Author: Laura Daricello – INAF – Palermo Observatory, Italy


  • Chiara Di Benedetto – Bas Bleu Illustration,
  • Laura Leonardi – INAF – Palermo Observatory, Italy
  • Maria Luisa Tuscano – INAF – Palermo Observatory, Italy

This contribution intends to present the experience that is currently taking place at the INAF – Palermo Astronomical Observatory in the field of Astro tourism: the publishing of an astronomical guide of Palermo.

This guide is a means to communicate astronomy through art and history, in connection with the needs of the society of the time. It is based on the research work of a scientific consultant, professor Maria Luisa Tuscano, expert of instruments for the measurement of time, and on the public engagement skills for communicating science of the agency Bas Bleu Illustration.

We have identified five itineraries in the city center and several places in Palermo connected to astronomy with a scientific, historical and cultural value.

In Palermo, astronomy has been everywhere, since ancient times, in monuments, frescoes, statues, paintings, historical buildings, sundials, decorations. These elements reveal the fundamental role that the sky has always played in human life and the importance of astronomy in the life of the city and testify and testify the deep connection of science and art.

The aim of the project is to underline the key role of astronomy throughout the time in the life of the city and to push tourists and citizens to discover new details even in famous and wellknown places, when looking at them from a different point of view.

The guide is the third of the series “Second Star to the Right and Straight On!”, after the ones of Padua and Florence, all published by the Italian National Institute of Astronomy and Bas Bleu Illustration.

We are also exploring the possibility to equip the guide with some ICT devices, like augmented reality, to allow access to additional resources and updated information and to develop an interactive mobile app.

Presentation type: Roundtable discussion
Theme: Technology

Author: Laura Daricello – INAF – Palermo Observatory, Italy


  • Fabrizio Bocchino – INAF – Palermo Observatory, Italy
  • Laura Leonardi – INAF – Palermo Observatory, Italy
  • Salvatore Orlando – INAF – Palermo Observatory, Italy

In order to increase the awareness of current scientific research also in the youngest segments of the citizenry the Italian National Institute of Astronomy developed 3DMAP-VR project ( to visualize astrophysical phenomena in VR.

3DMAP-VR gives the public the chance to visit the space as we know it today and directly interact with current scientific data. In the last months, it had a tremendous impact for dissemination and outreach activities (e.g. the European Researcher’s Night, an invited presentation at the 75th United Nations General Assembly – UNGA75 – in New York, 2 Oct. 2020).

The project also got the Science Spotlight in the Sketchfab community ( and videos produced in the framework of 3DMAP-VR, including virtual reality movies and augmented reality, were published on

We produced an e-education lesson, where students interacted with the astronomers, while making a journey inside the virtual environment where a star was forming, or where a star died, or of exotic planets orbiting around other stars.

We published on Youtube ( and shared on facebook ( a web series made of nine episodes, showing many astronomical environments and phenomena, through VR; followers increased by a factor of ~5 in the last 5 months!

The use of VR for communicating astronomy, provides an immersive experience which enhances the capability of grasping details and extract information. Thanks to the possibility of navigating inside the simulations and interacting with them (literally by using the hands), it is possible to get a sensorial perception of the object under examination.

VR experience, combined with explanatory notes from a professional astrophysicist, is extremely entertaining and concepts are easy to be caught and understood. This approach is particularly useful in case of reduced in presence events due to the ongoing pandemic.

Presentation type: Visual presentation
Theme: Technology