Galileo's tomb, Florence, Italy

Galileo's tomb, Florence, Italy

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Credit: SHEILA TERRY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Galileo's tomb, in the Santa Croce Basilica, Florence, Italy. Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) was an Italian astronomer and physicist who is famed for his early telescope designs and observations. This statue, part of the larger monument marking his tomb, shows him holding a telescope in one hand, with the other hand on a globe. In 1610, he discovered the four largest moons of Jupiter. In cosmology, he supported the Copernican theory that the Sun, rather than the Earth, was at the centre of the solar system. This heliocentric system is inscribed on the green marble at lower centre. The Roman Catholic Church declared this heretical in 1633, and he was held under house arrest until his death. Initially buried in a side room, it was not until 1737 that he was reburied in the main area of the church and honoured by this monument.

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