Long lost Galileo letter found at Royal Society library

Nature journalist Alison Abbott has published a News and Comment piece in the journal detailing the finding of a letter in a Royal Society library purported to have been written by famed early scientist Galileo Galilei. The ...

The structure of the Milky Way

For thousands of years, people have been puzzling over the milky strip that extends across the entire firmament. In the modern era, Galileo Galilei discovered that this Milky Way consists of countless stars. However, it was ...

Europa by the numbers

Galileo Galilei discovered Jupiter's moon Europa in 1610. More than four centuries later, astronomers are still making discoveries about its icy surface. With a diameter of almost 2,000 miles, an orbit equivalent to 3.5 Earth ...

Galileo: Europe's rival to GPS

A snapshot of Europe's Galileo space-based navigation system which went online Thursday, designed to be far more precise than its US military-run rival GPS.

Europe's own satnav Galileo goes live (Update)

After 17 years, numerous setbacks and three times over budget, Europe's Galileo satnav system went live Thursday, promising to outperform rivals and guarantee regional self-reliance.

Galileo, Europe's own satnav, to go online

After 17 years and numerous setbacks and budget boosts, Europe's Galileo satnav system is due to go live on Thursday with promises of better-than-ever location services.

Europe's own satnav, Galileo, due to go live

Seventeen years and more than 10 billion euros ($11 billion) later, Europe's Galileo satnav system is set to go live on Thursday, promising to outperform US and Russian rivals while boosting regional self-reliance.

Image: Saturn's past and present moons

Saturn's beautiful rings form a striking feature, cutting across this image of two of the planet's most intriguing moons.

Jupiter's moon Ganymede

In 1610, Galileo Galilei looked up at the night sky through a telescope of his own design. Spotting Jupiter, he noted the presence of several "luminous objects" surrounding it, which he initially took for stars. In time, ...

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Galileo Galilei

Galileo Galilei (15 February 1564 – 8 January 1642) was an Italian physicist, mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher who played a major role in the Scientific Revolution. His achievements include improvements to the telescope and consequent astronomical observations, and support for Copernicanism. Galileo has been called the "father of modern observational astronomy," the "father of modern physics," the "father of science," and "the Father of Modern Science." Stephen Hawking says, "Galileo, perhaps more than any other single person, was responsible for the birth of modern science."

The motion of uniformly accelerated objects, taught in nearly all high school and introductory college physics courses, was studied by Galileo as the subject of kinematics. His contributions to observational astronomy include the telescopic confirmation of the phases of Venus, the discovery of the four largest satellites of Jupiter, named the Galilean moons in his honour, and the observation and analysis of sunspots. Galileo also worked in applied science and technology, improving compass design.

Galileo's championing of Copernicanism was controversial within his lifetime, when a large majority of philosophers and astronomers still subscribed (at least outwardly) to the geocentric view that the Earth is at the centre of the universe. After 1610, when he began supporting heliocentrism publicly, he met with bitter opposition from some philosophers and clerics, and two of the latter eventually denounced him to the Roman Inquisition early in 1615. Although he was cleared of any offence at that time, the Catholic Church nevertheless condemned heliocentrism as "false and contrary to Scripture" in February 1616, and Galileo was warned to abandon his support for it—which he promised to do. When he later defended his views in his most famous work, Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, published in 1632, he was tried by the Inquisition, found "vehemently suspect of heresy," forced to recant, and spent the rest of his life under house arrest.

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