed Ambassador Gingrich an extensive meteorite and artifact collection, as well as telescopes housed at the facility.