Cultural Astronomy
History of Astronomy
ARCHAEOASTRONOMY: a research field based on the
‘astronomical’ analysis of monuments and
archaeological finds of the past; it offers new material for
archaeological, anthropological and ethnological studies.
The observation of the sky had a fundamental impact on
the history of mankind, on the life and on the thought.
The unity of knowledge
Need of a method for studying the past
Archaeoastronomy: an interdisciplinary field
Archaeoastronomy as a science
Semantics (archaeoastronomy vs. astroarchaeology)
History of Astronomy
Astronomy in Milan
Enlightenment in Italy
Main period: from 1750 to 1780
Milan: C. Beccaria, P. Verri, A. Verri,
G. Parini, P. Frisi
Naples: A. Genovesi, F. Galiani, G. Filangeri
F. Algarotti, P. Neri, P. Giannone, A. Zanon,
G. Gozzi, A. Radicati, V. Alfieri, C. Goldoni
Geometry, Optics,
Astronomy, Geodesy,
Hydraulics, Poetry,
1711-1725: Ragusa (Dubrovnik)
1725 -1756: Rome
1756 - 1758: Lucca, Wien, Rome
1759 - 1763: France (Paris), London, Holland, Germany,
Venice, Turkey, Poland, Venice, Rome
J.D. Barrow (2007), New Theories of Everything
1773 – Boscovich leaves the Observatory
B. Oriani, F. Reggio, A. de Cesaris
F. Carlini
G.V. Schiaparelli
G. Celoria
Edizione Nazionale delle Opere e della
Corrispondenza di R.G. Boscovich
National Edition of the Works and Correspondence
of R.G. Boscovich
1762 : beginning of the astronomical research in Brera
1763 : P. Verri, Meditazioni sulla felicità
[Reflections on happiness]
1763 : G. Parini, Il Mattino (Il Giorno)
[The Morning (The Day)]
1763 : Boscovich appointed at Pavia University (mathematics)
1764 : C. Beccaria, Dei delitti e delle pene
[On Crimes and Punishement]
1764 : Project of Brera Observatory
1765 : G. Parini, Il Mezzogiorno (Il Giorno)
[The Midday (The Day)]
1765 : building of the Observatory
1764 -1766 : Il Caffè (P. Verri et al.)
[magazine “The Coffee House”]
2010 – G.V. Schiaparelli, 100th anniv.
(Schiaparelli and his legacy, G. Trinchieri & A. Manara eds.,
Mem. SAIt 82, 2011)
2011 – R.G. Boscovich, 300th anniv.
(Ruggiero Boscovich-uomo di scienza e di cultura, 18 may 2011)
2012 – Beginning of the professional astronomical research in Milan (250th
anniv.); 50th anniv. of the first cosmic X-ray observation
(international meeting; exhibitions)
2013 – Beginning of the meteorological observations in Brera, 250th anniv.
(international meeting on climate; collab. with UniMi)
2014 – The Brera Observatory (project), 250th anniv.
(meeting in collaboration with the Biblioteca Ambrosiana)
2015 – The foundation of the Brera Observatory, 250th anniv.
(EXPO 2015; Astronomy and climate)
Astronomy and Climate
for the past 3 Myr
• Milankovitch astronomical cycles
Hypotheses on the mass extinctions
in the past 3 Gyr
Flood basalt events
Massive release of methane (clathtrates)
Massive emission of hydrogen sulfide from seas
Sea-level falls
Significant global cooling
Significant global warming
Anoxic events in the seas
Oceanic overturn (thermo-haline circulation)
Impacts of celestial bodies
Interstellar clouds
Oscillations on the galactic plane
Nearby Supernova or Gamma Ray Burst
Companion star (Nemesis)
The understanding of the history of
the Earth, of the evolution of the life
on Earth, of the mankind, of the
human thought and of civilization
cannot leave out the effects of
astronomical/cosmic phenomena,
since they triggered, are triggering
and will trigger the most important
changes in such an history.