Hinc itur ad astra


The exhibition Hinc itur ad astra displayed in Vilnius University Library P. Smuglevičius hall in 2009.04–2009.11 was devoted to the International Astronomy year declared by UNESCO.

Since the foundation of Vilnius University (1579) the course of natural philosophy or physics have been read at the Faculty of Philosophy of that time so certain issues of astronomy have been discussed as well. In XVII c. already some of the professors teaching classical assertions of acknowledged authors not prohibited by censure (Aristotle, K. Ptolemaeus, etc.) introduced students to modern theories and materials based on calculations and observations of XVI–XVII c. mathematicians and astronomers (M. Copernicus, G. Galileo Galilei, T. Brahe etc.). Vilnius University Observatory (now Vilnius University Library White Hall) was started in 1753 according to the project of Vilnius University professor Tomas Žebrauskas. At the end of XVIII c. it became one of the best equipped observatories in Europe of that time possessing many modern astronomical devices. From accounts of contemporaries by its equipment Vilnius University Observatory was in no way inferior to the famous Greenwich Observatory in England. By efforts of the scientists who had worked here (especially T. Žebrauskas, M. Poczobutt, J. Sniadecki) Vilnius University Observatory became widely known and valued in the European scientific world for their observation of celestial bodies and calculation of their movements and .positions.

At the end of XVIII c, the material of the course of astronomy read at Vilnius University reviewed the newest discoveries in this field of science as well. Vilnius University Library collection includes a lot of books on astronomy subjects showing that Vilnius University students discussed issues of natural sciences referring to basic and most modern treatises on physics, mathematics and astronomy (M. Copernicus, G. Galileo Galilei, T. Brahe, J. Kepler, R. Descartes, I. Newton, etc.).

In this exhibition devoted both to the jubilee of Vilnius University – starting point in the life of young people – and to the Astronomy year declared by UNESCO we strived to show the diversity of old scientific treatises on natural sciences, to be more precise on astronomy science at Vilnius University Library, to reveal how University lecturers and professors were teaching their students using treatises about newest scientific and technical research and technical achievements from the very beginning of the foundation of Vilnius University. In addition the astronomical observations carried at Vilnius University Observatory throughout XVIII–XIX c. as well as the precise geographical position of Vilnius city established by the Observatory and newly found stars and other achievements of Vilnius University professors and alumni described and published alongside treatises of well known European scientists astronomers – must raise the feeling of pride to belong to our University, from which you may really  ... up rise to the stars...