Vatican Presents Exhibit on Galileo

The Vatican is commemorating the 400th anniversary of the first celestial observations by Galileo Galilei with a new exhibition, "Astrum 2009: Astronomy and Instruments," which encompasses the history and evolution of the different instruments created by man over 10 centuries for the observation of the sky, the location of the stars and celestial bodies.

The Vatican scrapped plans in January to put up a statue of physicist and philosopher Galileo, the inventor of the telescope, who was convicted by the Inquisition of 'grave suspicion of heresy' in 1633.

The exhibition will present a selection of instruments that show astronomy's trajectory and progress, with focus on Galileo's telescope.

One of the highlights of the show is Galileo's original manuscript of "Sidereus Nuncius," the 1610 document in which he recorded his first discoveries through the telescope.

The exhibition, which is held on occasion of the International Year of Astronomy, will run until January 16, 2010.