The Archives

The historical archives of the Astrophysical Observatory of Catania holds the historical records of the second Observatory (in order of foundation) in Sicily. Its initial site from 1880, on Mount Etna, at an altitude of 2,941 meters, consisted of a meteorological station and the Institute of Vulcanology of the Catania University. To the latter, the Observatory was later absorbed in 1925.
However, as early as 1885, the Observatory on Mt. Etna was moved to a new site at the ex-Benedictine Monastery, in the town of Catania, in order to avoid all the problems imposed by severe weather conditions that, in winter afflict the volcano at that altitude.
Equipped with the instrumentation required for high-quality observations, Catania took part in the international astronomical project, Carte du Ciel (Map of the Sky). The Observatory tremained at this site until 1966 when, through the good offices of M. G. Fracastoro and his collaborators, two new sites were built: an observational one in Serra la Nave on, Mount Etna, at an altitude of 1,750 m, and the other, the current location of the Astrophysical Observatory of Catania, in the science campus of CAtania University.
The latter hosts the documents produced in over a century of scientific and administrative activity, including the more recent records related to the Carte du Ciel project which, following complex vicissitudes, was at risk of dispersal.


Head of the Historical Archives:
Angela Mangano
INAF - Astrophysical Observatory of Catania
tel. +39-0957332248 ; fax +39-095330592
Astrophysical Observatory of Catania

  • Observatory at Vaccarini Square
    The ancient Observatory in Vaccarini Square, 1890-1900
  • prominences
    Observations, notes and sketches of solar prominences, 8 February 1938
  • solar edges
    Observations and sketches of solar edges, 7 April 1901
  • prominences
    Huge and bright ejections of the solar plasma, 17 January 1926
  • prominences
    Huge and bright ejections of the solar plasma, 17 January 1926

Project Status

    The archives is almost completly arranged, except for the documents related to the Catalogo Astrofotografico. The final compilation of the inventory is, also, in progress.

  • credits
Text by Angela Mangano