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  27-10-2009: ASTRI E PARTICELLE. THE WORDS OF THE UNIVERSE 
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Copyright 2002 INFN The use of photos is free of charge. Please request authorisation from the INFN Communication Office


by Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare, Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica e Agenzia Spaziale Italiana, 27 ottobre 2009 – 14 febbraio 2010

This Autumn you can take your first cosmic shower. And you will discover that a heavy and incessant rain of microscopic and invisible particles which come from deep space and unimaginably distant points in the Universe is passing through us.
Obviously these particles are not dangerous and the cosmic shower simply reveals something that happens every day but which can only be observed with scientific instruments, that is, a rain (or 'shower') of billions of cosmic rays which pass through living beings, rock, and water here on Earth.
This is just one of the surprises at the exhibition 'Astri e particelle. Le parole dell'universo' ('Celestial Bodies and Particles. The Words of the Universe'), which is being held at the Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Rome from 26 October 2009 to 14 February 2010.
The exhibition has been organized by the National Institute of Nuclear Physics (INFN), the National Institute of Astrophysics (INAF) and the Italian Space Agency (ASI), with Professor Roberto Battiston acting as Scientific Director. The exhibition is being held at the conclusion of the International Year of Astronomy and Galileo.
Four centuries ago, Galileo pointed his telescope at the sky for the first time and forever changed the way we observe and imagine the Universe, and since then extraordinary and unpredictable progress has been made.
The exhibition – which includes some remarkable special effects in two and three dimensions – will immerse us in something which Galileo could not even have imagined: an incredible landscape consisting of enormous gardens of galaxies, violent explosions of stars which illuminated the cosmic darkness, particles that for millions of years have traveled across sidereal space, and black holes which swallow the matter around them.
A landscape of immense distances, which scientists have discovered and made visible in all of its detail, like a gigantic zoom lens on a sophisticated camera.
In this way we will discover that we are immersed in a continuous cascade of cosmic rays, that we move with our planet in an ocean of neutrinos, that we perceive the last tremors of the great heat generated by the Big Bang, from which everything originated.
And we will learn that there exist innumerable messages, the 'words' that the Universe sends us and which recount the infinitely large and the infinitesimally small.
Visitors to the exhibition will scale mountains, descend to the depths of the sea, go into the bowels of the Earth and into Space, to virtually explore the important experiments currently being conducted on the Universe, listening to and interpreting its 'words'.
Visitors will see the instruments that have been launched into space, in many cases by Italian researchers, to explore the Universe at a great distance from our planet.
Finally, we will learn from both leading scientists and young researchers what it is we still do not know, the mysteries and the enigmas that have yet to be solved, the great challenges that we face to understand the mysterious language of the Universe, a language that has always fascinated Humankind, even when all we had to look at the sky were our own eyes.


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