The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History will celebrate the 400th anniversary of Galileo Galilei’s scientific discoveries this evening.

The event, titled “Galileo, the Universe and God,” will feature short lectures, theatrical performances and discussions on the future of astronomy. Current scientific developments in telescopes connected to UCSB will also be displayed.

Galileo — who is known as the father of modern science due to his contributions during the Scientific Revolution — made his first telescopic observations in 1609. He is credited for the discovery that the Sun, rather than the Earth, is the center of the universe.

Three UCSB professors decided to hold the event, after co-teaching a course entitled “Origins,” which presented students with the correlations between religion, history and astronomy.

Astrophysics professor Tommaso Treu said he felt compelled to share Galileo’s scientific and intellectual legacies with the local community.

“Lots of events worldwide will be celebrating Galileo [today], so it seemed natural to celebrate this event here,” Treu said.

Treu also said that the United Nations named 2009 as the International Year of Astronomy, giving the community even more reason to honor Galileo’s discoveries.

The event, which begins at 7 p.m. tonight at the museum, costs $8 for museum members and $10 for non-members.