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Pope Francis

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ASTRUM: An exhibition on the solar system and Galileo’s discovery

2009-10-23

Ileana Chinnici
Asturm 2009 Commissioner

"The Church has played an important role in the development of astronomy, because, in fact, many astronomers of the past were men of the church, which belonged to religious institutions. Despite the conflict with Galileo, many churchmen continued to study the cosmos and nature. "

To mark the International Year of Astronomy, the Vatican is presenting the tools that have accompanied the evolution of this science and is paying special tribute to Galileo.

The first instruments used to observe the sky were only able to measure the angle of the stars. But in the early 17th century, Galileo, used the telescope to observe the stars and revolutionized astronomy.

The advance of technology also led to improved maps of the sky but it wasn’t until1801 when a full representation of all the constellations was possible. This exhibit allows visitors to see them all together for the first time.

Ileana Chinnici
Asturm 2009 Commissioner

"Through book of that time period, we can see the changes gradually, the conception of the world moving from a system which saw the earth the center of the universe to another in which the Sun is the center of the universe and the rest planets rotate around it. "

Another important element in astronomy that can be seen in this exhibit is the 1898 Charter of heaven, which is the first photographic catalog of stars and the first astronomical project with international collaboration.

From the Magi who followed the star that led them to Jesus to the discovery of 32 new planets outside our solar system, 21 centuries have gone by, but interest in the galaxy is still alive today. A passion that the Vatican Museums celebrate with this celestial exhibit.

PVB/MC