Museum of Astronomical Instruments


As early as the 1930s, the University of Padova recognised the need for a technologically advanced telescope that would be suitable for ground-breaking scientific research. The first to move on the matter was the then Professor of Astronomy Giovanni Silva, with the support of the Rector, Carlo Anti.
In 1942, the university established the Asiago Astrophysics Observatory, based around what was, at the time, the largest telescope in Europe, a reflector model with a 122-cm-diameter mirror. Using this remarkable instrument, which was dedicated to Galileo, the observatory was responsible for a series of important breakthroughs, above all in the field of variable stars, novas, supernovas and galaxies, and the generation of a precious archive of data.
Astronomers had already begun to employ instruments that projected images on to photographic plates, and to use the resulting measurements for scientific purposes. Advances in technology meant there was a constant need to update the data-gathering equipment and, in parallel, the equipment used to process the data acquired. This same dynamic continues today, ensuring that the level of international competition in this field of research remains as high as ever.
Instruments collected over the decades of research have been brought together in a museum adjoining the telescope with which they were used. The collection is divided into two sections, one dedicated to data-gathering instruments, the other to data-processing devices.
Most of the museum’s time and energy is dedicated to maintaining and carrying out conservation work on the collection, the acquisition of new items, providing guided tours, and training civil service volunteers.


Museum of Astronomical Instruments
Via dell’Osservatorio 8, 36012 Asiago
Part of the Astrophysics Observatory of the “Galileo Galilei”, Department of Physics at the University of Padova.
Tel. +39 049 8278215


Curator: Gabriele Umbriaco
“Galileo Galilei” Department of Physics
Vicolo dell’Ossevatorio, 3 35122 Padova
Tel +39 049 8278215 – fax +39 049 8278212

“Galileo Galilei” Department of Physics and Astronomy (DFA)
Via Marzolo 8 – 35131 Padova
Tel +39 049 8277088 – fax +39 049 8277102

Head of Department: Prof. Francesca Soramel

Departmental delegate to the museums: Prof. Alessandro Pizzella
Tel +39 049 8278228