The History of Astronomy, fil rouge of the INAF Palermo guide: "Palermo, second star to the right"

Sep 9, 2021, 3:30 PM


Prof. Tuscano, Maria Luisa (SISFA)


Third in order of publication, after Padua and Florence, in the “Second star to the right” program, with an editorial project by the creative agency Bas Bleu Illustration, the guide of the INAF Astronomical Observatory "G. S. Vaiana "in Palermo was promoted as part of communication, teaching and dissemination activities, of which Laura Daricello is responsible, with the intention of presenting to the general public monuments, people and events that link the city to the Science of Heaven.
I collaborated with the Observatory for the identification and study of sites related to Astronomy as well as for the preparation of most of the guide texts.
In the five selected itineraries in the city, some monumental contexts stand out for their astronomical tradition: first of all the INAF-G. S. Vaiana Astronomical Observatory whose significant history is documented in the Specola Museum, part curated by Ileana Chinnici.
Other circumstances dealt with are those linked above all to the History of the Measurement of Time, recurrent in the urban fabric of Palermo. Over the years they had been the subject of study and of my reports at the annual SISFA conferences. (Urbino, Acireale, Florence, Arezzo, Bari and online)
During the documentary investigation and the interpretation, I made of some iconographic representations, further evidence emerged that lead back to particular themes of the History of Astronomy. The current report refers to two of them: the mosaic of the Creation of the stars in the Palatine Chapel of Palazzo dei Normanni, linked to the astronomical culture of King Roger II and the bas-relief of the Botanical Garden which alludes to the discovery of the planet Uranus by Herschel with the related debate for the choice of the name.

Schiaparelli G., Scritti sulla Storia dell’Astronomia antica, T.I
Tuscano M.L., King Ruggero II and the Reform of the Calendar, Congresso SISFA, Bari
Flammarion C., Astronomia popolare, L.IV

Primary author

Prof. Tuscano, Maria Luisa (SISFA)

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