Given that the Vatican was so famously and fearlessly opposed to many astronomical discoveries, like the idea the Earth goes around the Sun, it might seem odd that they have their own observatory.
However, the Specola Vaticana is one of the most interesting and rarely accessed observatories in the world. In this special episode of The Sky at Night, Dr. Maggie Aderin-Pocock and Prof. Chris Lintott visit the observatory, located 30km outside Rome.
Among the highlights they include how the observatory helped to give birth to the science of spectroscopy, and the Tower of the Winds – a antique sundial that revolutionised the calendar.
Inside God’s Observatory: a Sky at Night Special is on BBC Four at 22.00.