The Vatican Observatory's related facility, the Vatican Observatory Research Group, is set up in the Steward Observatory [right] at the University of Arizona. Here, the Vatican is conducting detailed research on dark matter, quasars, and the universe’s expansion, according to an article in Discover magazine titled, "How to teach science to the Pope."
The Vatican Observatory Research Group operates the 1.8m Alice P. Lennon Telescope [above] with its Thomas J. Bannan Astrophysics Facility, known together as the Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope (VATT), at the Mount Graham International Observatory (MGIO) in southeastern Arizona.
The article also describes the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, "an independent and remarkably influential body within the Holy See. Over the years its membership roster has read like a who’s who of 20th-century scientists and it currently boasts more than 80 international academicians, many of them Nobel laureates and not all of them Catholic—including the playfully irreligious physicist Stephen Hawking. There are no religious, racial, or gender criteria. Candidates are chosen on the basis of their scientific achievements and their high moral standards.