History

The Museum Specola The museo della Specola houses the historical heritage collected over the 200 years of scientific activity of the Palermo Observatory. There are many important historical instruments and technological tools in the museum. The jewels of the collection are:The famous Ramsden's Circle, with which Giuseppe Piazzi discovered the first asteroid, called by him Ceres, in 1801. Another important piece of science is the large Merz Equatorial Telescope, with which Pietro Tacchini made important solar spectroscopical studies and findings since 1871. The Museo della Specola is located in the ancient "Specula Panormitana" founded in 1790 by king Ferdinand I. It has three cupolas, very close to the tower of Palazzo dei Normanni ,where between 1789 and 1860 they placed the Ramsden's circle, the Troughton equatorial Telescope and the Merz Telescope too. (Piazzi's successors, Nicolo and Gaetano Cacciatore, hadn't surely the same importance of their master; on the contrary Domenico Ragona tried to follow Piazzi's astronomic job. The studies of the last one. were very important for the observatory, in fact, he modernized the instruments and his good job gave the observatory the importance of the best years. Another important scientist, who took care of the instruments of the observatory, was Tacchini. He was more attracted by studies about the solar chromespheare and thanks to his classification of the solar protuberances, in 1971, the astronomic observatory of Palermo became one of the main sun Physics center in Europe. Also metereology obtained great results, thanks to the several new instruments, expecially the particular and sophisticated Secchi meteoreografo. In 1898, Angelitti became the director of the observatory. Even if he had to face a very difficult situation, thanks to his great competence in the astronomic field and the great impulse of the commission, he tried to improve the life and importance of the observatory. The great figure of Giuseppe Salvatore Vaiana, with his researches on the x solar astronomy and the development of the x ray telescops, contributed to give the observatory a higher level, in a particular period characterized by the Russian successes in the spatial missions that stimulated the desire of all the Americans to conquer the space again. The observatory is now very famous, expecially for the distance measurement of stars, made in the laboratories situated in Via Imera, thanks to the x ray methodology. All the European astronomic centers, and the N.A.S.A. itself, use these accurate measurements to develop their research programs.)

Opening hours

The Museum temporarily closed for retrofitting.
For info contact +39 091 233247 or send email to daric@astropa.inaf.it

Address:

Piazza del Parlamento - 90133 Palermo
Tel. +39 091 233111


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