Summer Triangle above Vatican City State

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The Summer Triangle is an astronomical asterism involving an imaginary triangle drawn on the northern hemisphere’s celestial sphere, with its defining vertices at Altair, Deneb, and Vega, the brightest stars in the three constellations of Aquila, Cygnus, and Lyra, respectively. Only this 3 stars are bright enough to be visible above the light polluted sky from the City State of Vaticano, in Rome, Italy.

Near midnight, the Summer Triangle lies virtually overhead at mid-northern latitudes during the summer months, but can also be seen during spring in the early morning to the East. In the autumn the summer triangle is visible in the evening to the West well until November. From the southern hemisphere it appears upside down and low in the sky during the winter months.

The Church has had a long-standing interest in astronomy, due to the astronomical basis of the calendar by which holy days and Easter are determined. For instance, the Gregorian Calendar, promulgated in 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII, was developed by Aloysius Lilius and later modified by Christoph Clavius at the Collegio Romano from astronomical data. The Gregorian Tower was completed in 1580 for his purpose, designed by Bolognese architect Ottaviano Matte.

The Vatican Observatory (Latin: Specola Vaticana) is an astronomical research and educational institution supported by the Holy See. Originally based in the Roman College of Rome, the Observatory is now headquartered in Castel Gandolfo, Italy and operates a telescope at the Mount Graham International Observatory in the United States. In the 18th century, the Papacy actively supported astronomy, establishing the Observatory of the Roman College in 1774. In 1789–1787, the Specola Vaticana in the Tower of the Winds within the Vatican was established under the direction of Msgr. Filippo Luigi Gilii (1756–1821). When Msgr. Gilii died, the Specola was closed down because it was inconvenient for students in the city because the dome of St. Peter’s obstructed its view. Its instruments were transferred to the College Observatory. A third facility, the Observatory of the Capitol, was operated from 1827 to 1870. In 1891, however, Pope Leo XIII issued a Motu Proprio re-founding the Specola Vaticana (Vatican Observatory) and a new observatory was built on the walls at the edge of the Vatican.The new Vatican Observatory remained there for the next forty years.

By the 1930s, the smoke and sky-glow of the city had made it impossible to conduct useful observations in Rome. Pope Pius XI relocated the Observatory to Castel Gandolfo, which is 25 kilometres (16 mi) southeast of Rome. By 1961, the same problems with light pollution made observing difficult at Castel Gandolfo. The Observatory then established the Vatican Observatory Research Group, with offices at the Steward Observatory of the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona.

PT: O Triângulo de Verão é um asterismo astronómico envolvendo um triângulo imaginário “desenhado na esfera celeste” do hemisfério norte, com os seus vértices a definirem Altair, Deneb e Vega, as estrelas mais brilhantes nas três constelações de Aquila, Cygnus e Lyra, respectivamente. Só estas 3 estrelas conseguem ser suficientemente brilhantes para serem visíveis a partir de um céu poluído como o que se ergue acima do Estado da Cidade do Vaticano, em Roma, Itália.

Officially called Vatican City State or the State of Vatican City is a walled enclave within the city of Rome. With an area of approximately 44 hectares (110 acres), and a population of 842, it is the smallest sovereign state in the world by both area and population. It is an ecclesiastical or sacerdotal-monarchical state (a type of theocracy) ruled by the Bishop of Rome – the Pope. The highest state functionaries are all Catholic clergy of various national origins. Since the return of the Popes from Avignon in 1377, they have generally resided at the Apostolic Palace within what is now Vatican City. Vatican City is distinct from the Holy See (Latin: Sancta Sedes), which dates back to early Christianity and is the main episcopal see of 1.2 billion Latin and Eastern Catholic adherents around the globe. The independent city-state, on the other hand, came into existence in 1929 by the Lateran Treaty between the Holy See and Italy, which spoke of it as a new creation, not as a vestige of the much larger Papal States (756–1870), which had previously encompassed much of central Italy. According to the terms of the treaty, the Holy See has “full ownership, exclusive dominion, and sovereign authority and jurisdiction” over the city-state.


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