400 years after condemning him as a heretic, Vatican hosts an exhibit on Galileo

The BBC reported this week that the Vatican is set to host an exhibit on Galileo — the I7th-century Italian astronomer once denounced by trial as a heretic.

Noted one source:

The president of the Italy’s National Institute of Astrophysics, Tommaso Maccacaro, said the exhibition “will present a selection of instruments that show astronomy’s trajectory and progress. Particular attention falls on Galileo’s telescope.”

Photographs from Italian astronomy expeditions, notably to India in 1874, are also on display in the exhibition to mark International Astronomy Year.

Galileo’s original 1609 telescope, which marked the birth of astronomy, is held in Florence. A reproduction will be used in the Vatican museums.

In 1992, the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences reversed its position on Galileo. Earlier this year, Pope Benedict XVI likened Galileo to one of the Matthean wise men: as surely both, he said, were astronomers.

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