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Galileo Galilei, Italian astronomer

Galileo Galilei, Italian astronomer

C042/4345

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31.8 x 39.4 cm ⏐ 12.5 x 15.5 in (300dpi)

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Credit

JOSE ANTONIO PENAS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JOSE ANTONIO PENAS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Galileo Galilei (1564-1642), Italian astronomer and physicist, holding a telescope, with his Moon drawings. Galileo was the first to successfully use a telescope to observe the heavens, discovering new stars, mountains on the Moon, and the phases of Venus. His Moon observations were made with the telescopes that Galileo had built in 1608. Galileo saw that the terminator (the line between the Moon's night and day sides) was sometimes irregular and sometimes smooth. He deduced that the irregularities were due to mountains on the Moon, the first time Earth-like objects had been discovered in the heavens. His discoveries supported the Copernican theory that the Sun, not the Earth, was at the centre of the solar system. This brought Galileo into conflict with the Roman Catholic Church and, in 1632, he was found guilty of heresy and was held under house arrest for the rest of his life.

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